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Challenge: NICU Parenting


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Every soon to be parent has hopes, dreams, and expectations of how the pregnancy will go. The moment I saw the positive pregnancy test is a moment I will never forget. Everything I had ever wanted was becoming a reality: I was married to the man of my dreams, we were financially stable, and were about to become parents in 9 short months! After a two year struggle to become pregnant, this was the best moment in my life! Excitement quickly turned to fear however, when I learned at the first ultrasound that I was expecting triplets!! I was still very excited of course, but I knew that the pregnancy would be high risk, and my biggest fear was that my body wouldn't be able to handle carrying three babies to term and keeping them healthy. I had prayed to become pregnant for so long and I was now absolutely terrified of how the pregnancy would go.

The first half of the pregnancy was normal. But at 19 weeks, I was admitted to the hospital for preterm labor and a short cervix. My worst fears were becoming a reality and I was so scared for the well being of my babies. Luckily my doctors were able to stop labor and keep me pregnant, and I was released from the hospital, but on strict bedrest. The rest of the pregnancy I was in and out of the hospital a couple more times for preterm labor, and ultimately was admitted for the rest of the pregnancy when I was 29 weeks. I ended up giving birth to my three sweet babies, Adelyn, William, and Emma, when I was 32 weeks and 5 days. Hearing their cries when they were born was the happiest moment in my life.

My recovery from delivery was rough, but I was more concerned with my babies and how they were doing. Making the trip down to the NICU was tough. I couldn't walk for the first couple of days so I had to have someone take me in a wheel chair to see them. They were so tiny and sweet. I couldn't believe they were inside my belly just days before. They were absolute miracles and I couldn't have been more proud of them.

Getting discharged from the hospital was the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with, even harder than all of the struggles I had during pregnancy. I had to leave my babies in the NICU until they were ready to come home. I can't even describe the pain I felt leaving them behind. It felt as though I was leaving an actual part of myself behind, and I wouldn't feel whole again until they were home with me. I cried so much that day, and everytime I had to leave the NICU to go home, it was like reliving that horrible feeling of leaving yourself behind every single time.

I woke up every morning so excited to see my babies that day. I would get myself ready for the day, gather all of my breastmilk that I pumped since I was last in the NICU, pack myself snacks and meals, pack my breast pump supplies, and head out to the NICU. The hospital was about 30 minutes away, so not a terrible drive but I was always so anxious to arrive and see them. I would drop my milk off to the NICU staff, "scrub in", and make my way over to my babies' pods. My heart pounded and fluttered everytime I got closer to their pods and I felt as though my heart would explode with happiness as soon as I saw them. I felt like the luckiest woman in the world every single time I saw them.

While I would visit, doctors and nurses would update me on everything going on with the babies, which luckily for me, was never anything major. My premature triplets were considered "feeders and growers", which meant they just needed to grow more before they could come home. I would look around at other pods in the NICU and see babies in much different circumstances. My heart broke for those parents whose babies were fighting for every breath, every second of the day. Here I was with three healthy babies who only needed a little more time to grow, and others were dealing with much scarier situations. I said a prayer every single time I was in the NICU. Not only for my babies, but for every baby there and their parents.

After a month in the NICU, our sweet Emma was coming home!! It was such a bittersweet day since the other two, William and Adelyn, were not ready to come home yet. It was difficult but we knew that they would be home before we knew it! My husband and I were so blessed with amazing family that helped us out by watching Emma so we could see the other two in the NICU. Less than a week later, Adelyn was coming home, and one day after that, William was on his way too! The happiest day of our lives when all three babies came home!!!

The NICU experience for me wasn't as bad as it could have been, like so many others have to experience unfortunately. Even though the babies were preemies, they were healthy and I am so grateful for that. My biggest fears did not become a reality and I thank the Lord everyday for my blessings. The NICU staff was so amazing and accommodating and I appreciate every single thing that they do for families. I always felt as though I was robbed of a "normal" pregnancy, but in reality, I gained so much strength from this experience and I honestly believe that God chooses the people that he knows can handle the difficulties that having a child(ren) in the NICU bring. From the difficult pregnancy, to the NICU, to the daily struggles of raising my now 14 month old triplets, I am stronger than I've ever been and I pray that my children will always see that strength when they see me and that they'll always believe they are the ones that made me strong. Because they are the strongest people I know.

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