Mira “the Miracle”

She was born early because of PPROM (Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes). My water broke at 27 weeks, and I was put on hospital bed rest until I started showing signs of infection and needed an emergency c-section. Mira was 3 lbs, 4 ozs at birth and lost 7 ozs before she started to gain any weight. We spent about two months in the hospital, and it was very important to us to enjoy as many moments as we could with her no matter what the circumstances.

My husband and I both held her as much as we could; we held her skin-to-skin on our chests until we couldn’t sit any longer. We were in the hospital all of December and January, so I made her a stocking for our future holiday seasons together. We celebrated every small victory. Going an entire nurse’s shift without a Brady alarm or gaining even 5 grams would put a smile on our faces. We found strength in our little girl’s will to live.

The hardest part of being in the NICU was feeling that I had failed my daughter before I even had a chance to hold her— I felt that I had failed as a mother and as a woman.

Through NICU Families NW I met other women who had been through similar experiences. We are often harder on ourselves than those around us, and hearing their stories really helped me realize that sometimes no one is at fault; things just happen. Finding a community of other strong families who had survived the NICU and had happy, older children allowed us to see that our time in the NICU, however hard or long it was, was only temporary. We’ve been home for 18 months now, and we actually have very fond memories of our time in the NICU. Only other NICU families can really understand what it’s like for your newborn baby to need hospitalization. We share a bond with other NICU families that cannot be explained unless you’ve experienced it.

If I could give advice to others struggling with their time in the NICU it would be:

  1. Take photos every day, even of the scary stuff. I didn’t want to at first, but I promise you will cherish them later. They also helped me see how far we’d come; within days we could see the progress Mira had made.
  2. Talk to the families around you. I felt closer to our NICU neighbors than people I’d known my whole life. They can understand in a glance what your “outside friends” may never understand.
  3. Speak up, be true to yourself, and trust your instincts. The doctors and nurses are medical professionals, but you are the expert for your own child; you are the one by their side day after day, for hours on end.

You will get a lot of advice. Hold onto what rings true for you and let go of the rest.