Friday, January 27, 2012

Reflections From the Other Side

Until you are a NICU parent facing a long NICU journey for yourself and your baby the full impact of "being on the other side" will mean nothing. The term "the other side" for a long-term NICU parents basically means the time when you get to take your precious blessing home and enjoy them in the comfort of your home. No more tubes, no more wires, no more beeps or alarms, and definitely no more doctors or nurses telling you what you can and can't do with your baby; that is "the other side". NICU parents dream of that day sometimes to the point of utter heartache and crying. The yearning in my soul that I felt to take my girls home and "be their Mother" ran so deep in my veins that I sometimes thought the day would never come.

Britian feeding herself, one of those moments I don't take for granted!

But what do long-term NICU parents do when they are finally on "the other side"?

I can only speak from my personal experience but I know the other side doesn't look like I had envisioned. I think that is a common feeling for many micro preemie parents who are facing medical and developmental challenges with their former preemie. Of course I enjoy every second we are home with the girls, in the comfort of our daily routine and familiar surroundings. However, the list of medical appointments, daily worries about their health and development, and constantly asking myself if they are growing adequately can be overwhelming at times.

Still though I find myself filled with a greater appreciation for the little things in life because of my girls. Every snuggle, each joy filled smile, and even the tiniest developmental achievement has me jumping for joy. How else can I explain the joy and excitement I feel when I see my little Jillian sitting on her own after worrying about her core muscle development for months? Sitting is something so basic that other parents typically take for granted. When you are a parent of a micro preemie though or any other child with potential developmental delays nothing is taken for granted. Additionally, when you have faced the very real possibility that your baby, or in my case both babies, might pass away there is nothing in life that is too small or too big that doesn't full your heart with sheer joy.

Jillian enjoying a banana baby cookie, a milestone I don't take for granted!

"The other side" seemed so far away in the early months of last year. I am glad we are experiencing the other side but not a day goes by that I don't pray for those families that are currently in the NICU. The weeks are so long and the days are so short when you are confined within the walls of the NICU. Graduating and taking your precious blessing home seems like years away, an unattainable milestone. It does and will happen though and when you walk out of those doors with your baby in your arms it will feel surreal.

Enjoy all of those precious moments with your babies, premature or not, they are all blessings!

1 comment:

  1. What a great reflection!

    I don't have a NICU baby (well sort of....just not a preemie). Our youngest was put in NICU at birth because she was born with Down Syndrome. I am still not sure why that would make a difference. Anyway we adopted her and brought her home at 15 days (we only saw her twice in the hospital before bringing her home on the 3rd visit)She is 8 1/2 now. But I understand the jumping for joy on any teeny tiny milestone she makes. People probably think I'm nuts because I get all excited over the littlest things....things I did take for granted my other kids learned at the "appropriate" time frames.

    Way to go, Britian and Jillian!!! They are getting so big and they've always been very beautiful.