Friday, April 4, 2014

Thoughts on the NICU

The NICU has been our home away from home for about five weeks now.  I've been wanting to write about it for some time now, but haven't had time/energy/emotional strength to do so.  But the raw anxiety of the first week of Joshua's life is starting to wear off and I feel ready to write.

The occupational therapist told me I needed to keep a blog when I said, "Be careful, sometimes he forgets to breathe when he sucks on his pacifier."  Apparently, she thought I was joking.

A Few Bullet Points on the NICU
  • You see a lot of careworn faces in the NICU.  Women who have just given birth being wheeled by their husbands into to visit their child.  Some have children at home or in the waiting room.  Others, like us, are being thrown into parenthood head first.  Sometimes, I see these people and think, "I'm sure glad we don't look like that."  The truth is we do.  Thanks to a blood clot, I spent a lot more time than most moms in that wheelchair.  And Jerry and I live in a constant state of exhaustion.
  • Joshua sleeps, bathes, eats, and pretty much engages in life in a bed called a giraffe.  Thanks to my sister we decorated it with a giraffe.  The bed keeps him warm and recreates the womb experience as much as possible.  This is hard to do because he is expected to act like an infant and not a fetus.  It's a little bittersweet to know that he his thriving more in that bed than he would have been in my belly.

  • We've pretty much made ourselves at home in the NICU.  When we arrive the staff runs off to fill our drink orders.  (Yeah, they are pretty awesome to us.)  I know what all of the machines do and I could (but don't) adjust many of the settings myself.

All I"m saying is the nurses shouldn't be too surprised if they ever catch me digging around in the storage closet. 
  • The NICU is a surprisingly calm place. The lights are dim. The staff remains remarkably composed and now that I know what all the sounds mean, I don't get too concerned. After a stressful morning full of tears, I found my center at the NICU while holding Joshua. It's tiring, but it's the best part of the day. Seeing little Joshua's face makes every moment worth it.

  • We've been in this already for what I"m sure has been scientifically called the "long haul."  We've already seen a lot of babies come and go.  I congratulate everyone I see who is carrying a carseat in or out of the NICU knowing that eventually that might be us.  
Check back for more NICU insights in the future.

1 comment:

Joe and Joanne said...

I loved reading this Michelle. As much as people don't like to find themselves in a hospital setting of any kind (for good reason) - there is no doubt that hospitals are nonetheless places where the veil is thin and many miracles happen.