NICU Roller Coaster

Being NICU parents is the most difficult thing we have faced in our lives thus far.

Days and nights blur, sleep comes between alarms and pumping, and nutrition comes from fast food restaurants and vending machines. More challenging, obviously, is watching the little person you love so dearly fight to stay alive.

Hope is minimal in the NICU, especially for babies Garrin’s gestational age, and fear finds a way to creep in to even the most faithful of hearts.

The monitor that displays our son’s oxygen saturation is as engaging if not more so than a football game featuring your favorite team.

The lullaby played for each birth is a constant reminder of a birth plan gone wrong, and the sweet, innocent cries of other babies in the unit constantly tear at your heartstrings.

The word “congratulations” stings every single time. Granted, we brought a new life into the world, which is a miracle, but that life we prayed and hoped for is in jeopardy. That beautiful baby that did nothing wrong is being challenged to do things his body just shouldn’t have to do yet.

There are more faces and names than we can recall, each with a slightly different philosophy and approach to caring for our son. While these differences are sometimes worrying to already overwhelmed parents, the quality of care has been impeccable.

As time passes, Garrin’s very experienced nursing staff is encouraging us to get more involved with his care. As it stands, the majority of our bonding time with him consists of doing containment, checking his temperature, changing his diaper, and completing oral cares. While we are grateful for these interactions with our son, we yearn to hold him, to snuggle him close to us.

Regardless of the odds, I have to believe that day will come. In the last six days, Garrin has proven time and time again how strong he is. This little boy is a fighter. He has also shown that he is the boss. The nurse and I have decided that we will let him get all of his orneriness out of his system now.

While some days the challenges seem insurmountable, my husband and I are tying very hard to focus on the good things that come along. We are taking extra pleasure in our conversations with him and in each touch, even the diaper changes. Like Charles Spurgeon said, “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”

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