My days at the NICU

If I can paint a picture for you this is what I saw. I saw my little baby in this clear incubator with this little pamper that was too big covering his little butt, no shirt or socks, lying on his back with this giant mask that seemed to cover his whole face. He had two IV’s in him. One IV in his arm and one IV in his little bitty foot. His eyes was closed, he had blue, red and black cords that streamed to a machine on the wall. Which turned out to be a monitor that watched his vitals. There were loud beeps and flashing lights. Bells and a lot of nurses. He had no fat. It seemed like he was a skeleton with skin. He was pale and a little yellow and his cry sounded like a baby kitten. I remember thinking is this my fault. Did I do everything possible to keep him in?

I remember when he coughed and choked and then the monitors went off because he had a heart rate drop. All of the nurses ran in to monitor what was going on while I watched in fear. The nurse stimulated him a little and then he just cried. Still sounding like a baby kitten I opened his incubator after washing my hands and stroked his little head. To know that I was comforting him was more than comforting to me. I remember getting there and he was still small. Standing in the doorway of his room it looked as if it was just a balled up blanket in the incubator. I remember how he tried to fight to get out of the straps that held hid little body to the procedure table. I remember thinking he was looking at me thinking, Mom why are you just standing there do something. Save me!

I was still a nervous wreck when those lights and alarms went off. If you’re not a parent of a preemie but have a child let me share the feeling for you. Picture your child in a pool and he or she can’t swim and they sink into the water with an alarm around them. Your child is locked into the pool surrounded by a fence that you can’t break into. Just picture yourself looking into the pool knowing that this alarm is sound off letting you know that your child is in danger and you need to help them but can’t. That’s what it felt like to me. It was horrible.

Kangaroo care is a therapy that preemie parents can do with their baby by holding their child next to them with skin to skin contact. It was so relieving to finally get to hold my little one for the first time since he was born. I remember touching his fragile little body and thinking that I would break something because he was so tiny. I remember crying thinking is this my fault. Why did I do this to you? He was so small that when I held him to my chest skin to skin he fit right between me breast. He was so small. His cry was so tiny. He was so soft and I fell in love more and more. I hated to have to put him back into the incubator. When I would see the nurses come after about 30 minutes I would immediately start to cry because I didn’t want to put him back in the incubator.

I started having the what if’s. What if this happened or that happened. Then I felt like I wasn’t going to be a good parent. I felt wrong because I still felt that it was my fault why he came so early. He was fighting and crying and all I could do was stand there. I was in so much pain for him. I was enraged, angry, scared and apologetic all at once. My anger and rage came from him being strapped down and not being able to touch him while this was going on. My apologies came from the fact that I still felt that this was my entire fault. I was alone watching this happen to my little newborn.

My son looked at me with a sad face and sleepy puffed up eyes and I just took my hand and caressed his soft hair and apologized to him. I said I was sorry for bringing him here and making him go through so much pain. I told him how precious he was to me. I kissed him and vowed that I would always love him more than myself.

I thought to myself, I’m going to have that feeling of not being understood and loneliness again. I remembered the smells of the different testing rooms. I remember the sound of the heart rate monitors, the IV machines, the beeps. It all came rushing to me. I burst into tears for my baby. I burst into tears because I knew that no matter what, I could not keep Jaden from having to go through it all. I cried so hard that my stomach caved in and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I started asking GOD to please give me strength because I can’t take this anymore. I asked if he could take my health and give it to my baby. I felt like I would do anything for Jaden not to have to suffer anymore.

This was definitely a test for me because my patience was being tested. My faith was being tested. I started prying that things would get better. So from that point on I tried to rely on faith and that things would work itself out.

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