More Time to Love Him

This is Gabriel. He was born at 26 weeks gestation weighing just 15 ounces (450grams) at Legacy Salmon Creek in January of 2015. He was born early because of severe intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). It was almost two weeks before I was able to hold him, and I felt so helpless sometimes seeing my baby hooked up to all of the tubes and wires.

There were times when I felt like the nurses were more of a mother to my baby than I was able to be, but they were all absolutely wonderful. There were times too, when I became so overwhelmed with anxiety that I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

I tried really hard to overcome these challenges by keeping my family close and talking with the staff at the hospital. For me it really seemed to help to know my son’s conditions and to have the nurses explain everything in great detail. It always made me feel better when I knew what to expect, or what could happen, and what they were going to do about it if it did.

I find now that we’ve been home almost a year and a half, that I feel good about my NICU experience. I feel thankful that it has brought my family closer, and even though my little guy isn’t growing at the same pace as other babies his age, it’s okay because it just gives us more time to love him and cuddle him while he catches up. I’m really glad to be a part of NICU Families Northwest because I love to hear about other stories similar to ours, and I can use my experience to let others know that they are not alone in this.

If I had any advice to give others struggling with their time in the NICU it would be to talk— talk about everything that’s going on. It’s scary, but it really helps. And make sure you eat and sleep. The nurses will tell you everyday, and you won’t want to, but it definitely makes a difference in your overall well-being and your ability to make the best choices for you and your baby.