Guest Contributor: Kara Haddix
Last week I shared some Resources to help with your family’s serving and giving opportunities during this Advent season. You can find these resources HERE.
This week I’m sharing a brand new resource for loving on a community of people we don’t often thing about — NICU parents.
Nearly three years ago, we experienced the NICU up close and personal as our grandson spent several weeks there after being born prematurely. Our daughter-in-love shares the experience:
Sign in at the front desk. Smile at the receptionist even though all you want to do is cry. Wash your ands for 3 minutes, all the way to your elbows. Sanitize. Pray the beeping and coding isn’t for your baby. Wait for someone to come to your pod so you can ask permission to hold your own child. Rock back and forth, back and forth, back and forth because you just need something to do.
10 weeks. 70 days. 1680 hours. That’s how early my son was.
I had been in the hospital for 4 days, thinking I was going to be there for 6 more weeks until it was safe to have the baby. Time with visitors, getting caught up on my reading, and joking around with the nurses. I felt great! Until I didn’t.
During the middle of the night I started feeling extremely sick, vomiting and contractions like I had never felt before. I stood up, getting ready to ask my husband to go get a nurse, when his face dropped. I knew something was wrong. It felt like my water was breaking constantly, it just wouldn’t stop. But it wasn’t my water breaking. I was hemorrhaging out. He runs to get the doctor and while we wait I’m crying out “It’s too early, this can’t be happening.”
It took 10 minutes. 10 minutes of pushing my bed down the hall, rushing into the surgery room, and trying to save our lives. There wasn’t even time to properly put me under anesthetic. Every second counted. My husband wasn’t even allowed back with me. The nurse stayed with him, trying to prepare him for what could possibly come. She told him to call in the family because someone wasn’t going to come out alive. There he sat, 31 years old and about to lose either his wife or child.
The next few days passed in a blur. I was kept sedated for much of it, only piecing together the puzzle in the rare moments I was awake. We had a son. A 3lb. 4 oz baby boy who was fighting everyday to get stronger. I was unable to hold him very long because there were so many wires, so many tubes that he needed to help him breathe and eat. We had days of great improvement. We had days of setbacks. But in all of those times we always had God.
The NICU is a scary, dark place. The loud dinging, running through the pods to make sure the alarm wasn’t your baby, crying because your baby is breathing fine but that means someone else’s baby isn’t. It’s horrifying. But He’s there. He was there the entire 6 weeks we spent making the NICU our home. We survived on the love that we were given from our family and friends. The care packages, the gift cards, the support really helped us in our darkest days.
SUGGESTIONS FOR NICU CARE PACKAGES
gum, mints, candy
What a special Advent project this would be. Download a more complete list HERE to create your own NICU Care Package.