Hey, Premie Mamas, How Did You Get Through Having a NICU Baby?

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QUESTION: How did you get through having a NICU baby?

“I would love to know, from any NICU moms, how you managed to get through it? My fiancé and I share a car and I have a three-year-old. Every time I go down, my heart just breaks, and I don’t know how to hold it together for my girl or my family. I suffer from PPD, and this is making it even harder. She has an IV in her scalp that just breaks my heart, and I feel like all of this is my fault.

When my mucus plug fell out, it was green, which is a sign she pooped in me. They sent me home, and I was home in labor for over 16 hours. When they did the c-section, she swallowed a bunch of fluids that had poop in them. She is ten days old, and just yesterday, they realized she has pneumonia.

When we are together and do skin on the skin, I feel we both are relaxed but they want me to stay home and rest a few days, and it’s killing me. She also has a hole in her heart and a v/y shape on her butt where they found abnormalities, which can relate to her spine, but I have to wait for two separate appointments for that.

I appreciate any tips to help my family through this, especially me. This is also my fiancé’s first child, and he’s so concerned for me; I worry about him and his feelings and try and get him to talk about it. He says he knows she is in good hands, but he wants me to be okay. He works, takes care of my three-year-old and me, and I just have so much guilt for him, her, and my son. How did you guys get through it? I don’t have many friends to lean on and we really don’t want everyone in our business and to worry people. Please help this struggling momma. She came 16 days early as well.”

RELATED: Q&A: What Is A Well-Balanced 50/50 Parenting Schedule?

Hey, Premie Mamas, How Did You Get Through Having a NICU Baby?

Community Answers

The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.

“When my daughter was born, she was 36 weeks and spent 24 days in the NICU. I spent every second with her that I could. There were days where doctors told me to go home and I didn’t. I was there through everything with her. Honestly, it was the best bonding time I had with her. I had her all to myself and I really miss her.”

“It’s the most difficult thing watching your baby suffer and knowing there is nothing you can help with. Just taking it one day at a time is all you can do. Soak in your skin to skin time with the baby, be there when you can. The medicine came a long way and babies are very resilient. We spent 77 days in the NICU. (Born almost 3 months early, 1lbs 14oz.)

It was a constant roller coaster with good days and bad news days and I felt like I reached my breaking point several times. It was a long road even post NICU but she is a completely healthy happy 6-year-old now. (I could not go through with having more kids after this experience). Hang in there mama, they are little fighters, hopefully, you can take him home soon.”

“I had my daughter at 34 weeks and 5 days due to having real bad pre-eclampsia and she spent 25 days in the NICU and it was hard for me to leave her there while I got to go home. She had a little trouble breathing but their main concern for her was she didn’t want to eat so she had a feeding tube most of the time. She also had a thickening of the heart/hole which they said was normal for preemies. After she gained some weight they let her come home.

A week later they sent a nurse to my house to weigh her to make sure she wasn’t losing any weight and thankfully she wasn’t. At 3 months, she saw a cardiologist, and again thankfully what they saw before went back to normal. Today my daughter is a very healthy 8-year-old and I’m just so very thankful for that. Prayers for you and ur little girl.”

“My son also had meconium aspirations and they only gave him a 20% chance of survival and he’s 15 now!!!!! I had a two-year-old and he was in NICU an hour away. I also dealt with the guilt and still do. It’s a struggle, but hang in there, momma.”

“My youngest son was born at 26 weeks, the NICU is the best place for your little one. Read to your baby, it helps with bonding and also works as a distraction. Talk to the other parents in the NICU, even though everyone’s situation is different they can relate and can be great support systems. Just take it a day at a time and trust in the doctors and nurses.”

“It is draining mentally and physically! My daughter was transported 2 hours away to a larger hospital. My husband and I took turns being there. We were allowed to spend the night right in the room with her so we would alternate. I would go home for the night to rest and shower while he stayed and slept and got up every 2 hours for feedings and then I would drive back in the morning to switch out while he went to work.

It was rough but know that your baby is in good hands and where she should be. It is so much worse bringing your little one home and then having problems. You don’t get any rest when they are home because you can’t sleep out of fear of something happening and you’re not going to wake up or know it’s happening. You got this!”

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