Here is something I wrote related to a nurse dressing Gem without my permission in her first clothes since being born!
This is Gem July 2016 in the NICU vs. July 2018 at home.
It is so many little things that can set a NICU mom off. Let me tell you all about one of my hissy fits in the NICU. I have shared this before, but let me express how small things can trigger big emotions from a preemie parent when enduring a NICU journey. As a pregnant mom, you visualize every first moment with your baby. As a NICU mom, I found myself robbed of the joyous and precious first-time moments that I could have had with my new baby. So, you have to know that my feelings were all over the place, but that is to be expected from a NICU mom with all the trauma that we had to endure. Gem was 3 days shy of turning 1 month in the NICU before she was able to put on baby doll clothes. It took Gem 3 months to be able to wear a preemie onesie. As her excited mother, I wanted to put on her first outfit. So, when my husband, Justin, went to the hospital before me that day and sent this picture of Gem I went BANANAS. I cried (like Gem is doing in the micropreemie picture to the left), because the nurse had taken the fulfilment of a dream that I had of dressing my daughter for the very first time. She took an opportunity away from me, but not in a malicious way. Even though the nurse's intentions were good, it took away a special first-time moment between my daughter and me. The nurse was only trying to be sweet and surprise us, but she didn’t realize that I was looking forward to the day that I could put some clothes on our soon to be 1 month old micropreemie. I was sad and unhappy that I was not the first person to hold her. And besides, it was not the outfit I would have chosen for my daughter to wear for the very first time. So, from that day forward the nurses made sure to check with me before dressing Gem. Being a preemie parent comes with many first moments that we do not get to share due to our NICU journey. As a mother, your baby is the first to know how your heart sounds from within you. Gem was my first pregnancy. I dreamt of the day I would dress her in the first outfit that she will ever wear. Since then, Gem has come so far. The picture to the right is Gem at 2 years old. She was still so tiny that the onesie was a size 6-12 months. Of course, she was being swallowed in the preemie size onesie in the picture to the left. God is good and I am currently high-fiving him!!!
If anyone says that I share my story for people to feel sorry for me, then they are wrong. They need to get some of the joy that GOD offers. No mom (in their right mind) says that she wants to give birth to a preemie, but we put on our big girl panties and do what we have to do by making the most out of the situation. We are warriors and survivors. Sharing our experiences is therapeutic and helps others through their own journey. It helps them write their story better than you could have written yours, which is an improvement in maternal health statistics. I share my journey to show the mom who is presently where I was, that there is light at the end of the NICU and beyond. NICU mom, I encourage you to voice your needs as a mother to your little one's care team. If you want to bathe your preemie every night, then tell the nurse, so they can arrange bath time when you are present. If you want to breastfeed your child for every feeding then tell the nurse, so a plan of action can be developed. If you want to close the door to your baby’s room and simply pray, then tell the nurse you need some private time with your baby. Now....I am not saying that just because you voice your wants that they will be honored, but I can guarantee they will hear you and want to help as much as possible within their means to do so. They will see that you are serious about being an involved and active NICU mother to your baby. As a mother, make sure they chart all of your desires. It is not unusual for you desire something most parents take for granted who have not been in a similar situation like ours. You can look forward to changing their blankets, diapers, brushing hair.... all of the simple things that we take for granted will come and will feel like the timing is perfect. I am not saying that I enjoyed changing Gem’s diapers after we got home, but back then in the NICU, I was front in line to change her. Today, I am like daddy can handle diaper duties. We have a 1 year old, Jax, he produces plenty. Now, I have no problem letting daddy handle diaper duty.
I am here for you, mama. If you have any questions about my NICU experience and beyond, book a session to chat with me. It is a free service and I look forward to hearing from you. You can follow me on IG at @beautyiskherim and join my contact list to stay up to date on future blogs.