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NICU. The word itself may make you think about little angels being pricked or wired to devices, etc. It isn’t a pretty sight to watch. However, these small neonates or preemies are the strongest fighters I have witnessed. I am a NICU mother, and I am writing this blog to share my NICU journey along with my baby.
The joy of holding my baby for the very first time came true when I entered the NICU three days after the birth of my baby. Until then, the wait was full of anxiety and excitement. My tiny bundle of joy was so small that I was scared to hold him first. I had mixed emotions and tears of joy and sadness trickling down my cheeks.
My baby was full term but underweight, so he spent around 14 days in the NICU. Being monitored for blood sugar levels was the most important aspect. Plenty of other tests were carried out daily, including ultrasounds. Blood sugar tests were done every 2-3 hours in the beginning, which was difficult to see. I wore a NICU gown, cap and slippers, and sanitised my hands every time I entered the unit to pick my baby up and feed him.
Teaching the baby to breastfeed was the most challenging part in the beginning, as he was fed formula milk with a spoon. With a c-section and pain in the stitches while sitting up, pumping milk was a huge task. At first, the nurses would press and remove milk, but this process was painful. Then I used a manual hand breast pump. But, that was painful too, as my shoulders and arms would be in immense pain.
My mom supported me in the entire process. Without her, I would have been literally shattered. I had to express breast milk every two hours. Then I was called to hold the baby, sit in a chair and feed him. But, my baby didn’t feed at all. I tried for one-two hours every day and ended up feeding him expressed breast milk with a spoon.
My baby had become very friendly with the nurses around him. Duties would change every few hours, and he knew all of them. He would look at them and communicate with his facial expressions. The nurses would even play some music for him in the night to put him to sleep. I would stand near the door and watch all this. Sometimes, I would also feel a little insecure; worried if my baby will recognise me after the discharge. The anxiety of taking care of him by myself, later on, would be at the back of my mind. Will I be a good mother? How will I handle such a small baby at home?
I was given a list of dos and don’ts at the time of discharge. For two months, I had to strictly adhere to all the rules given by my pediatric. Utmost care was to be taken at home; he said only two people could handle the baby after sanitising their hands. Or else, we could not even touch our baby.
My child’s naming ceremony took place in the NICU itself. It was a very emotional time for the entire family. We shared some special moments in the NICU, holding our baby together in our arms. To sum it up, I would just say that my NICU baby is now seven months old, all hail and hearty. After eight long years of wait, this precious gift of God was worth all the pain, efforts and hardships that we faced. My baby emerged as a strong and brave warrior prince and still continues fighting little hurdles on his way. As a mother, I am still in a learning process, but I have gained strength through my baby. I am blessed. The NICU mother’s journey continues… See you on the other side soon!
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