Meet Jessica, Preemie Parent Mentor
My preemie(s) was born at: 33.6 For Singleton and 28.3 twins
Days spent in the NICU: 31 Days and 112 days
Current age of preemie(s): 5 and 15 months
Parent of Multiples: yes
Area of resource: Multiples, Postpartum Mental Disorders and Formula Feeding, High risk pregnancy, NICU more than once.
I remember the first time I saw my first baby covered in wires, monitors beeping all around us. I didn’t know if I was allowed to hold or even touch her. Thankfully a wonderful nurse offered her to me. She helped me get settled into position and gently rested our 3 lb 6 oz, 33.6 week baby girl into my arms. Little did I know that 3 years later, I would be sitting in the same hospital anxiously waiting to hold my twins who arrived at 28 weeks 3 days. Our boy/girl twins weighed 2 lbs 10 oz and 3 lbs 1 oz. I had to wait 4 days to hold our baby girl and 6 days to hold our baby boy. We spent 31 days in the NICU with our first and 112 days with our twins. Even as an ‘experienced’ NICU mom, I felt lost and uncertain navigating the unique challenges of our twins. Every day was like riding a roller coaster I didn’t want to be on and couldn’t get off of. Some days were full of snuggles and sweet baby hiccups while other days were full of tests, scans and uncertainty.
Nothing can prepare you to be discharged from the hospital without your baby in your arms. Friends and family will try to offer comfort by telling you it will be ok, but sometimes we need to sit in our grief. Sometimes we need someone who will sit there with us, someone who understands and will just let it suck for a while. I didn’t have that during our first NICU stay and looking back it would have been so helpful. I hope I can be that person for someone and make the journey a little bit easier.
What are 3 things that every NICU parent/grandparent should know?
- Trust your gut. Doctors are smart but only YOU know your baby. Instincts are there for a reason, trust them and speak up.
- It’s ok to ask for help, and help comes in many different forms. Be honest with your needs.
- This is not the way you thought it would be. It’s ok to mourn what you missed out on.