NICU Awareness Month

Did you know that September is NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) Awareness Month?

My husband and I were right by my son’s side when he had to experience a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit. It is not something to take lightly. Because of this, I want to highlight all NICU patients, families, and health professionals, particularly in this month of September.

There are so many different circumstances in which a baby would have to stay in the NICU, from being premature, very sick, having breathing issues, just to name a few.

My son had to stay in the NICU after he was born. Our experience having our son in the NICU was by far probably so minimal compared to a numerous amount of babies because some babies have to stay months in there and my heart really goes out to these families.

Nevertheless, a NICU experience is not something any parent would want to experience.  

NICU parents are worried, nervous, stressed out, and overwhelmed. It takes a lot of courage, love, and hope to have to see your baby that JUST came into the world, in the NICU.

My son and I were both released from the hospital, as normal, after his birth. My husband and I welcomed him home and we were more than thrilled to have our little family together our first night, just as any new parents would be. The next day we took him to his check-in appointment, and his blood tests showed that he had an excess of bilirubin, a yellow pigment of red blood cells. His pediatrician said he had jaundice, which usually occurs because a baby’s liver isn’t mature enough to get rid of bilirubin in the bloodstream.

Jaundice is a pretty common condition. Some of my family members had it when they were babies, so I had heard of it prior to becoming a mother.  Some preterm babies (born before 38 weeks) also have it, and considering I had my son (who was 5 lbs, 10 oz) right at the 37-week mark, I wasn’t surprised he was a candidate for jaundice. It seems to be more common in mixed or Asian babies, as well. Therefore, it was less than 24 hours and my son had to be re-admitted back into the hospital for a stay in the NICU for phototherapy. Phototherapy is used to help the body break down and eliminate the bilirubin levels in his blood through photo-oxidation.

It wasn’t how some parents have to see their babies with tubes and machines, but I still didn’t want to see him like this. His eyes forced to be covered and all I could think about was that he just came into this world. What if he wanted mommy and daddy or didn’t know we were there?!

 

 

I remember first waiting for those double doors to be unlocked by the nursing staff in the NICU section. Walking in and scrubbing our hands, and then seeing all the tiny, fragile newborn babies, some just being hours old really puts a lump in your throat and makes your heart sink. The baby that my son was laying next to (my husband and I like to call him my son’s first friend) was placed in an incubator/warmer right after his birth to help control his temperature. It was just so agonizing to see my son, his friend, and all the rest of the newborn babies in their conditions. I cried.

So, thank you to the healthcare professionals that specialize in the NICU and take such special care of our babies. I’m sure some stories leave you or the families with heavy hearts – and parents leave with scars that will never heal. On the flip side of it, I’m sure you also see miracles and triumphs. For all of this, we are grateful that you provide and inspire hope in some of our scariest hours.

I’m grateful to say that my little guy is healthy and thriving today!

Parents — did you have to experience the NICU? I wish you all the best.

 

15 Comments

  1. September 5, 2018 / 1:13 PM

    Oh my goodess I had not idea it was nicu awareness month. I can’t even imagine what you and your husband had to go through… I will definitely spread awareness.

    • Stacy Liz
      Author
      September 5, 2018 / 9:04 PM

      Thanks for reading!

  2. September 5, 2018 / 2:15 PM

    We did not have to be in the NICU, but my little guy was pretty badly jaundiced. He suffered some distress during birth, and it took it’s toll on his little body. I remember thinking he looked so cool, like he was having a day at the pool in his little sunglasses, but I also remember crying, sleeping with my hand on his little tummy under the light. So glad our babies were alright in the end. And I respect any parent who has to endure the NICU experience.

    • Stacy Liz
      Author
      September 5, 2018 / 2:54 PM

      That’s funny, I also tried to pretend my baby was just tanning (because it looked like those tanning beds). ha ha! Yes, so glad our babes are ok!

  3. September 5, 2018 / 2:31 PM

    I can’t even imagine having a nicu experience. I know several people who had to endure this and it seems so incredibly difficult. So much love to all the mommy’s who have had a rough start.

    • Stacy Liz
      Author
      September 5, 2018 / 9:05 PM

      I appreciate it – thanks so much for reading.

  4. Pearl
    September 5, 2018 / 6:51 PM

    This is so great! I have had a few friends go though this and it is rough, This is really good! Thank you!

  5. September 6, 2018 / 12:33 AM

    I had no idea September was NICU awareness month! Our little guy spent 13 days in the NICU, it was the longest 13 days of my life. It was never touch and go, and my heart goes out for those that are in a scarier situation. I thank God everyday for our NICU nurses, his warriors 🙂

  6. September 6, 2018 / 1:37 AM

    I’ve had three people, all very close to me, who’ve had to deal with their infants/newborns in the NICU. From their experiences, I know this is one of the most frightening times in a parent’s life and that they can feel all but helpless! Thank you for shining a light on this, too many families suffer through this without any support!

  7. September 7, 2018 / 12:58 AM

    Thank you so much for sharing!! I’m so glad that your little guy is healthy and thriving. I’ve had several friends that have had babies in the NICU and it’s such an emotionally draining roller coaster. So grateful for all of the wonderful NICU healthcare professionals to take care of the precious littles!

    • Stacy Liz
      Author
      September 8, 2018 / 1:03 AM

      Of course – thank you so much for reading. Much appreciated!

  8. September 7, 2018 / 8:47 PM

    All of my 4 babies had jaundice too, and #4 was a couple points short of having to stay in the NICU. I can’t imagine having to see your little one go through that! Thanks for sharing!

    • Stacy Liz
      Author
      September 8, 2018 / 1:02 AM

      Oh wow. All of your 4 had jaundice! Awww….

  9. September 10, 2018 / 8:59 PM

    I’ve only ever had to deal with having a person I loved in the ICU. It is a terrifying experience. Having a baby there must be frightening beyond words. Glad to hear you are all doing fine now.

  10. Kait
    September 20, 2018 / 10:58 PM

    I love how you share your experiences and explain what you have been through. You have a way of writing that makes it so relatable. It is so sweet of you to remember the other babies and families that were going through the same experiences. Thanks for always sharing!

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