Thoughts from a NICU Mom
September is NICU awareness month, and it has brought with it memories of my experience as a NICU mom. While not what I typically share on here, I wanted to share some things I learned, and some things that changed me.
For context, my first son was born 42 weeks old, just at 9 lbs. He was too large and got stuck in the birth canal, and he was not breathing when born. He had chorio and a collapsed lung.
NICU is not just preemies.
As I believe most mothers do, when I was pregnant with my first: a concern I had many times was preterm labor. Preterm labor and premature babies are most patients in the NICU, and in my head; once I was full term; I wasn’t concerned very much about a NICU visit.
Even with great care, NICU’s are traumatizing.
I worked in the hospital I gave birth at. I had great doctors that cared for my son during his stay. That did not change the fact that the nicu was a traumatizing place. I was unable to go back to work in healthcare and did a complete career pivot. It was over a year before I was able to be in a hospital without alarm bells in my head. Healing is not linear. Your body cannot be reasoned with logic. It knows when it feels unsafe, and it will react to find safety.
I am not nearly as controlling of my son or life in general, as I believe I would have been. I allow my son to fall and hurt himself (within reason of course). This has been an effect that has given me side-eye from other moms, but I believe it is a good thing. After watching my baby fight for his life, unable to even hold him until he was a few weeks old, it was heartbreaking. Yet, I found that in my inability to do things; God makes up the gap. While it is my responsibility to guide and direct my child, it is not possible nor ideal for me to control his every move. Which brings me to the final point.
God is faithful; God is a miracle-worker.
During that time, which was a month long stint, I was originally brought the news in postpartum recovery that my son was unresponsive neurologically, and their hope was after a hypothermia treatment he would basically be a vegetable if he survived. My son walks, climbs, talks, and has hit every milestone early since his release. Each day I look at him; I’m reminded of God’s miracle working power, present even today, as well as his faithfulness to us when we don’t have the strength to be faithful to him.
My heart goes out to each parent dealing with the journey of a NICU baby, and I pray for healing and support in your journey. I’ve linked a few resources below that helped me in my stay.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ This one I include with caution. I feel better with loads of information, and I spent many hours researching treatments and lab levels, which helped me. Some may find it anxiety causing.