Tag Archives: NICU

Bands that Bond Us

I remember the day we found out something was wrong. I could feel it in my gut before we even did the routine ultrasound. The emotion, the worry, the fear is indescribable. I could not form words to pray.  All I could muster was to tell God I was mad at Him.  It was unfair. It was hard to look at those around me experiencing the joy they had with their pregnancies and babies. Why?

The worst is when you feel like you have it under control then when you go to speak – you break. One particular call was with my Dad; I recall being angry with his reaction to the news. He was unphased. He said, “Rachel it’s obviously something you can handle.”  Our baby was our baby, and she’d be fine. Three months later and he was right.

I allowed myself three days to feel. Then it was time to move on. Accept the unknown.

There she was. Born way too early but right on time. I recall looking at her through the box as she looked right back. Her tiny little face. Her eyes were wide open.  At just two pounds and some change, her personality shown. I saw her legs. I saw the scars the bands left. At this moment, I wanted no different. She was my baby. She was made this way. The bands were no longer evil.

Everything about my pregnancy and the aftermath did not go as envisioned. You don’t expect to be pregnant only six months. You don’t expect to get to know your baby through the lens of a Hospital. The milestones you experience are not the milestones you prepare for. One of the biggest moments was being able to hold her with no wires attached. Going from being allowed to hold her an hour a day to being able to hold whenever we wanted.

Her amniotic bands had bonded us before she was born.  We knew the longer she stayed inside; the more damage would be done. Although my water breaking at 25 weeks has no exact relation to the bands it’s proof that even in anger, God hears.

The journey into parenthood did not come easy. I realize it’s never easy. You’re never ready. When it happens, when life throws you curve balls you just become ready.

Her bands have already taken me to places I never saw coming. I know she will continue to inspire and motivate me into the person she deserves me to be. She’s already the daughter I always wanted.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

5 Ways to Thrive in the NICU [or any challenging environment]

Today marks the tenth day of little Lennon’s arrival. Although being in the NICU is not ideal, it’s been a great opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. There are a few things I’ve picked up on over the past week and a half on how to not just survive this experience but to thrive. If you’ve been in a situation like mine or one similar, what things have you learned to help along the way?

1. Positivity breeds positivity

When dealing with a seemingly negative situation count your blessings. It’s amazing what a positive attitude can do for you, your baby, and those around you. Austin and I won’t allow negativity into the room. So when we’ve been tired and start to get cranky with one another, we pause and focus back on having a positive conversation. We even change the tone of our voice! We want Lennon to be surrounded by positivity. When I was pregnant, I wouldn’t even allow myself to listen to negative music. So when music came on full of strippers and hoes or angst or anger, I changed the station. Even now, I focus on putting good in so that my output is good. 🙂 It’s amazing what our subconscious picks up.

2. Keep deodorant with you

In all seriousness, the NICU is warm. Plus every day I’m carting in my tote bag, our meals for the day, my massive Law book and more! So by the time I get up to see her, I’m already a bit hot! Then after my skin-to-skin care with her, I have to peel myself off the leather chair. It may not be cute, but the sweat is real! I’ve also read that after giving birth, you tend to sweat a  bit more as your body regains balance and eliminates extra fluids. Keep it fresh. Your baby and nurses will thank you.

Another quick tidbit is if you wear contacts be sure to pack some solution. If given the opportunity for a quick nap, you’ll need to refresh your eyes.

3. Be nice

You would be surprised at how rude people can be – well maybe not. In every interaction, we try to focus on being kind to those around us. People around here are under a lot of stress and emotion. It’s easy to judge and be critical of behavior especially when you’re tired and dealing with your emotions. When I find myself slipping into ‘judgment zone’ I try to focus and silently pray that the Lord will bless that person. This sounds soo cheesy! However, it helps me regain focus on what’s important.

4. Go home

It’s hard to leave your baby, Period. It’s important for her health and mine that we go home to recharge and rest. It’s that simple. Go home when you can and be sure to take care of yourself and your relationship with your partner. When your home take care of your to-do’s for instance, make dinner the night before or throw in a load of laundry. Each day choose a small task to conquer. Doing so will help you to avoid building a mountain ‘to do’s’ and allow you to focus when with your baby.

5. Get dressed

It’s so easy to throw on sweats, put on no makeup, and make little effort to look presentable. I’ve found though that by getting up and dressed my mind is better focused and prepared for the day ahead. I’m not in mourning. I’m not depressed. So, why look that way? By getting dressed, I’m setting myself up for a successful day. Again, the power of attitude can make all the difference in how we deal with the daily opportunities.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick