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This time last year I had a daughter in the NICU and every day was a struggle. I thought wouldn’t it be nice if this time last year I had some tips that would have helped me during my 162 stay in the NICU with my preemie daughter? The answer is YES!
So that is why for the next 5 days, I’m going to share with you tips and resources for surviving the NICU. They are full of helpful and easy ways to care for yourself and your premature baby in the NICU that worked for me.
Why I chose to use a journal
Before having a preemie I’ve always had a passion for writing and I even kept a journal growing up.
Once I had a preemie in the NICU I was faced with a lot of information on the health of my daughter. There were comments made, updates, and health terms being tossed around constantly. On top of the overwhelming health lingo, I was emotional and trying to find ways to cope with my depression.
There was no way I could possibly remember the information being told to me let alone relay the information back to family and friends. That’s when I got a journal and started to journal my daughters NICU journey.
I wrote in it every day starting with that day’s date and my daughter’s current weight. I would then write everything in the journal from that day. What the doctor said during rounds. who her nurse was. The plans for the day and the tests that the doctors would be running.
Then I would document my feelings for that day. What my fears were, what I was doing when I was away from the NICU, who visited her or asked about her. What the current goals were for Emerson or myself. The progress of her growth and what concerns we had or the doctors had.
I brought my journal with me everywhere. I didn’t want to forget to include any information. Many times I went by myself to sit by her and I wanted my husband to know everything that had happened as if he was with us.
My journal was a lifesaver on those not so good days. On those bad days, we would get hourly updates and I couldn’t keep track of all the information in my head. On top of the information I was given I was under a lot of stress and anxiety. By journaling, it helped me release those feelings. The journal also was handy as I was able to jot down any questions I wanted to be sure to ask later.
Some ideas to include in your NICU journal are
The benefits of journaling.
Not only did my journal help me document our days in the NICU it also was therapeutic for me.
When you are dealing with such an emotional experience such as the NICU, writing in a journal is a perfect outlet for those feelings. Journaling can in fact help manage your anxiety, lower stress, as well as cope with depression. Which are all feelings that you are faced with when you have a baby in the NICU.
I’m being honest when I say my months spent in the NICU alongside my daughter were emotionally draining and tested my strength. By having my journal with me where I could document my thoughts helped me get through the days.
As someone who has trouble expressing my emotions I pretended I was a lot stronger then I was 90% of the time during my daughters NICU journey. By journaling, I was able to really get my feelings out in a private manner. I was able to lay out my emotions and learn a way to cope with those feelings. I was being faced with a new set of feelings that I had never dealt with I needed an outlet and a way to express myself.
Now looking back since my daughter has been home for the NICU for months now I’m so grateful I documented our journey. One day my daughter might want to read it and through my words will know what a fighter she was.
I highly recommend to a NICU mom getting a journal and documenting everything.
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What type of journal to use.
I used a simple notebook like this one.
But there are a few options out there that are specific for the NICU for those who may not know what to write about and need a little guidance.
If you want a journal that is designated for the NICU then check out the following:
Our NICU Journey offers an adorable NICU journal that can be used for everyday tracking. It also has designated spots for weight, feedings, vital signs and other important information that you may want to include. The journal provides you spots to write answers down for specific questions to ask. You may feel so overwhelmed that you don’t know what questions you should be asking so the designated spots provide that for you. Our NICU Journey was written by Trish who is a NICU nurse who also has other NICU products where she sells on Every Tiny Thing
My Preemie Baby Book is also an adorable preemie journal that includes inspirational quotes, milestone tracker, and journaling pages. One cute feature the journal provides is quotes and advice for NICU parents. My Preemie Baby Book was Created by Kristin and Eric who delivered twin boys four months early.
The Littlest Peanut is another cute journal for your preemie in the NICU. It provides you spots to keep track of the important milestones that your preemie will hit when in the NICU. Written by Shannon a preemie mom who has two preemie babies.
Journaling in the NICU
Being a NICU mom is hard enough so by journaling, your finding a way to cope with all those emotions as well as a place to put all those questions and milestones you want to document. I would love to know in the comments if you used a journal during your babies NICU stay.