In 13 days we’ll “celebrate” world prematurity day. I quote the word celebrate, because I still don’t know if it’s a celebration. Such days shouldn’t be a thing, because no baby should have to be in a warm plastic box, babies should be in their mummy’s bellies and come out whenever they’re ready, but for some babies, like Mila it’s just not like that. For some parents the first weeks (months or even years) of their baby’s life aren’t full of sleepless nights because the baby is crying, trust me, we would take the sleepless nights over not having our babies home with us. There’s no mountain of baby clothes full of puke that has to be washed, just clothes that are too big and empty cribs. We don’t get visits from family and friends who eagerly want to carry the baby, we are the ones who visit the baby in the hospital every day. We don’t have to hurry taking showers, because sadly we have time, since visiting hours start at 10.
Being a NICU mom is hard, it’s not something that stops once your baby leaves the NICU, it something that stays with you. The nicu is a place where you have to be your strongest, even while going through the toughest and hardest moments.
The fear that you experience every single day consumes you. Not only did I had to go home alone, to an empty nursery, but I had to leave my baby there, in the same hospital where the doctors had failed us, how was I supposed to be ok, not knowing if my daughter was fine.
Eventually after 6 weeks of having an empty crib next to me, it was time to take Mila home. I thought at the time we were going to be able to leave the NICU behind, but it wasn’t like that. That place is still very much present in our lives, all it takes is the smell of sterilizer, an ambulance siren, or Mila’s newborn pictures, and I’m back there.
Days like today are hard, days like today bring back the trauma, the tears, I can physically feel the pain on my C-section scar. The PTSD won’t let me sleep and causes me nightmares.
But I found a solution, I bring my now 3 year old to bed with me, and I look at her, and it calms me down, it helps me realize that we are home, we are together. This kind of “celebrations” bring so much anxiety, but also healing, I get to “celebrate” with other NICU moms and see our kids being fine.