Five Tips from a Preemie Mom

We have been collecting Preemie Stories to share with you in the hope they will be an encouragement on your journey through the NICU. This story also includes Five Tips that this preemie Mom learned along the way.  We want to Thank Rebecca for allowing us to pass on her story.
It took my husband and me years to conceive. We finally got pregnant! At 28 weeks pregnant, I was told that I had severe IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) and absent diastolic flow (pauses in blood flow in the umbilical cord). My OBGYN said he’s been practicing 50 years and had never seen such a severe case...That is where I had my first hospital trip with the possibility of delivering my baby. I was given a steroid shot and a few days in the hospital, where I went home and had 2 ultrasounds a week to follow. Every single doctor’s visit resulted in a hospital stay. This happened 4 different times, 4 days a piece. They told me she could stay in my belly until the blood flow reversed. She was such a tough girl. She stayed in until 31 + 6. I knew that day that I would be having my daughter. I went in for my weekly ultrasound, and she was very still that day, and I heard the words that the blood flow finally reversed, and it was time. I was taken back for an emergency cesarean, and I must say that was the weirdest experience OF MY LIFE. Moving on... my perfect 2 lb 2 oz daughter Delaney was born. I didn’t get to see her for about 12 hours, and by that time, my tough little baby was already off the oxygen machine. She was breathing on her own so well that she didn’t need it. The next 6 weeks to follow were the loneliest, yet most rewarding times of my life. I sat with her all day every day, celebrating every little ounce of weight gained and every milestone. I came to DESPISE those 4 walls and that incubator that separated me from my child. How unnatural... all I wanted was to hold her when she cried and I wasn’t allowed until she got bigger. All at once, she decided she wanted to grow up and get ready to leave the NICU! She left after 6 weeks, weighing 3 lbs 14 oz. She is 7 months old and 12 lbs 2.5 oz now and in perfect health. Severe reflux is the only issue she has, and of course her immune system. She surprises me every single day at how amazing and resilient she is. Though they may be little, they are strong! ??
If you have a baby in the NICU right now, please read these takeaways:
1. Take care of yourself. Take a walk, an extra long shower, take a drive!!! Go have dinner with friends. It’s hard to leave your baby, but your baby needs a HEALTHY mom, in both body and in mind. Those walls get lonely and you need to get out every once in a while! The nurses will look after your baby while you’re gone.
2. Cherish every single moment, and celebrate every milestone. Even the smallest gains are huge for these little ones!
3. Choose to be happy. I know that’s easier said than done, but the whole experience will be miserable if you’re sad the entire time. Your baby is alive and thriving, that is worth celebrating! Do NOT let the devil steal your joy from your precious miracle!
4. Know this is not your fault. You are an AMAZING mother, and I know it’s easy to feel like your body failed your child. There is nothing that could have prevented your baby coming early and they just couldn’t wait to meet you!!!!
5. Ask for support if you need it! It’s difficult to find people that know exactly what you’re going through. Sorry so long, but I just love seeing all of your precious tiny's!!!
I love those Five points. I saw a quote this weekend that I think goes beautifully, "in the NICU Every Tiny Thing matters??" @everytinything. So like point #2 states, cherish every milestone! Take a picture, write it down in your journal, tell everyone about it. This will help you with point #3 my husband loves to say "Gratitude helps your Attitude" and hopefully this will overflow into knowing that point #4 is the hard truth "This is not your fault!"
Wishing you an awesome week!