Monday, February 28, 2011

The "NICU Mom" look

For the past 2 weeks or so I have been one of a very few Moms in the level 3 NICU here at the hospital. For whatever reason or personal circumstance the majority of the other babies in our part of the NICU do not get regular family visitors. Keep in mind there are only 12 rooms total in the level 3 area and my girls occupy 2 of those 12 rooms.

Today however was different. As I went about caring for the girls today and doing some of my other regular chores I noticed quite a few new Moms walking through our hallway. There were quite a few new admissions late last week so seeing new Moms come visit isn't too terribly surprising. As I glanced at a few of the Moms who had been visiting for a few hours late into the night the "NICU Mom" look hit me. I mentioned it to the girls' night nurse and she agreed. There is a distinct NICU Mom look. It is a look of exhaustion, stress, worry, confusion, new reality, and overwhelming fear all wrapped up into a ball. Faces are pale and eyes droop from little sleep. Brows are furrowed from the stress and worry.

However, as I was walking back to my room here in the hospital for the night I passed by the pediatric inpatient unit. This is the area of the hospital where children are staying for one reason or another, it isn't the PICU but another area that cares for children needing inpatient care. As I walked by this unit another Mother was exiting, she too had "the look". So I stand corrected, the look that I wore in those first few days and might still wear now from time to time isn't specific to the NICU. The look that we wear might be better coined as "the hospital Mom" look. No matter how little or how big, regardless of the situation your child is facing, having a child admitted in a hospital is a stressful time in our lives and we wear it across our face.

The girls' night nurse mentioned in passing that the look doesn't stay forever. Once the Moms find their routine then the look diminishes enough so that we look reasonably normal. I wonder if I have lost the look yet, I am certainly in a routine. No matter, what matters is that we are taking it one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time.


  1. As I read your updates, I am transported back through time. There were some pleasant memories tucked away as well. Such as hearing the whispers "look.. twins!". I pray that God grants you pleasant memory moments that brighten your journey.

  2. Tess, I have already been blessed with quite a few pleasant memories during my nearly 3 week stay here. It is these moments that get me through the tougher times.