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It doesn’t matter how long your stay in the NICU is in order for it to affect you. This story proves just that. Meet Baby G also known as the feisty one to the NICU nurses who took care of you. This brave mama’s story proves that even a few weeks in the NICU is long enough and can affect you emotional.
1. What is your warrior(s) name. Date of birth. Birth weight. Any other facts you would like to share about the birth.
My daughter is Baby G. She was born 3/27. She weighed 4lbs at birth. From the moment she set foot in the NICU all of the nurses called her the feisty one.
2. Do you know what caused your premature birth? Or NICU stay?
At 32 weeks, I had my first bout with preeclampsia. I responded to medication and was able to make it almost to 35 weeks (34 weeks and 5 days, I believe it was). During this hospital stay, Maternal Fetal Medical came in and performed an ultrasound. Here we would find out Baby G was breech. In order to go home from the hospital at 32 weeks, I had to agree to twice a week office visits for blood pressure checks and to be connected to the fetal heart monitor, so the doctors could monitor the baby’s movement. I also had to attempt to get Baby G to flip to the proper position. At one of these visits, we had an ultrasound to check growth and position. This ultrasound disclosed Baby G was not growing at the proper rate, the placenta most likely had stopped working, I had normal-low fluid levels, and she was still breech. Thanks to our first hospital stay, we were given the two doses of steroids for Baby G’s lungs, so in that respect, we were in good shape.
3. How long was your NICU stay? What was the hardest part? What about your NICU stay did you appreciate (a special nurse, doctor, or family)?
We were in the NICU for two weeks.
When I was in the hospital at 32 weeks, we did a tour of NICU because we knew I wasn’t going to make it to term, but we didn’t know when I would deliver. Not every parent gets to do this, and this helped mentally prepare me.
The hardest part was not getting see my little girl for a full 24 hour after delivery because I was on magnesium due to the pre-eclampsia. With magnesium, you are considered a fall risk and are not allowed to get out of bed for any reason while you are on it.
The other hardest part was going home without that sweet little girl. Being at home, living life without her,I cried every day.
The other hard part was not being able to stay at the NICU all day every day. I would stay for several hours at a time, but babies that tiny need their rest just as much as they need the love and contact. The first week I couldn’t drive myself there because I had a c-section. Let’s just say I started driving probably way before I should have.
I appreciated my family so much.. It says a lot about a family if they can come together in situations like these. My husband’s step-mom was amazing. She would get up early to come and read to Baby G, and then she would stay with me until I was ready to go home, and she would drive me home. I was so incredibly grateful to have my husband’s dad and step-mom close by since my mom and dad couldn’t be here.
I appreciated the nurses who listened to us and talked to us and treated us like people and parents. We had one nurse in particular who was so helpful. She helped us have a voice, but she also helped us understand why things were being done in a certain way. We had another nurse who just felt like my NICU mom thinking back on it. She talked to me about life, but was there for me when I was attempting to nurse my daughter. She called in reinforcements when needed, and she cheered me on.
4. How are you and your baby doing? What obstacles do you have to overcome? What was the most challenging thing about going home?
11 months later, after being 6 weeks early, our pediatrician declared she had no developmental concerns at the time for our daughter. You don’t even realize it, but the boulder falls off your shoulders when you hear those words earlier than anticipated. My daughter is so amazing and a huge fighter. She is quite feisty as the nurses used to say.
Our biggest challenge coming home was food. I was nursing, bottle feeding, and pumping. Due to all of this, I ended up with an over-supply and a baby who eventually didn’t enjoy nursing because of this. My breast milk was not enough calories for her, so from the beginning, we had to supplement with a formula for preemies. I hoped and prayed that she was gaining enough weight that I could stop bottle feeding and exclusively nurse. However, I ended up exclusively pumping instead. Baby G never has eaten as much as other babies her age, and I had to learn to be ok with that. I had to learn to be ok with the fact that this wasn’t how I planned to feed my baby. During our NICU stay, food was a big part of why we were there for 2 weeks, and continued to be a struggle at home, too. This might be most likely due to my stubbornness we may never know.
5. What have you learned about yourself or warrior or both from your NICU experience?
I learned my little girl is resilient and a fighter. She is so special. I learned God isn’t going to give me more than I can handle, and there was a reason we were going through this.
I learned to have a voice and speak up. I learned to fight for some one other than myself. I learned a love like no other.
6. What advice would you give to a future NICU family?
Future NICU family, I would tell you to be there as much as you absolutely can. I 100% believe it makes a difference. When they feel you there, they know what they are fighting for.
Talk to other parents who are there. Form a tribe. Be there for each and support each other.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and demand answers. We had nurses saying one thing and doctors saying another at one point. Ask for clarification. Make sure what is going on is clear and you understand the why.
When you graduate from the NICU, pay it forward for other parents. Whether you donate your time, money, or items be there for the next family.
Being in the NICU is one of the hardest times of your life, but you will get through this.