In the December 2009 issue of ParentLife, we chose to cover a topic that is very close to my heart. In our monthly column "On the Way" (for expectant parents), we provided information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about bringing home a premature infant. I can tell you all about this from firsthand experience!
Due to pregnancy complications, my little boy (Jack) was born one month early. Because he was early, his lungs were not as strong as they needed to be, and while I’m not sure he was ever in a life-threatening situation, he needed help getting the oxygen he needed. He spent a week in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where the amazing nurses took fabulous care of him until he was strong enough to come home!
The day we brought him home was very exciting and very scary. For a week, nurses had been there to help us take care of him and oversee that we were doing things correctly. In fact, the night before we brought him home, the hospital allowed us to "room in" with him. They have a special room right next to the NICU where parents are allowed to stay overnight on a test run before sending a baby home. We were responsible for his care all night, but it was comforting knowing that a nurse was only steps away at all times if we needed her! Suddenly, we were home with this tiny life. It’s scary enough bringing home a full-term, healthy baby. But add to that a month of prematurity and breathing issues and it was downright scary. It took us some time to relax and trust that Jack was doing fine and breathing on his own without any trouble.
While the first few weeks with Jack were scary for us, we are very blessed that everything turned out fine and there have been no long-term problems. Not every family, can say that. Many families have babies that spend much more time in the NICU and have long-term complications to worry about. That is why the ParentLife team felt it was important to provide expectant parents with information related to this topic. We want to provide encouragement and support to families, especially those going through a difficult time.
How have your family helped support parents going through a difficut time like this? Or have you been in this kind of situation? Where did you find encouragement and support? What advice would you have for those wanting to help? How can ParentLife provide more support?