We are so fortunate here in Pensacola to have the area’s only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) close at hand. No matter where you plan to deliver, if you go into labor prematurely, you will be sent to Sacred Heart to deliver so that NICU staff can be present to asses your infant and provide life sustaining and emergency care immediately and until your baby is strong enough to go home.
While it is incredible that we have this facility and technology available, being separated from your justborn baby is an enormous challenge, both physically and emotionally. And not just for you, but for your entire family. Visitors have to be 13 year of age, so if you have younger children, they may not even get to meet baby until he is discharged.
Premature babies need to be held, fed, and loved. The more of that they have the better for their recovery. As a recovering patient yourself (possibly with other children at home to care for), it can be difficult for you to meet all of those needs, NICU nurses do their fair share of holding and loving on their patients, but they can’t do it all and encourage you to send friends and family to provide comfort care.
Higher order births always carry a higher risk of premature delivery early and NICU time. Maverick + Leo here were born at 29 weeks and actually have a set of twin big brothers who were born at 28 weeks! Their mama was sick and unable to visit them in the NICU, so one day while I was at the hospital for some marketing, I took an hour to hang out and help their grandma (a long time family friend/second mom to me) love on them.
Of course, I also took my camera. Because I truly believe that even these hard and less than pretty moments are important to our story and worth capturing well. Take every opportunity mama. No matter how raw, how less than ideal. Babies change fast and you will want to remember everything, not just the perfect, happy times.
I loved getting to hang out with these boys and their grandma and was lucky enough to have another visitor offer to take my picture. Always such a treat for me.
Did you have or have you visited babies in the NICU? Tell me about your experience below.