I haven’t talked about it much, but our sweet son spent the first 25 days of his life in the NICU. For some, the NICU is a tragic place- it can be where your child experienced significant trauma or even where your child took their last breath, the last time you held them in your arms. It can be really, really scary place for some.
But for us- the NICU was a place of life. It is where we first saw our son, first held him in our arms. It is where we got the call that he was ours and I wept over his sweet frame. It’s where we (finally!) became a family. It’s where his grandparents and relatives finally got to meet him after waiting for 3 weeks. It’s where I spent nights in a recliner, near his side to make sure he would have a good night. It’s where I became confident to speak up and ask questions when there were 10 doctors doing rounds, where I knew nurses by name.
I have fond memories of our NICU. Sometimes I get a flash back- of relaxing in the mother’s lounge, drinking more juice than I had in years, of the strict washing guidelines I followed with my pump parts after each pump. Of scrubbing in and the excited feeling I got as I walked quicker to see my baby. I remember how all the nurses called me “Mom” instead of my name and how much I loved it. I remember leaving him at night and being sad as I walked to the parking lot. I remember the jolly parking attendant and thinking he was the perfect man for the job.
Most of all, I remember snuggling with my itty bitty baby from the moment I got there to the moment I left. I remember staring at his precious face, feeling his breath in and out as he lay on my chest, reveling in the new baby smell of a child that was finally mine. I remember the hours passing too quickly yet at the same time, time standing still. I remember feeling like I was becoming more of an expert on my child and advocating for us with the staff. I remember the feeling of glee when the doctors said we could go home.
The NICU is a part of our story- our family’s story and our son’s story. Praise God that we have good memories from there. I will never forget the place we became a family.