After photographing a few babies this winter who had been in the NICU/Special Care Nursery, I had the idea to start a blog series. I would love to create a series where parents can share their experiences from the NICU. My hope is that at least one person who is navigating the NICU experience reads it and finds it helpful to hear about other families’ stories. I am going to start the series off with a little bit about our experience.
A little bit about my NICU/Special Care Nursery Experience
I was induced 6 weeks early with my first daughter. Leading up to that, I was hospitalized with HELLP syndrome. I remember thinking that I really didn’t feel well, but that people said pregnancy was supposed to kinda stink. I assumed what I was feeling was just normal pregnancy symptoms. When I went for a routine appointment on Halloween (my due date was Dec 28th), I ended up staying for a few nights. I was put on bedrest at home and had many appointments. After going home from one of those appointments, I got a call saying I needed to come back in. They said to pack a bag and plan to be there until the baby was here. I remember being worried, but not realizing the gravity of how scary the situation really was. I spent a little over a week on hospitalized bed rest before the doctors decided that I was too sick and needed to be induced.
We spent our first Thanksgiving as parents in the NICU. We were only able to hold our daughter for 20 minutes at time for feedings (every 4 hours). The hours in between were spent anxiously watching the monitors to make sure she didn’t have apnea spells (as the nurses called them, “forgetting to breathe”) again. I am so thankful that we had a short stay and she is healthy now, but those very long two weeks will still stay with me forever. We started our journey into parenthood in a scary way. It felt like we had no control over what happened to her. I always say that she didn’t feel like she was really ours until she was home. Those two weeks have made me so appreciative of her being healthy, and also so thankful for my other two babies who I did get to hold after delivery.