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Transition Home, Balance of NICU time with Children at Home

Meet Amanda, Preemie Parent Mentor

My preemie(s) was born at: 29 & 6
Days spent in the NICU: 73
Current age of preemie(s) 1
Parent of Multiples: No
Our NICU Journey included: PDA, PFO, Chronic Lung Disease, Home o2 and heart monitor

I felt as if the rug was pulled out from underneath our feet when our journey began. I had no complications during my pregnancy until the weekend my daughter was born. I felt as if the process was a “reset” for my life. The journey has helped me slow down, realize what is truly important, to focus more on my family time rather than my “outside job.” I have learned that every moment is a moment to be treasured. I remember the love and support from our primary care team. They took such good care of our daughter, but also of my husband, my oldest daughter, and myself. They truly became family.

The NICU journey can be so lonely. The experience will challenge you as a person, as a mom, as a wife/partner, and a friend. This past year has been so difficult for my family to navigate, but I believe we have grown and been able to discuss our individual experiences. I would love to help others navigate this journey, as well. I needed help and it took me a few months before I began reaching out and asking. Looking back on my experience, I wish I would have reached out sooner. I hope to be the sounding board that others need in those early days, and as all of our journeys continue.

What are 3 things that every NICU parent/grandparent should know?

  1. What you are feeling right now is the way you are supposed to be feeling right now. (do not try to mask your fears, your anxiety, etc. It is all part of the process)
  2. No question is a silly question. Ask all the questions. Seriously.
  3. While this journey is certainly a rollercoaster, you and your child will realize your true strength. You are stronger than you realize. You have this. Celebrate every milestone.

*Our eldest daughter, age 4, was adopted at birth. My preemie was born at the beginning of the flu season so we navigated our 73-day NICU stay by balancing our time between home and the hospital. Our oldest was not able to visit the hospital so it was certainly a challenge balancing between our two homes. We have also had to navigate a lot of questions about why our oldest did not grow in my tummy, if our youngest could, etc. Our adoption journey has merged with our NICU journey. While our journey to parenthood is certainly a unique one, I believe that other parents will be able to relate to our struggles of trying to balance our time between home and the hospital, how to ensure our oldest was receiving the care and attention she needed, while also keeping her informed of the challenges that we were experiencing at the hospital.