Meet Dana, Preemie Parent Mentor
My preemie(s) was born at: 24 weeks
Days spent in the NICU: 177 days
Parent of Multiples: No
Our NICU Journey included: Chronic Lung Disease/BPD, Reflux, Diuretics/Nebulizer treatment, PDA Ligation, Oxygen dependency and Gtube.
Caring for your baby in the NICU is a journey. It’s an entirely different world and an experience I never imagined I would have. Our Bryce was born at 1lb 5 oz and we were told that he may not make it so close to viability. We spent our days in the NICU, trying to understand the jargon, what each sound meant, and how the medications were helping him. I had an overwhelming need to fully know all the details surrounding my son’s early start. While each NICU experience is different, many parents in the NICU can relate to what we were going through, but we didn’t have anyone to reach out to personally.
As I searched for support, I started with Facebook, joining preemie groups and searching for someone like me. I wanted to talk to anyone who had been through it all before and could, maybe, give me some hope for our future. I want to help other parents, lend an ear, share our story, and give support.
The best piece of advice that I can give parents going through a NICU journey is to give yourselves time. Your baby needs time and you need time. It’s easy to slip into a negative place during those long, hard days in the NICU. But there is so much hope and these little ones are so very strong. Lastly, be as involved as you possibly can with the care of your baby. Use scent cloths so baby always feels you close, read as much as you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You are not alone.
The micropreemie journey can be like walking through a mine field for both preemies and their families. The moms and dads of the earliest babies celebrate not only the milestones, but also the minutes. Every hour in the early days is hard won. Every milestone met, a triumph. A micro-preemie parent’s courage and resilience may be tested to the very limits. The struggle may feel never-ending, but it’s important that parents know they are never alone.