September is NICU Awareness Month. This month was designed to honor the families experiencing a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit and the doctors, nurses, and medical professionals who care for them. We reached out to a couple of brave Max + Moose mamas and asked them five questions about their experience in the NICU. For the next five days, we will be sharing what they had to say.
(Image: Jenny Saunders)
What is something you wish you knew about the NICU going into it?
There’s no norm for parents in the NICU. You can be told that the situation is routine, but that’s your baby and there’s no norm for you. That said, the staff has seen just about everything and they are so very well equipped to handle what is happening. (Casey Yost - @caseyfromaway)
A medical background and to take it day by day. They don’t call the NICU a roller coaster for nothing. It is a whirlwind of emotions – hour to hour and day to day. Allow family and friends to help when possible. (Jenny Saunders - @OurLifeAfterNICU)
You're NOT a bad mom and your baby WILL know you - After 9 months of growing this tiny being inside me, my role was to not only to bring him into this world but make him “ready” for it. Yet, within minutes of being born, he was ripped away from me because he wasn’t. I felt like my body had failed me, that I had failed him.. that I had failed as a mother. I was convinced he wouldn't know me, that we wouldn't bond, because how could we, when all of these other people were taking care of him?! In hindsight, this seems like total nonsense and to be honest, it is. Just remember that you did EVERYTHING an expecting mother was supposed to do, but guess what – sometimes things happen that you can’t control. There was absolutely nothing I, or you, could have done differently to change this situation, and learn to accept that. Be kind to yourself mama, because what you just did is something to be proud of. (Tori Casanova - @toricasanova)
The process of knowing when and how you would be able to leave with your baby would have been more helpful. As much as the doctors and nurses may have tried to keep us informed, everything seemed to be very “up in the air” while we were admitted. I slightly felt like a sitting duck in there, hoping today is the day our tiny love would be healthy enough to come home. I was terrified that I would have to be discharged without her. As well as how heartbreaking it can be to see little babies without their mothers and/or parents. The cries of my daughter’s roommate at the time is something I don’t think I can ever forget. Staff would come and comfort the tiny little one on rounds; but my heart ached for him. To nurse him, do skin to skin with him.. it gives you a level of gratitude that I cannot explain. (Kamri Pitchford - @hellakidsinhere)
I wish I knew more of the process going in. The first few weeks I had no idea that the team did rounds every morning- that I could actually be there to discuss things with the doctors. Like that days agenda, and what to expect, what the next steps are, etc. I was getting relayed information from the nurses. I know that seems silly now but that was my first time every being in a hospital- let alone for that period of time! Luckily I wised up and was able to meet with the team of drs from then on out. (Alyssa Andrus - @max_and_moose)