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Challenge: NICU Parenting

NICU wasn't our plan

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Our sweet baby girl was not a premie, we had her right on time. When my water broke, the nurses noticed that it had meconium in it. They routinely called the NICU nurses in, just in case. After she was born, they laid her on me for about a second before whisking her away. There were so many nurses around her, and I could tell that they were each actively working on her. I have had two other kids, so I knew this wasn't a normal thing. After what felt like a lifetime, they finally came over to tell me that she had aspirated the meconium into her lungs, and that she couldn't breathe on her own. She was on full oxygen. They wheeled her over to me in one of the enclosed NICU bubbles (the kind that a mommy never wants to see her baby in). I was able to put my hand on her, and tell her that I love her. They said that she would be in the NICU anywhere from 3-14 days, depending on her progression and infections. This was a new experience for me, and one that I don't wish upon anyone. She had xrays, heart monitors, IV's, breathing tubes, feeding tubes, etc.., It was hard to see your baby having to rely on machines to help her live, when just moments ago, she was completely relying on my body to keep her safe. Can I just put her back?!

It was time for me to be discharged, and I didn't want to leave her! I will never forget the feeling of getting in the car with my husband, and as he drove out of the parking lot, I looked up at the windows of the hospital and just lost it. My stomach was empty, and heart was broken. How could I leave her there? She's my new baby, and she needs me! I had to really force myself to realize that she was where she needed to be. She was safe, and she needed her rest. Thanks to her strong body, the excellent nurses and staff at the hospital, she was ready to go home after only 5 days. What a blessing! My prayers go out to the babies and parents of the babies in the NICUs around the world. If you are reading this... It's okay to be scared, and worried, it's okay to cry! Just know... you are strong, mama!

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