Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Just wanted to send a note of encouragement to Day By Day Female Scientist who recently had her baby. Her little one needs some extra help right now and is in the NICU. This time last year I had been home just about a week with my little one, who intially spent 10 days in the Level 2 nursery (next step down from a NICU - they just can't deal with the very sickest babies) because she was 5 weeks early. As "Day By Day" says it's exhausting, emotional and overwhelming to be a first time Mom (or any time Mom I suspect) of a NICU baby. I only have a tiny insight into what she's going through as my little one had no operations, didn't need a ventillator, was never in any serious danger, and mostly we could hold her whenever we wanted. She just had an IV, incubator, jaundice treatment and monitoring for Apnea spells - which was quite enough wires for me! When I look back on that time now it is almost nostalgic, but I still mourn for the loss of those early days in some ways. I wish I could have held little one longer right after birth, and breast fed her right away (so maybe shouldn't wouldn't have needed a sugar IV). I wish we could have slept in the same room so she could have heard my breathing (and maybe not have had so many Apnea spells), and that she wouldn't have been stuck under hospital lighting in that dreary room (and maybe gotten over her jaundice quicker). I also don't think it was so great for me to sleep on a hospital couch 3 days after giving birth and have to keep walking up and down the hall to see my baby, but that's another story...

Often the hardest thing for me was to see the happy faces of parents and visitors of "normal" babies. I wanted that experience for my first birth and I can never have it. I have told my husband that our next child should be born (at full term and healthy) on a weekend (so we can have lots of visitors), and that I need lots of balloons and flowers! I know that can't be ordered of course, and in fact it is slightly less likely than usual for me since I have a history of preterm birth. I know of course that the main thing is that our baby is healthy and developing well now, but I think it's important to acknowledge that the early days were traumatic, and we did miss something that most parents take for granted.

Anyway, to "Day By Day Female Scientist" I want to say - hang in there. It's worth it! Even though it feels like forever at the moment, this time will pass. I am thinking of you and your little one and hoping that the worst is now over and you'll be taking her home soon.

1 comment:

ScienceMama said...

Not that it's quite the same, but I also felt a sense of loss over my birth as well because it was a C-section instead of vaginal. I didn't get to hold Bean right away, and my first days with her were hazy with pain and pain medications.

I want visitors and flowers next time too!