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Challenge: NICU Parenting

The worst part is having to leave without your baby!

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I was 34 weeks pregnant with my first child when my water suddenly broke without warning. Contractions started shortly after and within 3 hours I was taken for an emergency c-section because my son was breech. We didn't know at the time but he was born early because I have an abnormality with my uterus and he had out-grown it. I saw him for a brief moment before he was taken to the NICU. He ended up staying there for 2 weeks because he needed oxygen, then needed to maintain his own body temperature and finally we had to get him eating enough without a feeding tube. The entire experience was nerve racking and the worst part of it all was the day I was discharged and had to leave without my baby. I had had such a beautiful picture in my head of what it was going to be like when I had a baby and brought it home but that couldn't happen anymore. So I said goodbye to my tiny baby in his isolate and cried the 45 minute ride home feeling as if a part of my heart was missing. It was the longest 2 weeks of my life. Pumping every 3 hours, night and day to make sure my son could at least have breast milk in the NICU. Driving 45 minutes each morning to be able to just sit with him, slowly being able to hold him more and more and then finally being able to try nursing him. I was so happy when we were told one day to make sure to bring his car seat in the next day so he could do the car seat test and as long as he passed that he was going to be able to go home! Looking back now as my son is 18 months old those 2 weeks are a blur! I am forever grateful for the doctors and nurses who helped my son survive but I will never forget that horrible feeling of having to leave the hospital without my baby!

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