Life as a NICU Mom… What I Would Do Differently

It’s been over three years since my twins were discharged from their six-week stay in the NICU. I’m no longer recovering from pregnancy and the subsequent surgery. My babies are no longer an hour away from my house. My feet no longer look like water balloons. I’ve had time to reflect on my experience. So, for what it’s worth, if I could do it all again, here are five things I would do differently.

1. I would FIGHT to hold them more.

It seemed like a daunting task, holding those babies. There were so many wires. There wasn’t a lot of space. The three recliners they had for the ENTIRE room were already being used. Some days it seemed like it wasn’t worth the trouble to get them out of their cozy little boxes.

not a recliner
This is NOT a recliner!

Of course I did everything I could to hold them, but if I had the chance to go back in time, I would fight harder to make sure the process was easier. I would set up a plan with a patient advocate. I would let them know I need a recliner EVERY TIME I visit. I would let them know I expect to hold them for as long as possible while I rest, and encourage them to assign a nurse who was “on-board” with that plan. Oh, God… If I could do it again!

2. I would find a Facebook support group BEFORE I had those babies.

I found an AMAZING group for mothers of multiples after I left the NICU. If I could do it all again, I would find that group while I was pregnant. How helpful it would be to ask a question about my preemie babies and have 60 responses from moms who have already been in my shoes!

3. I would take more pictures.

It seemed wrong to snap shots of my babies while they looked so sick, so pitiful. I remember thinking, “I never want to see this again. juice day 1It’s too painful.” Fast-forward three years, and all I have are a handful of shots I took while I was holding them. Luckily, my mother took a few while I wasn’t looking. (Thanks, Mom!)  I wish I could look back on how far they’ve come now that the sting of the NICU has worn off.

4. I would keep a journal.

No… not a long, deep, thoughtful journal. Just a few notes about what happened each day. I would write down important diagnoses, decisions, or struggles, who I met with, or my favorite nurse’s name. It’s hard to remember those things after the whirlwind is over.

5. I would have a better plan in place for my older kids.

That seems simple enough, but I wasn’t expecting those babies to come so early. My pregnancy was relatively easy, no major issues except for the fact there were two babies. Who knew I would be spending the next six weeks traveling back and forth to the NICU over an hour away?

If I could go back in time, I would have made a plan. The world didn’t stop just because my babies were sick. My other kids still had to go to school and practices. They still had to eat, take baths, and get dressed. Of course my husband did his best, and our family helped out. But six weeks?!?!?!?!?! Yea, right!

*I’m revising number 5 to say I would have cloned myself.

NICU life isn’t easy, but I am thankful everyday my babies made it through.

then and now

4 Replies to “Life as a NICU Mom… What I Would Do Differently”

  1. yes, I do so totally agree! You did an amazing job and I hope others will learn from your advice. It is so hard to stick up for your baby in the NICU because you are speaking your own truth to experts!

    Like

  2. Great blog:) I often think of all these things after spending 15 weeks there as well.. glad that road is behind us .. having other kids at home and being so far away is defiantly challenging to say the least I know just how you feel . Our nearest nicu was 4 hours from home so unfortunately we had to stay there the duration. Your twins are adorable:) my boys are now 6 months so lots of apts still for follow ups but I thank my lucky stars we’re home❤️

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s