It's hard to believe Nic has been home for almost two months. When he was born back in February, his birth was such a shock and it seemed hard to image we'd ever get him out of his isolette, let alone into our home. He's doing great, but the scars on us as parents still remain.
As a mom, I had to learn to celebrate the fact that he was alive and had a fighting chance, but then also grieve the loss of my last trimester of pregnancy and the magical birth and bonding experience I thought Nic and I would have the day he arrived. I wasn't able to see him until the day after his birth, and it was more than a few weeks before Jeff and I could hold him. I worried that he might never bond with us or feel the secure feeling of being with his parents that most babies seem to instantly have when they enter the world. For a long time I clung to the idea that breastfeeding would be the thing that would bring us together and instantly bond us as mother and child. But, after three months of pumping and freezing breast milk, Nic was still only able to take small amounts by NG tube and medical complications forced me to stop pumping. I was crushed. We'd survived heart murmur surgery for him all the ups and downs with oxygen, apnea and bradycardias, and yet it still seemed we had so far to go. But, Nic was getting better and we'd already given him a great start. Jeff was so supportive of the pumping and transporting of milk to the NICU, and even hauled home a giant freezer for us to store the supply. Nic also began to know our voices and seemed soothed being held by us at the NICU. I started to think that things were going to be OK. I ultimately did seek the help of the therapist and medication to help me through my fears about being a good preemie parent, but now can say that Jeff and I have accomplished so much. My getting help was the right thing to do for both Jeff and Nic.
We are rewarded with the smiles we get from Nic when he wakes up in a bassinet next to our bed. We still have so many worries for Nic's future and still are making the rounds to many specialists, but are hopeful that things are going to go relatively smoothly for Nic for all he's been through. For any preemie parent who is overwhelmed by the tasks that lie ahead, or even just daunted by getting out of bed to go to the NICU another day, please know that things will get better and help is available.