If you’ve ever had a baby in the NICU you know it was complete and utter hell. Regardless of if your baby was a grower/feeder or a micro preemie, the journey was stressful and completely draining.
I constantly looked forward to that day that I would bring my baby home and everything would be perfect. We would surely all ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after.
I knew there would be your typical illnesses and I’d miss some work here and there. I was fully aware we’d possibly be seeing therapists in the future and there may be some delays. I had no idea that I would be trying to figure out how to quit my job because I would end up being home meeting the needs of my preemie more then I’d be able to work. I’ve been back to work for ten weeks now and I don’t believe I’ve had one full week yet.
I’ve learned an entirely new vocabulary and to my husband’s dismay, feel that I have an honorary medical degree. If I don’t get an answer I agree with, I turn into Mamma Bear and fight until I get him checked out in the way I’d like. I’d say my instincts are correct the majority of the time. So keep fighting if something doesn’t sit right with you!
When I reached out to other mothers to see how they handled working and taking care of a preemie I quickly saw that I wasn’t alone. A preemies’ problems aren’t left at the NICU doors.
I feel drained and exhausted. I’m full of guilt and reaching the end of my rope. I tell myself one more thing and I’m going to lose it. Sure enough, we’ll wake up to a new ailment.
I’ve had many nights of only a few hours of sleep and not because he’s not sleeping, but because I’m afraid not to watch him sleep.
I’ve even caught myself wishing time would fast forward until he’s not so fragile and then cried because he’s my last baby and I know I’ll never get these days back. Prematurity is robbing me of yet another special time and moments with my baby.
I’ve got a binder organized and filled with all of his medical records so every doctor is kept up to date when we visit, looking through it makes me sick. I thought it was a joke when the NICU clinic gave me the empty binder with dividers and told me I could organize it however I’d like. No way was I going to need a medical binder, but they sure proved me wrong.
When I’m at work I’m stressing about what’s going on at home and when I’m home I’m stressing about what’s not getting done at work. It’s a vicious cycle and us mothers are left completely alone.
So if you’re fighting this battle like me, know you’re not alone. You may not see us, but we are here surviving. Please hang in there. Make time for yourself and cut yourself some slack. You’re doing a great job and although others may not notice, your child will one day. We are all broken, tired, and overwhelmed, but we are here surviving and when you see those smiles or feel those cuddles you’ll know it’s worth it to keep chugging along.