Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lessons I'm Learning in the NICU


Geezaloo that last post was a downer.  Thanks for your kindness, love, and most of all your prayers.  You are the best.  This NICU thing is yet another crucible, I'll tell ya, and I'm learning so much.  Have you heard of Glennon at Momastery?  Well, if you haven't she is a recovering alcoholic and bulimic and she is a Mom and an author.  She captures so much about life so beautifully, and one of the best ideas about life she has expressed is the idea that life is "brutiful".  Brutal and beautiful, and oh my goodness that describes the NICU perfectly.  The NICU is absolutely brutiful.

Before Avery was in the NICU I would look at pictures of babies in the NICU kind of out of the corner of my eye, because it is a brutal sight.  That tiny person, so incredibly fragile, all those wires and tubes and contraptions that look so uncomfortable and even painful.  Now my daughter is one of those people in that brutal situation, and she is so beautiful.  They all are.  I can't say I don't notice the wires and tubes anymore, because I do, but they don't bother me because the job they do and the person they do it for are so beautiful.

Anyhoo, lessons I'm learning in the NICU:

1.  It's Enough To Be Strong Enough to Try

When Avery was born she was intubated because she needs the help of a ventilator to breathe.  We knew to expect this because babies born at 32 weeks aren't strong enough to breathe on their own.  There are different levels of ventilator assistance and I was anxious to get that tube out of her throat.  Talk about a brutiful sight.  When she was a day old they decided to take out the tube and have her try a nasal cannula instead.  I was over the moon!  This was it, this was our first step forward towards bringing her home!  It was progress and it was awesome!  I blabbed it on facebook and went to bed feeling like this would all be over soon.  In the morning I called to check in with Avery's nurses and found out she had been re-intubated.  Cue tailspin.  We were moving backwards!  She wasn't strong enough!  I really struggled that morning.  It was such a disappointment because I thought we were Moving Forward.  We've now been through the extubation/re-intubation cycle twice and this afternoon we may go through it again.  What I've learned though, is that when she's re-intubated that's ok.  Just the fact that they thought she was strong enough to try is a success.  Just the fact that the neonatologist thought it was possible to try is positive.  I see now that we will go through this forward and back many different times with many different procedures and that is ok.  Our baby girl is learning how to live on her own, and that is a complicated and difficult process.  Life is like that isn't it?  Learning to live is hard work, even out of the NICU, even at 33 years old.  Our little pixie can't even breathe on her own yet and she's already teaching her Mama an important lesson:   Sometimes being strong enough to try is the success, even if the result looks like a failure.

*Since I first wrote this Avery is finally on the non-invasive ventilator!  It took three tries and now she is doing well with it.  Yay!

2.  There Is Always Someone Who Has It Worse Than You

It's hard to see Avery all hooked up to monitors and the ventilator and the IV and the feeding tube.  It's hard to see her in her "spaceship", which is what we call her isolette.  It's so hard not to bring her home, but we will bring her home.  There are some families in the NICU who will not bring their babies home.  Avery just needs help to grow, to finish the work that should have been done in my belly, but she is not in immediate danger.  Some babies in the NICU are very sick or very very premature and their homecoming is not the sure thing that Avery's is.  This NICU thing is hard, but there are families who have it so much harder.  There are families all over the world who have a babies at 32 weeks and there is no NICU to keep them alive until they can do it themselves.  No matter how bad things are, someone out there--or just down the hall--has it worse.

3.  Good Things Come To Those Who Wait


AAAHHH!!!!  We got to hold her!!!!  Michael held her too but he didn't want his picture in the post.  We get to Kangaroo her for one hour a day right now.  There's really nothing else to say about that!  I'm off to have snuggle time with our little pixie!





18 comments:

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that picture. More tears and prayers. Thank you for your blog. Nella.

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    1. Thank YOU, for the prayers and for your blog too!

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  2. Oh, that picture puts tears in my eyes! With your words and that pic I feel like I can practically feel her on my own chest. Yay for strong babies!!

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  3. Oh so good to see you holding her!! God bless all of you!

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  4. One hour of non-stop skin to skin with that sweet baby girl! That's just awesome. No matter where it takes place! Enjoy your snuggles, mama!

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    1. Stupid slow Internet connection! Didn't know it went through! Agh!

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    2. No worries, these machines never want to listen.

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  7. What a wonderful picture! Being a NICU mom is its own brand of challenging and humbling and uplifting and crushing... Continued prayers to all of you.

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  8. Pictures like that are just priceless - some day you and your daughter will look at this together and it will make you smile:) I am so hopeful for you Nella! Blessings:) and continued prayers your way.

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  9. Oh my gosh, she is so precious, and this is such a tough time for you and your family right now. Thank you for keeping us informed. Praying for you!!

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  10. These are such great tips. My now-four-month-old son was in the NICU in April, and to be honest I'm still a little traumatized from it. I'd never had a baby in the NICU before, and really had no idea just how stressful that is. I'll be praying hard for you and for your sweet little girl!

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  11. Um, first, HYPERVENTILATING!!! I'm a HUGE FAN. A huge crazy super fan. Thank you for reading, commenting, and praying. Thank you so much. You've really made my day!

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  12. Nella, I absolutely love the picture of you and your precious girl. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers!! xoxo

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