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Challenge: NICU Parenting

jackson's birth story.

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we welcomed our little boy into the world on wednesday, april 26th at 2:52PM. shortly after he arrived, he had the attention of a handful of doctors + nurses from the NICU. he stubbornly decided not to use his lungs. the nurses held an oxygen mask to his face, as he aggressively kept trying to push it away. after 45 minutes of hoping it was a fluke (it wasn’t), the doctor informed us our baby would be going to the NICU. and off went my husband + newborn baby ..


I laid there in my hospital bed feeling every emotion possible. I was the happiest I’d ever been. the husband + I had just brought a true miracle into the world. yet, I was the most terrified, confused, and alone I’d ever been. the moments after your baby is born you imagine will be your happiest. you’ll hold your baby in your arms + tell your husband how much you love your newly expanded family of 3. but ours was much different. I had to wait two hours before I could be taken by wheelchair over to the NICU to see my husband + baby. in that amount of time, he was hooked up to (what seemed like) hundreds of machines + tubes. including a breathing tube that was now down his throat. we couldn’t hold him or hear him cry.

we quickly became the least important people in the maternity unit. we were no longer in labor + we didn’t have a baby in our room that the nurses needed to help us tend to. instead we’d receive occasional visits from nurses to see if I needed an ibuprofen. we spent as much time as we could in the NICU with our baby. all the while trying to adjust to my new postpartum body that needed extra attention + our extreme exhaustion.

friday was easily the worst day of my life (my husband’s too). we were discharged from the hospital, but our baby was not. we’d be going home without him. that’s when our groundhog day began. we wake up in the morning, go to the hospital, spend the entire day with our baby, go home late at night and do the exact same thing the next day. over + over again.

our newborn baby is now eight days old and he’s not seen anything outside of his little hospital room in the NICU. we’ve had a lot of really good days. it seems like each morning, we’re greeted with good news from the doctors + nurses. one by one the tubes + cords are being removed. his struggle to use his lungs has been resolved and he’s breathing on his own like a champ. that was such a great moment. but we’re now trying to overcome our next + most unexpected hurdle, getting our baby to eat. after 5 days of receiving only nutrients through an IV and having multiple tubes down his throat + nose, he’d have to learn how to eat like a normal baby. his amounts per feeding are ALMOST what they need to be, but taking a bottle isn’t coming as easily. he still needs his feeding tube. so we wait + try our hardest to be patient. he’ll learn we encouragingly tell ourselves.

I’ve remained fairly quiet through all of this. speaking only seems to bring on the waterworks. we don’t have answers or a timeline and that seems to be the question people ask. we just sit with our baby + wait for him to get strong enough to finally come home. we feel very blessed to have so many people thinking + praying for our family. we’ll get there.

we had a lot of milestones. at 3 days old, my husband got to hold our baby for the very first time. at 5 days old, he finally got to try eating! at 1 week old, he got to wear clothes for the first time. he also got to wave goodbye to his fancy hospital bed and was brought a “big boy” crib. after the longest, hardest, most amazing + adventurous 12 days of our lives, we got to leaving the hospital with our sweet baby.

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