Meet Sydney, Preemie Parent Mentor
My preemie(s) was born at: 29 weeks
Days spent in the NICU: 64 days
Current age of preemie(s): 6 months
Parent of Multiples: No
Our NICU Journey included: Navigating NICU from familiarity and general support, pumping support, postpartum recovery, long-distance family support, advocating for your preemie, ways to bond with preemie.
I remember it felt like we’d never leave. I was so overwhelmed because my husband was back at work, my family lived a few hours away and it was hard to visit and I often was more discouraged than hopeful if I spent hours at the hospital. It was scary, sometimes sad, sometimes lonely but I reminded myself that I got to love my baby sooner than expected and for that I was lucky.
I wished I’d had someone to ask simple questions to or just ask if what I was going through was normal. I wished I’d had someone tell me sooner to advocate for my son’s care plan. I wished I’d had a friend and cheerleader who’d been there first. I want to be that person for current NICU parents. You’re never alone.
What are 3 things that every NICU parent/grandparent should know?
A. Take things one day at a time. The NICU is a marathon, not a sprint. Some days there will be lots of progress, others you will have none or even take steps backward. It is all normal.
B. YOU are your child’s best advocate. Your parental instincts are not to be disregarded and you are allowed to fight for your child’s care.
C. Make the NICU feel like home. If you can, bring blankets or stuffed animals from home. Try to create a routine or bring books to read for bedtime so it feels like family.