NICU Survivors are amazing. No matter how long or how short your stay, getting to go home is a momentous occasion. That homecoming day is one you will always remember.
But, what comes next?
How do you go back to “normal” life with NICU survivors? Is it possible?
Perhaps, not right away. When we got home from the NICU, we had a nurse visit our house weekly for weight checks. We also had doctor visits, physical therapy, developmental clinics, and eye check-ups.
Plus, the threat of germs to a baby who has been in the NICU is very real. Often times, there is a period of isolation in order to avoid a re-hospitalization.
We isolated ourselves for 2 Flu/RSV seasons.
Hope at Home
While I think it’s so important to keep sharing micro preemie stores and NICU stories, I also want to share with you stories of what happens after with our NICU survivors.
While you’re in the thick of the NICU experience, you don’t even know if there will be an after. But, at some point, the lucky ones realize that they will go home, and the panic sets in.
How do you take care of your baby without the help of all these nurses and doctors? How do you know your baby is doing OK? How do you avoid going back to the hospital?
So, I’ve decided to share some updates on our NICU survivors, along with new stories of families that have been home at least a year.
I want to give hope to those still in the NICU, and a realistic picture of what life looks like once you get home.
I’m excited to introduce you to Holly, as told by her mom, Heather. In an awesome coincidence, she shares a birthday with my twins!
My daughter, Holly was born on May 4, 2016. She was born at 24 weeks exactly, weighing 1 lb 5.2 oz, and 11″ long. She was born due to a placental abruption, although I had been on bedrest for an Incompetent Cervix, had an emergency cerclage placed at 19 weeks. We were told the abruption was unrelated.
Holly was in the NICU for 138 days.
1. How long have you been home from the NICU?
2. What has been your biggest challenge since being home from the NICU?
3. What are you most proud of or what has your little one accomplished that you want to share?
4. What advice do you wish you had when you started your NICU journey?
5. What advice do you have for parents of older NICU survivors?
My advice for parents of older NICU survivors: no matter what the challenge you’re facing that day, just embrace your child for who they are. Even with setbacks, medical appointments, your child is so strong and so are you. Don’t neglect yourself. It’s so easy to do. It took me way too long, but I have started to get help for the PPD and PTSD I have from my daughter being in the NICU so long. They told me all the time in the NICU that I have to take care of myself before I can take care of my daughter, and it took me a year and a half for that to sink in.