Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Guest Blogger for TCH ~ A Year Later ~

Here's the guest blog post that I recently wrote for TCH about life a year after the NICU!

Over the last several months my family and I have reached several milestones with our baby boy (who’s not such a baby anymore!). In April William turned one, on May 16th we celebrated his one year anniversary from being discharged from the NICU and June 10th was his due date/gestational birthday. It really is amazing how much he changed from April to June. The NICU team told us it would take him some time to “catch up” but you don’t know how true that is until you see it for yourself.

William has been in daycare since last September so it’s been pretty obvious that he’s smaller than the other kids. He was slow to start “talking” and at 16 months he’s still not walking. But, he’s healthy as ever and he’s met all his milestones in his own time. If you’re a parent, friend or grandparent of a NICU baby try to remember that. Every baby is unique, NICU babies even more so. Many of them have a few extra challenges ahead of them after they are born so you gotta give them break and practice patience. I can still remember sitting in the NICU praying that William would be able to drink just one 25 cc bottle that day. When I started feeling defeated I would remember my own momma telling me that patience is a virtue! That motto has held true over the last 16 months. When William was still waking up for a 2am feeding at 7 months old I reminded myself of this. When Gordon is worried about him being in the less than 1 percentile for weight I remind him that he’ll catch up and be A-OK

So, if you, your family or friends are going through a NICU stay remind them to be patient. :) Take advantage of the fabulous staff taking care of those precious babies. They are full of knowledge and can teach you so much. Ask lots of questions, get help when you need a break, try to connect with other NICU parents (they can relate to you better than anyone else) and remember that soon enough NICU will be a distant memory. There is light at the end of the tunnel. A patient’s mother recently reminded me that you can’t wish your days away. Yep, even the hard days when your baby is in the hospital. She helped me see that you have to embrace all the days, good and bad. In their own unique way they are very precious moments. It may not be what you envisioned but sometimes that’s okay.

I have a friend that is currently on bed rest and is filled with many of the same worries I was.  During those stressful times you wonder if you'd ever be able to consider another pregnancy because you are just so dang scared.  Unfortunately, some stories don't have as happy of an ending as my family's.  We really are blessed beyond measure.  I can't say that enough!  Life is a journey.  Good, bad, easy, hard, sad and happy.  My family and God help me through our ups and downs.  Here's another quote that I really love!  "Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it's what's in the middle that counts. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will." -Hope Floats

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