August 2016 holds the happiest and scariest day of my life. I was 30 weeks pregnant and woke up with complications, I had a healthy “normal” pregnancy to date so just the fact that I had complications was a complete shock to me. My husband rushed me to the hospital and right away they started using words like preterm labour, premature, NICU. I was in shock and had no idea what any of those words meant for me or my baby.
Twelve hours later in a crowded room with many doctors and nurses my son was born at 2.13lbs. He was immediately given to the NICU team and whisked away. About an hour later they took me to see him, at that time I was not allowed to touch or hold him. I remember seeing him hooked up to machines with tubes and a mask on, and honestly not knowing what to think. All I knew was he was my baby and I was his mom. About four hours later I was allowed to hold him for the first time. Even though he was hooked up to tubes and wires, and it was not the picture I had in my head when I thought of holding my son for the first time, it was truly a magical moment.
Jacob was in the NICU for the next 44 days. The NICU is a roller coaster ride that plays with all of your emotions, sometimes all in one day. You learn as a parent to celebrate milestones you didn’t know you would have to celebrate, like gaining 5 grams in a day or being able to give your child a bath (Jacob was 31 days old). You also learn to do things you never thought you would have to do, like changing a diaper through the holes of an incubator or watching the NICU staff give your baby so many needles and pricks that you lost count of. I was fortunate enough that I was able to be in the NICU for 10-12 hours a day, sitting by his side, holding him whenever I could. My husband however had to go back to work and was often away 3-5days at a time. This made a difficult situation even harder as we were apart.
Through it all the NICU staff became my sounding board on emotional days, my friends, and the amazing people I trusted with my son when I was not there. They explained everything from day one and were so supportive of any questions we had. I will never forget one of the NICU team members explaining to us what challenges a baby born at 30weeks might have. He explained it in a way that my stressed, very overtired, shocked brain could understand and made it just a little less scary. All the staff truly care about the babies in the NICU and go above and beyond in caring for our little miracles.
Graduating from the NICU was an amazing day. As parents, we left equipped with the knowledge and confidence that we can care for Jacob at home. The NICU staff not only cared for our son but helped shape us into the parents we are today.
Three years later Jacob is a happy, healthy, silly little boy. Like a lot of NICU babies, our lives have been filled with appointments, specialists and therapists who we are so thankful to have their continued support and their wealth of knowledge to help Jacob thrive.
My favourite quote has become ” You don’t know how strong you are, till being strong is the only choice you have” I think about this quote every day still, thinking that it is so true for all three of us, we are all stronger today than I ever imagined possible.
Our success is warranted to the tremendous support BloomNICU receives from local community through corporate sponsorship and from the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan. A variety of sponsorship packages are available.