Today’s fact: Three-quarters of all pre-term births occur spontaneously; in nearly half of the cases, the causes are unknown.
Mondays are usually reserved for “how I do it” with five kids. How did I do it in the NICU? Not very well, to be perfectly honest.
There’s no “list”, no trite information that I can spew out that can tell you how to “do” the NICU in ten easy steps. You just do it. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Some days, I did it pretty well (those days were few and very far between). Most days I was in the fog, praying the 4am phone call to the night nurse wouldn’t bring any more bad news. I spent a lot of time crying. I spent more days in denial. I spent a few days wishing this wasn’t my life. I forced myself to write about my experience, as it happened, on the family blog each night. As I look back I’m so grateful I did. Those were my raw emotions and time would’ve only sugarcoated how I was really feeling.
Being in the NICU sucks eggs. Yes, you meet awesome people and are inspired. But it is not one of those places you leave on discharge day and think, “Man, we have GOT to do that again!”
I think it may be best to say that I survived the NICU, in more ways than one. I learned to dig deep – real deep – to keep it together for friends, family and myself. I learned that I am a strong woman who sometimes needs a tissue and a glass of wine. There is no shame in that. I learned that it is ok to be really peeved at God and tell him so, frequently. Relationships don’t mature when you don’t disagree. It was with time and prayer I learned to appreciate His wisdom and plan for Luke’s life and my own. At the time, though, I thought the guy was loco. I learned that as strong as I was, I also needed help. And, mostly, I learned to be grateful. The NICU was just training camp for the rest of Luke’s life.
If only I knew then what I know now. Nah…I would’ve signed myself up for the asylum if I had. I was blissfully ignorant. Those long days in the NICU and the even longer nights away from Luke taught me to take one thing at a time. Perhaps that was the most important lesson of all.