My name is Jenna. I am a first time mom in her 30s. I have a wonderful husband. We waited to get pregnant so we could enjoy our 20s and have lots of life experiences before we had a child. Prior to pregnancy I was super active; working out every day, hot yoga, and weekend hikes with my love.
I had my sweet little Aurora Rae at 27 weeks with severe IUGR weighing 1lb 5oz. I was admitted to the hospital for monitoring due to restricted cord flow and pre-eclampsia. After 5 days they had to deliver her via c-section as she was having lots of dips in her heart rate.
The morning of my c-section I remember how terrified I was. This wasn't the plan. I was healthy and I didn't understand why my body couldn't carry her. I was shaking so badly my muscles ached. I was so scared to get my epidural because I was shaking so hard and so uncontrollably. They were able to deliver her successfully.
She was breathing when she came out and was told she made a squeak.
Unfortunately no one announced her arrival. They had already taken her away and I was being closed up before I knew she was here.
The hardest part of this journey was not having the ability to control anything. It was a constant rollercoaster you feel like you're on. There are so many ups and downs with a lengthy NICU stay. I remember feeling like it had to be my fault that she was there, "she has to fight for her life everyday because mommy's body couldn't keep her safe". She ended up on the NICU for a month past her due date and that was extremely hard. I got to watch so many people go home before their due date. It was excruciating. I wanted to snuggle my baby in bed.
I wanted to comfort my baby without having to ask permission.
This experience taught me survival and patience. I had to learn to give and let go of my expectations. I had to find strength that I didn't know I had. I had to watch my daughter endure so much. From struggling to breathe, fortifying her feeds to the point she was so uncomfortable, uncomfortable eye exams, and endless tubes and wires.
To those who have not been through a NICU experience, I would say these are my helpful tips...
Stop asking "when are they coming home?". We are living day by day and it can change in a matter of minutes, it's all we can think about and we have to protect our hearts and expect the worst.
Stop telling me "she's doing so good". If you think you are seeing the whole story, you are wrong. We don't want to post the bad, we try to focus on the positive.
Lastly, I would say, please don't ever tell someone that they are lucky to have extra time, in a perfect scenario we would have chosen the hardest pregnancy/labor to have a full term healthy baby.