Questions NICU Moms should never have to ask

OnlyTrueNorthAsha, Insights, NICU, Preemie parenting20 Comments

This time around the entire pregnancy was different. Not because things with my son were polar opposite than with my daughter, but it has been different because I am different. I am not the same mother that I was four years ago. Sure, I was monitored more closely and checked out on a weekly basis by specialists, nurses, and an incredible OB, but when you have had things go wrong before, you tend to be on guard constantly. Despite all my fears, the Lord gave me a very specific word for my son. It was not a promise of perfect health or even an easy journey. It was a promise that gave me great peace. God reminded me that this little boy would be ‘laced with His glory.’

Everything is much to raw to tell and honestly my friends, it might always be that way. So, in lieu of a birth story, I thought I might shed some light on the some of the heart-wrenching choices that NICU families have to make. Whether you’ve spent a few days in the NICU or more months than you’d like to count, please chime in and add to this list. I hope this can be a place where you feel heard, honored, and loved.

10 Questions NICU Mommies should never have to ask:

How can I even begin to heal physically when my heart is so terribly broken?

Should we bring our daughter to the hospital today, so she can forge a stronger bond with her brother, or skip the pain of hearing her cry on the way home about how much she misses her little brother?

What should I say when people mistake my post c-section pooch for a 3 month baby bump?

Who should sacrifice getting to hold him today, his Mommy or his Daddy?

My husband’s paid time off won’t last forever, should he take time off now or when our baby finally comes home? How will I decide when I need him more? Will he be able to even focus without thinking about his family constantly throughout the day?

Should I stay with my baby who should still be inside me or go home to my daughter who knows the minute I walk in and out the door?

Why don’t people understand that a NICU is an intensive care unit? It’s not just a special daycare where babies hang out, it’s a locked unit, it’s a germ-free space, there are children fighting to stay alive inside.

Why do people think that having a baby in the hospital means you can catch up on sleeping before your little one comes home? Could you sleep if someone you loved was hooked up to wires, tubes, and working to simply thrive in open room air?

How will I keep from crying as I watch babies go home with their families day in and day out?

When friends share how much they ‘can’t wait’ to hold my new baby, do they know that I didn’t even get to hold him when he was born? Do they know that I didn’t even get to see him for hours?

This list is meant to shed light to a journey that no parent should ever have to embark on. I hope it will bring awareness to a tribe of people who are bonded together by a traumatic start. I would never wish this kind of beginning on any family, but I know that through honesty and grace we can emerge stronger. I know that the promise that the Lord gave me for my sweet son is engraved in all of our hearts we were made with great love and laced with glory!

All my love,

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20 Comments on “Questions NICU Moms should never have to ask”

  1. Shannon "Sam" Mather

    There are “no words” to express how proud we are of you, dear daughter & such a precious mother. You & Stuart have shown your steady love for each other & faith in God through this unexpected trauma. We are SO VERY HONORED to be your parents And YaYa & Papa to your AMAZING babies

  2. Karen

    These are questions with no answers and even if answers worked for some your journey is yours alone, completely unique. I can say I will empathize with each question as I have asked the same ones. As you navigate though the path chosen for your family, please take strength from the fact that you are strong and both of your babies have found the right parents to support them through their personal journeys in this world. I don’t have the answers but I will always be an ear to listen if you need one..

  3. Ashley

    I was fortunate that I didn’t have any previous children when my twin boys had to be in the nicu, but I had a couple harder questions too. One of my son’s was in renal kidney failure and we were going to have to make the choice to do dialysis on a 1lb6oz baby that he could die from it or die without it. And my other son had a perforated bowel that sent him to another hospital while I was still recovering from my csection. Then he had to have surgery at 8 days old to have an ostomey bag for 2 months. It is the scariest thing to see your babies insides poking out of his oh so tiny belly. Not all babies can come out crying and wiggling and unfortunately we have to become different people, stronger mother’s to be able to cope with our loss of normal early parenthood with our children.

    1. OnlyTrueNorth

      My heart goes out to you! Yes, these kinds of decisions are heart-breaking, especially when you feel so trapped picking from two variable outcomes and feeling torn between your two beautiful sons. I can’t even imagine the pain and weariness you have endured. Carry on brave Mommy, you are strong, brave, and the most lovely perfect Mommy for your boys! Prayers for your family!

  4. Laurie Bickel

    Asha my heart goes out to you! You are so strong and you and your family are blessed! This is just a short section of your sons road and it will pass. Sometimes it’s the rocky starts that lead you to the best views! You’re amazing and in my prayers!

  5. Shari Whitehead

    I hear those very things expressed on a daily basis. You expressed it so eloquently. I was so hoping you would not experience the NICU yet again. But he is so incredibly beautiful.

  6. Megan Lubin

    These words speak to me so loudly. Each question could only be asked from someone who has been there. I am so proud of you, Asha. I think you need to hear that. You are a wonderful mother to your precious daughter and I know you will be a wonderful mother to your amazing son. Thank you for sharing these words through the tears. They’re needed.

  7. Tammy Miller

    Asha, Stuart, Alana and Torrey, I think of you constantly and pray for you and send you my warmest wishes and kisses. Thanks for sharing. With love, T

  8. Rachelle

    This just about sums up our experience with having a premature baby. It’s so hard to know how it feels unless you have actually had a baby in the NICU. I feel that it’s similar to taking your heart out of your chest and handing it over to a team of professionals. I love you and hope you can experience a miraculous emotion healing. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    1. OnlyTrueNorth

      Thank you, Rachelle! Your description couldn’t get any better. I’m praying fiercely that your story goes differently this time around. You just take it easy and know many prayers are going up for you, Jay, and the kids, from us!

  9. Caitlin

    Two years ago yesterday is when my water ruptured prematurely with my daughter at 26 weeks. She was born at 29.

    This post resonates so deeply with me. As we prepare/plan for a second pregnancy I’ve been learning I just need to rely on God and His grace alone and ask for what you were given: peace.

    I know we can’t know all the whys in this life and I pray that you find comfort in your Fathers arms and rest knowing He is with your son when you aren’t able to be there.


    1. OnlyTrueNorth

      Those anniversaries are so hard, aren’t they? You might be grateful for were your kids are now, but it’s hard to shake the story in your head, the memory. I get it. Praying for you. I’m sending you an email. Stay strong, Mommy!

  10. Monique Presutti

    Thank you for sharing your perspective. I have been a neonatal nurse for 25 years. Your questions should never have to be asked, yet so many NICU mothers have asked them. I haven’t walked in your shoes, only been blessed to walk along side them. These precious babies born too soon are the most miraculous, strong, and amazing little gifts. They teach me every day and so do their parents. I have experienced the unconditional love of being a parent and ache knowing nicu mothers struggle with these questions. NICU nurses of course do not have the answers, but we know your questions. Please know you can talk about your frustrations with your son’s nurses, they won’t know how to fix them, but they will absolutely understand.

    1. OnlyTrueNorth

      I love our NICU nurses! Since this is our second journey through the hospital, we have many of the same nurses that we had with our daughter. I wish I could give them all gold medals of valor and a lifetime free supply of coffee! The work you do is so important. Thank you for sharing your heart, thank you for caring for sweet babies for so many years!

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