September is NICU awareness month. Never ever did I anticipate that my motherhood journey would begin with a stay in the NICU. The NICU is a sacred place – a place of new life, a place of wonder, a place of miracles, a place of fear, a place of unkowns, a place of tears, of struggles, of hope, and amazing stories. A place where nurses pour out their hearts in love on little babies and their families. It is also a place where parents have to fight mountains of courage, a place where little babies become warriors.
Born weighing just 3 1/2 lbs, our first little girl spent 13 days in the NICU. Although she was full term she had an unexplained case of IUGR and therefore could not grow. The last several weeks of pregnancy were a whirl wind of appointments and monitoring to make sure she was safe and seeing when she should come.
It was a frightful time – I felt so helpless. My body felt like it had betrayed me. It didn’t feel safe. So much time was spent taking my fears to Jesus and trusting that He would work and would keep me no matter what the outcome.
She arrived – small but well. The NICU days were long and exhausting. Pushing myself to be there for her, to pump, to feed, to wait. The energy expended in waiting for reports each day, the joy at seeing her gain, the wonder of such a little miracle.
If you have a friend with a baby in the NICU – be there for her. No matter how many days recovering from having a baby in a NICU setting is hard. Bring snacks, bring coffee, bring food. Bring things she can share with the nurses. Know there are so many emotions so be there to listen, to let her share the frustrations, let her share the fears and don’t just answer.
NICU nurses are some major heroes. They make the difference between feeling confident as a parent or feeling so lost. They can make a day hopeful or frustrating depending on how they talk. And as a parent I had to remember they have so much going on – I might not be the source so to have patience.
Today I stand awed and amazed and grateful at the work of God in our little miracle NICU baby.