I won’t ever forget the NICU…Not because I was in a foreign land watching as they tried to keep my baby alive…But because as I looked around the NICU, there was not just my son needing to fight for his life. In close proximity to him, there were others. Two babies were just over 1 and 2 pounds. On the other side, a bigger baby that did not have functioning bowels. Next to her, twins born at 32 weeks. And then there was a completely second side of the NICU. Like a different NICU village. A village of NICU babies that had been in there longer and were not at the “will this child make it through the night” phase. They had graduated to Side 2 NICU—yet still NICU.
On my son’s side, there were 3 nurses for 6 babies. Three highly trained nurses. And there were moments when we were literally CODE KICKED OUT!
Which means alarms and bells were going off and one of the two smallest babies needed full attention right away.
How they manage to find the veins in these tiny infants was amazingly shocking to me.
To realize that they flipped these babies and changed their diapers the same as they would my son (who was 3 times their size)—also shocking to me.
These nurses were made of steel—yet I wonder how many babies never made it out? I wonder how their steel doesn’t melt. Because you don’t want it to melt on your baby…And the next baby following your baby. And the next baby. Yet each baby was in so much desperate need, it was a bit scary. And, of course, your baby was the most important (well—in your heart they are all important—but via nature—you want to make sure that your child is receiving every ounce of attention that he needs when he needs it).
The NICU is an amazingly beautiful place of fight. Fighting for the lives of the newest babies brought into the world. Of the babies that some families wait an immensely long time to bring home. But it is also a place of great sorrow, as some never go to their earthly home.
And the entire purpose of the NICU is to do their darndest to make sure your baby will see you on the other side of the glass or outside of the incubator or make it into your arms, cords free, one day!
Maxwell’s stay in the NICU made me realize that it’s not just getting the babies into the world that is sometimes the hard part—it’s also keeping them here once they’re out!
This month of November is Prematurity Awareness Month. And, as my child was born in a foreign country, I had to live all of this in a foreign language as most doctors and nurses didn’t speak any English. Thankfully Maxwell, in the NICU (not later when he entered the hospitals at 6 weeks old) was in great hands—but I was horrified to see that the United States received a C on preterm births.
My daughter brought home her math test today and got a C. C! I was not happy at all with that grade. Would you be?
And yet it is the grade the United States received from the March on Dimes, “This is the grade…which measures individual states’ progress by comparing prematurity birth rates in each state to the projected goal.” (article from Huff Post Parents)
Why is this such a big deal? Because “Babies born too soon are at higher risk for breathing and feeding problems, developmental delays, cerebral palsy, and more.”
And, something I believe with all of my heart because my son at 6 weeks of age was nearly a statistic for this, “Just recently, preterm birth was named the number one killer of children under 5 globally.”
If preterm birth is the number one killer of children under 5 globally, then we, collectively as the world, should fight with all we have to make sure that all report cards strive for Straight A’s.
No “Ifs” “Ands” or “Buts” about it.
Here is the article, that I quoted from above, showing the miracles that make it from the NICU home: Meet 51 Babies Who Were Born Too Soon.
Here is my NICU boy that I’m celebrating this November (going along with the theme of the article above: NICU and Present Day):
And here’s the little boy in person (via cyber world) that does not like to be told he’s handsome: Maxwell Loren
#november #prematurityawarenessmonth #marchofdimes #fightforthelittles