Calling all NICU Warriors,
I write today over the moon excited! In just a few days I’ll be launching my first ME OVER MOMMY giveaway at a NICU in a local hospital. ME OVER MOMMY was designed to provide encouragement to those who may be suffering through a difficult period. It consists of heart shaped giftboxes filled with gifts that will hopefully bring a little bit of sunshine to someone’s cloudy day.
I have chosen the NICU to be my first market for this giveaway because I was a NICU mom only less than a year and some months ago with my daughter. I was diagnosed with Preeclampsia which was not unfamiliar to me because I had Eclampsia with my first child. I am ashamed to say I was embarrassed that I was having a child a little over 12 months after having my first. I was married with an amazing husband, but I just felt like my family and friends would judge me for being so careless after I had such a complicated pregnancy with my son.
Why didn’t I wait? Why wasn’t I more careful? Did my body even heal from the last pregnancy? Will I be able to survive this pregnancy? These were just a few questions that circled my mind EVERY DAY.
Needless to say, I hid my pregnancy for as long as I could. I found out I was pregnant 12 weeks in. I completely missed my first trimester. I was successful in hiding my beautiful gift from family and friends for 5 months. This brought on more guilt. I don’t want my baby to feel like I don’t want her. I would reaffirm to my baby every day how much love I had for her. I was just scared. Fear is a powerful force if you allow it to consume you.
After I announced my 2nd pregnancy to the world, I then became worried at how small I was. We took gender reveal photos at 8 months pregnant, but I looked like I was only 5 months (comparing to my first child). I shared my concern with my doctor, and she assured me I was measuring fine and that my baby would not have to go to the NICU. This was the first time the NICU had even crossed my mind. I still was uneasy. I just knew my body. Ladies trust your gut.
Fast forward to my 32nd week routine checkup. My blood pressure was around 177/100. I was freakishly calm telling the doctor and nurses that I had just had Mexican food before I came in and that was probably the reason my BP was high. My doctor released me, but she advised me that she was going to consult another doctor due to my history with Eclampsia. Before my husband and I could make it home, we received a call that I was to go to Labor and Delivery at 7PM that night. This is when I panicked. I was not ready.
My baby girl came into this world with such force. Literally, I pushed twice, and my doctor caught her like a football and my husband almost fainted. But I didn’t hear her cries. You know those sweet cries to let you know that your baby is here and ready to take on this new life. They rushed her away from me. I just squeezed my nurse’s hand, closed my eyes with tears streaming, and prayed. She was a little over 4 lbs.
I overheard the doctors saying I had IUGR (Intrauterine growth restriction). My placenta had stopped growing which I later found out was probably the reason my baby girl was not able to grow passed a certain point. I wasn’t angry with my doctor. She was not God. She didn’t know, and she may not have been able to do anything even if she had known. I was upset that my baby was going to NICU. I was upset that I was having a preemie. I blamed myself. Was it something I did or didn’t do? Was this punishment for hiding her during my first few months of pregnancy? I felt helpless.
My daughter went down to 3lbs 11 oz. I remember my father being too scared to hold her. I was too scared to hold her. The NICU nurses were great. They reassured me every day with updates on her progress. Their smiles made me feel at ease. They told me she was fighter and was so outspoken even at this stage in her life. This made my heart smile. My husband and I stayed in the overnight parent hospital rooms for a week, just to be close to her but I won’t lie and say I stayed next to her every moment possible. I did not. It made me sad.
Fortunately, my daughter was only in the NICU for that one week but I saw other moms who’s precious babies had been there for longer. The NICU lined with pictures of success stories and spiritual quotes. This was my motivation during this time. I want to add to this wall of encouragement. I just want to show those incredible moms that I am rooting for you. Remember to take care of yourself so that you can show up to cheer on your little ones. Your babies are in great hands with the NICU staff.
I hope my packages of love will brighten your day and just give you one more push to JUST KEEP GOING. Love you.
ME ADVICE: Give yourself permission to breathe. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself because taking care of yourself will give you the energy and reboot to show up for your child the best way you can. Remember your baby is getting round the clock care so it’s ok to not be there for every minute for the benefit of you.
ME DATE: Write a letter to yourself PAST TENSE about how amazing you are for being so strong and open during this time in your life. Be vulnerable to yourself and write about the feelings you are having and how you pushed through it. Keep this letter somewhere close and read it when in need of some encouragement or as a testament of your resiliency during this moment in your life.