When You Become A NICU Parent
This post is sponsored by Carter’s on behalf of Everywhere Agency; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Nothing really prepares you for the moment you actually realize you are in labor and are about to have a baby. I remember not really wanting to talk very much as I was in labor with Brooke (until the epidural kicked in that is) and Kevin wanted to scream at the top of his lungs, he was so excited. We knew that Brooke would be arriving six weeks early as we headed to the hospital, but as first time parents, it did not cross our minds that this meant she would be admitted to the NICU.
I remember barely getting to hold her and then she was whisked away with a team of NICU doctors and nurses. I had no idea what the next week of our lives would like as NICU parents. I wasn’t prepared at all.
I wasn’t prepared for the emotional struggle it would be.
I wasn’t prepared for the sleepless nights or pumping at all hours.
I wasn’t prepared to leave the hospital without my baby.
I wasn’t prepared to sleep in our car in the hospital parking lot between feedings.
I wasn’t even prepared with preemie clothes for Brooke to wear.
I wasn’t prepared at all.
I will never forget all of the emotions of my first NICU parent experience, I remember walking back into the hospital to feed Brooke one morning and as we walked in, another mom was being wheeled out with her balloons, flowers and her sweet little baby. As we stepped into the elevator, tears filled my eyes and I just sobbed with Kevin and my mom. It was such a helpless feeling to not be able to take my baby home like other “normal” parents.
Thankfully, we ended up leaving the hospital with a perfectly healthy Baby Brooke. Fast forward, to Little Kevin. If you have been following along for a while, you know that my pregnancy with Little Kevin was far from easy. He started trying to make his appearance at 28 weeks, but we held him off until 37 weeks. We went through shot after shot each week and medicine after medicine to keep him out of the NICU. However, even though he wasn’t a “preemie”, he ended up having to stay in the NICU a few days with lung and sugar level issues.
While I was more “prepared” this time in terms of knowing what to expect, I was more upset because of the desire to want a normal birthing/hospital experience. I am sharing this experience with you to give a little background into why Prematurity Awareness Month is so important to me. Having 2 NICU babies changed my perspective so much and it is an experience that I will forever remember and wish no one had to go through.
This past week, I had the amazing privilege of being able to partner with Carter’s to give a generous gift to local NICU families. Carter’s provided gifts to support all of the families at my hospital, including gift cards, blankets, and bodysuits – while I was able to write personalized notes to each family and deliver the gifts.
This was such an awesome experience, because I could so relate to the parents. Like I mentioned above, I was extremely unprepared for the NICU. I didn’t even have clothes for Brooke. During the first few days of her life, I ran to Carter’s and picked out her first outfit she ever wore.
Carter’s is an amazing trusted resource for preemie parents. In an effort to do even more for the community, they launched a new preemie collection (with 70 styles) that provides a smaller size option and new features designed to specifically meet the needs of the tiniest warriors and those in intensive care. The line was inspired by NICU nurses feedback from Northside Hospital-Atlanta’s neonatal intensive care unit. The collection’s features include plastic buttons and Velcro sleeves, so that clothing can be worn during X-rays and to enable easier IV access.
Some bodysuits also feature graphics with sweet and heartwarming phrases like “Mommy’s Miracle”, “Daddy’s Fighter” and “My Super Heroes Wear Scrubs.” Carter’s really created this entire line with preemies in mind and to honor the amazing nurses in the NICU that take care of these little ones.
With 1 in 10 babies in the United States being born prematurely, this is such an important cause and I am thankful to be able to partner with a brand who really cares about the needs of parents and babies. You can see this through their entire Carter’s preemie line available on carters.com and in select retail stores.
As a NICU mom of two, I know how hard this experience can be and I am so thankful to be able to bless other families through this great brand.