My husband, Christopher, and I were elated when we discovered that we were expecting. Every doctor’s appointment showed that everything was progressing as expected,
…but on Mother’s Day, I was in an ambulance on the way from WakeMed Cary to WakeMed in Raleigh with the certainty that this child that we had hoped and prayed for may not make it into the world.
Five days later, our beautiful baby girl, Malia, was born at 1lb, 13 oz, and our extended stay at the WakeMed NICU began.
What do you do when you have a 24-week-old baby?
I spent a lot of quality time in my daughter’s room – learning everything about her and what challenges we may or may not face upon her eventual discharge. It seemed that she had so far to go (impossibly far to go, in my opinion), but she knew what she was doing. She refused to gain weight for the first month, but once she “figured it out,” all we had to do was wait for her to grow.
Waiting was so difficult, but I was able to learn so much about my daughter, and I received a ton of support from the amazing NICU staff.
I was lucky enough to be present for daily rounds, and doctors, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, developmental folks, and the nurses all listened to my concerns and answered all of my questions patiently and thoroughly. I would read things online and ask questions about that information, ensuring that I knew the best, most up-to-date information about our stay and about my daughter, specifically.
Finding Love & Support During Our NICU Stay
I don’t think our stay in the NICU would’ve been nearly as pleasant had I not been able to form those relationships with the NICU staff and with other parents through Parent Time Together, other parent lunches and activities, and even the parent Facebook group.
I needed to have that support, and I highly recommend that other parents take advantage of the other parents who have “been there, done that.”
I think the NICU staff – particularly the nurses – have a difficult and sometimes thankless job, but they are the reason that after 102 days in the NICU, and at 7lbs, we were able to bring our daughter home.
Months later, Malia is thriving, and sometimes it’s hard to tell that she was as small and fragile as she once was. I hold my baby every day, and I am so thankful to the WakeMed NICU staff that made this possible.
Interested in sharing your WakeMed NICU story? Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn additional information about our neonatal intensive care services, and schedule a free tour at the hospital location most conveniently located near you.