hard to hold
Two of the hardest things about having a baby in the NICU are not holding your baby and having to leave your baby there.
I never realized preemies can’t be held, you don’t think about that when you have never had any contact with a preemie or a NICU. The first time I met my preemie several days after she was born, I scrubbed up and was taken to her isolette covered thing. She had wires everywhere and a little hat and eye coverings, she reminded me of a race horse. I wanted to pick her up and was told I could not. Can you imagine telling a new mom she can’t hold her baby. So I reached my hand in one of the arms holes and started to stroke her arm and was then told you can’t stroke a preemie, their little nerves aren’t ready for that. I gave her my finger to grab- that I could do. I was devastated. Here was my baby and I couldn’t hold her and she looked so wrapped up and tubes and beeps and it was overwhelming. I kept saying I want to do kangaroo care but she wasn’t strong or healthy enough yet. That was hard, that was heart breaking. I would then go back to my room and wait to see her when I could since the NICU is run on a very tight schedule and you can’t just stop by.
The second hardest thing was leaving her there and going the 50 miles each way home. When my first child was born he had jaundice and they wanted to keep him under the lights when I was released for a few days and I fought and fought and they approved getting us the special light thing to take home and a visiting nurse and I was over the top, I was not leaving without my baby. It’s not like that in the NICU. In the NICU you don’t get many choices or many chances to make your declarations known. I felt like a part of me was missing and I was truly depressed when we got home. I just sat and stared because my life felt off. My husband was able to go to visit her more than me because it was close to his job, so I made due with emails about her progress and phone calls and every few days we went to see her. Our car gas bill that month was $700 from traveling. I knew the doctors were doing what was best but it’s an awful feeling to not be with your newborn baby. Five years later and I still feel the pain when I type it and she clings to me like glue.