This heartfelt open letter from a a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) mom posted in November last year from Baby Ava Updates still rings true for many mothers who did not take their babies home when they were born but instead had to wait patiently for them to get stronger in the NICU due to birth complications.
An open letter to a new NICU mom,
The NICU is a journey that changes you.
Your heart will be stronger, more empathetic and more fierce.
You will smile through the tears because it is not possible to cry every minute of every day.
You will long to still be pregnant. In most cases you still should be.
You will grieve what should have been the most beautiful experience of your life. In reality, it has been the most traumatic.
You will try to blame your body for not supporting your baby better. Everyone will tell you it’s not your fault and it’s not!
You will celebrate the little milestones and have terrible days when there are setbacks. I promise, you will never take for granted a single breath your child takes.
Your heart will break every time you walk out of the NICU. It is not natural to leave your infant.
You will miss them so much it hurts.
When you are home, you will pump with only pictures and videos of them in hand. When you finally get sleep, you will dream about the alarms and wake up in a panic.
You will find your favorite nurses and they will become your lifelong friends. They are your child’s best advocate when you cannot be there.
You will meet parents that have it harder than you and your heart will break for them.
You will know more medical terminology than you ever thought possible. You will ask about events, weight gain and feedings.
Your heart will momentarily stop with every new test result.
You will provide a code when you call and get “buzzed” in when you visit.
You will wash your hands and use sanitizer so much that it will leave them dry and cracked. Every germ is too big for you baby.
You will have days that you want to scream because you can’t understand why this happened to your family. Then you will pick yourself up because you have no other choice.
You will feel like your baby’s medical team is more of a parent than you. I promise they are not!
You will learn to trust your instincts as a parent. ALWAYS go with your instinct.
Your heart is the happiest and most content when you are skin to skin with your child.
You will feel like you are falling apart but you are not. You are stronger than you ever thought you could be.
You are not alone. You will receive love, support and prayers from so many. It will restore your faith in humanity.
There will be days that you are frustrated with your child’s progress. The NICU is their journey and you are along for the ride.
You will believe in miracles because you are a mom of a tiny fighter.
In the end, the NICU is a journey that changes you.