Every day for those few weeks our son was in the NICU started the same for my husband and I. We would get up at 6am, grab what I called the nipple bag*, grabbed Dunkin’, and drove the half hour to the hospital. Then park, wave at the guard on our way in, and take the elevator to the ninth floor. We would wash our hands and then press the call button so they could let us in.
And then we’d take the walk. The worst part of our routine was walking through the NICU to get to him. You pass tiny little preemies, babies recovering from their latest surgery, and babies struggling to survive. As awful as this sounds, it was a wakeup call for us each day. Even though we were devastated that our little boy was in the NICU and he was fighting to keep his levels up… It could be so much worse. Compared to many of the babies we passed every day, our son was healthy. He was full term and a healthy 7lbs 9oz when he was born. A bad night for him would be considered a great night for many of the families there. We tried to keep this in mind when we would get there and they had to increase his oxygen again meaning even longer before he would come home.
No NICU case is easy on a family. And we were blessed in that he never required a surgery. We met so many wonderful people there including the staff. I will forever be grateful to all of them. But there was nothing better than leaving the NICU for the last time with our baby boy in tow.
*The nipple bag had the supplies for pumping if I needed it, the nipple shield so I could breastfeed our son, a nursing pillow, a bottle of water, and entertainment supplies for the day.