The intense smell of disinfectant, the uncomfortable chairs, the sound of an alarm going off because a baby just stopped breathing for a second and the overwhelming silence paired with the sound of the daily routines of busy nurses. Over our 41 day stay, I got to know the NICU of Netcare Femina Hospital VERY well.
I have very deep and tender memories of our stay in the NICU. Almost like Stockholm Syndrome - I didn't want to be there, but being there made grew in me a deep respect for nurses (they work VERY hard), it made me appreciate the fragility of life and it made me part of a special group of mommies who know what it is like to leave their babies with complete strangers, but know the tenacity of a little person that learns things faster than they're meant to. It is still not easy to think back over this time, but my hope is that my story would encourage others and give them strength to get through.
(Just a bit of context: Eli was born via emergency c-section at 33 weeks due to preeclampsia. I was not prepared at all, and he was born within 16 hours after finding out I had this condition. I know there are MANY people who have experienced much more traumatic circumstances in the NICU, but hopefully this could still be encouraging and relevant for you.)
So if you are in the NICU right now, here are some helpful tips to surviving your stay in the NICU:
One of the hardest parts of being NICU parents, is how isolated you feel. People don't understand, and couldn't possibly, but here are some tips & insights if you ever have some friends or family going through this:
Hopefully you will never need to use the information in this article, but obviously this is quite a common occurrence and it's something that needs to be spoken of more.
Please feel free to comment with any questions or maybe if you just want to share you story!