Volunteer Hours, NICU Realizations and Doctor Visits

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nicups_logoThis week has been super busy for the Princess family. Today I will drive to the hospital I delivered my girls at for the fourth time this week. (It’s a 30 minute drive each way, by the way.) After so many times passing the building, seeing the signs, even of the getting past the smell soap, I walk through those doors and still have flashbacks of everything I experienced. I often wonder just how long it will take to heal. Should I just find a new hospital? I love Mercy. I love the system. I love the atmosphere. I love the doctors and the nurses. But sometimes I wonder if it is too painful.

I think the healing will come with time. Last night I attended my first orientation for a NICU Parent Support team at the hospital. It’s a volunteer position of other NICU parents. I met with this group when I was a NICU mom. They supported me on bedrest and during a scary time in my life. I want to be that person for someone else. As I met with these ladies, we all shared our story and I realized that maybe our NICU stay wasn’t that bad. Here I am sitting next to moms that delivered at 24 and 25 weeks, spending three, four and five months in the NICU, bedrest as early as 16 and 17 weeks along. I counted my blessings. For that moment I realized that I some how was the lucky one.

And then I came home and peeked in on my two sleeping babies, watching their chests rise and fall. I do not take them for granted for one single second but no matter how much worse others may have had it, I am not lucky. My experience was HELL. Just because it wasn’t as bad as someone else’s doesn’t mean it wasn’t my worst nightmare. No NICU experience is lucky. And that’s why I want to join this group. For the moms that have it easy to feel like its okay that they say, “Life sucks!” even though they have a baby alive and not in worse shape. There could always be worse. There’s always what-ifs. But we aren’t talking about that. We are talking about their present. Their present, MY present, was sitting in that cold, dark room staring at my babies through an isolette, being afraid to touch them because of just how tiny they were. 4 lbs of them compared to 140 lbs of me. Tiny.

To add to my emotional roller coaster of a day, I started yesterday seeing my OBGYN for my annual exam. Seeing her again after all this time, seeing a picture of my tiny babies hanging on her wall, it all just floods my memories of the past. I don’t want to forget the past. I’ve moved on and have a normal day to day life but I just want to be able to do these things without feeling a twinge from my incision or have to choke back a lump in my throat with watery eyes.

I am not volunteering to be a better person. I don’t know if it will help me heal. But it will fulfill an emptiness I have, sharing with other women that things didn’t go as planned. And that life really is okay afterwards.

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4 responses »

  1. Love You, I never knew about those feelings you had / have. They say time helps heal, but I think what you are doing is FANTASTIC.

  2. We were so blessed. My daughter was only in the NICU for a few days. I went into the hospital at 23 week gestation because my cervix was very short and the doctor was worried I was going to go into labor. I was warned that my twins were just on the cusp of viability.
    I was on bed rest for 10 weeks and managed to keep my darlings inside of me until 34 weeks.
    I feel deeply for all parents of premature babies. I also feel deeply for any woman struggling with a high risk pregnancy.It was tough.
    I am so glad people like you are there to support other parents whose babies are premature or sick.

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