You give me a few minutes to catch my breath… and wait until I find my way back.
You wait for me when I need it the most.
You wait for me without asking.
You wait for me with the most love in your heart.
And I am forever grateful.
Having someone you know and love deliver a baby premature can be scary. Often times loved ones are unsure of what to do and what to say during this stressful time. Here are some thoughts gathered from former NICU parents on how to support during the journey.
It was a swift emergency C-section. Noah was 32 weeks gestation, and weighed only 2 lbs. The first moment I laid eyes on him, was through the small plexiglass porthole of his isolette. Although there were no signs of Zika, It was determined that Noah had not grown since 26 weeks gestation, as the result of severe Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR). If it had not been for that random ultrasound, we never would have known and would likely have lost Noah within another 24 hours at most. There will never be an answer or explanation as to why this happened. However, there will also never be one as to how he survived for so long- and of the two mysteries, that is the one I encourage myself to focus on.
Last night I met five beautiful warriors and am again reminded of the unspoken bond we all share as NICU parents.
I had the opportunity to attend a newly formed NICU support group that meets once a month in a cozy non intimidating space to share battle stories of experiences, offer support to one another, cry, laugh and just “be” for two hours.
You’d think with journeys that are unimaginable to most mothers, that the room would be heavy and hard. But it was the exact opposite. From the moment I walked in, the welcoming smiles on these women’s faces were calming and warm.
Everyone’s stories were very different. Each emotional, and raw with winces of pain. However every single women found a place of hope and positivity to lean towards during points of their story. And that’s what makes NICU parents so special. Despite the trauma, despite the feelings of loss, resentment, anger and fear, they show such strength. And although everyone is still dealing with these unwanted feelings, they still paused, gave hope and kind eyes while another took the floor to talk.
Far from over, these journeys will have more ups and downs. It is with great hope that these types of connections can help NICU parents lean on each other and share this unspoken bond to make the world a little lighter, even for a brief moment.
For any Cleveland folks, this group meeting information will be listed here shortly. For others not local or able to make it, our goal is to have a space here where these parents and others can share their stories, offer some connection and hope with their words, so if you too need to be lifted, you will be able to connect and find it here.
We care, because we have been there.