Reflecting on our journey during NICU Awareness Month
Carter and Aubrey spent a combined 100 days in the NICU, but a great team of doctors and nurses pulled the family through
Both of our children were born prematurely. Carter more emergent and earlier than Aubrey, but both had to endure life outside the womb too early.
Carter was born at 26 weeks, 4 days in Nashua. He was immediately taken by a mobile NICU ambulance to a level 4 NICU at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth in Lebanon 75 miles away. Carter was born fast and furious. I labored all night – not even aware I was in labor – so we had no choice but to deliver upon arrival at the hospital. They would have flown us to Lebanon but icy conditions kept the helicopter grounded, so I had an emergency C-section.
Writing about the experience now no longer knocks the wind out of me or brings me to my knees. It does, however, continue to bring up feelings of emptiness, sadness, loss and grief.
The NICU can be a sad place, but at the same time is it also amazing. It’s amazing because you witness miracles every day, but in that same moment or day, you can also witness loss of life. There are battles that are lost and “there for the grace of God go I” moments.
It also brings people into your life you never would have crossed paths with otherwise. We have “family” now from our days in NICU.
Carter spent 75 total days in the NICU. He came home three weeks prior to his due date, and without a doubt it is because of the incredible care we received. I was diagnosed with PTSD, but I can only imagine where and how bad I could have been without the incredible team that carried us through.
Aubrey spent 25 days in the NICU and was taken care of in the CMC Special Care Nursery.
Some of my best mom lessons came from RNs who cared for us. I can’t say I am thankful for our journeys. But I can say I am thankful for the people who made it easier, who made me the leader of my children’s care teams, who taught me what motherly instinct was and how important it is to use it. They entrusted so much in me that I led rounds for our final day before we were discharged.
The bond and relationships remain intact. Thank goodness for social media! Awareness truly is contagious. If you know someone with a baby in the NICU, that person needs you right now. I continue to try to be involved with families who are in the NICU or just recently released.
Especially now, having a baby in the NICU or just released from the NICU is horrific and scary. Thinking of you all and wishing health on your journeys and homecomings soon.
Lauren Martone is a blogger for ParentingNH from southern New Hampshire. You can contact her at email@example.com. Lauren and her family’s story were featured in the July 2015 issue of ParentingNH and in the July 2018 issue.