6 steps for preparing to be a NICU mom - Chocolate Glazed Life

6 steps for preparing to be a NICU mom

 NIcu moms series 6 steps to preparing for a premature baby NICU moms series

5 years ago today, I was on hospital bedrest, touring the NICU, and prepping for my preemie, while praying for more time. For many women having a premature baby is something that comes with no warning, no time to prepare at all. But for a lot of other woman who have been sitting on bed rest, or dealing with many different complications, they may know there is a good chance of having a Premature baby long before the big day. I was lucky enough to have a couple of days to prepare myself before my First baby was born at 29 weeks and 5 days. Now I want to pass along a few tips that you can use to prepare yourself, if you find yourself anxiously awaiting the the possibility of an early birth as well. Here are 6 things I was did or wish I had done in those last couple pregnancy days.

1. Tour the NICU your baby will be at– Ask your doctor to set up a tour of the hospital and NICU as soon as possible, I think it was THE most important thing I did. It was so comforting to know where I was sending my precious little bundle to. I was somewhat familiar with the equipment and the procedures in the NICU, so it was not a total shock to me to go there the first time. The nurses were so awesome and informative, they really alleviated a lot of the anxiety I was feeling knowing she could come at any day. It was also so comforting to know the faces of a couple of the NICU nurses that attended my birth.

2. Set clear guidelines with your partner about what you expect after birth: I knew that I just could not handle the thought of anyone else seeing my little dolly before I got a chance to really see her and meet her. I told my husband and family this before hand. That as long as she was stable, no one was allowed to go down to the NICU besides my husband, until I was able to be wheeled down there. I have talked to other NICU moms where everyone was able to see and hold their babies before them. And let me tell you, that is hard to get over. I was so glad that everyone knew going into it that they were going to have to wait. It was awkward making my mom and sisters wait, even though they were really understanding, but I am so glad I stuck to my guns. It was emotional enough without feeling like everyone knew my baby better than me. I know some moms prefer people to go see the baby, so choose whatever is right for you. But just remember you might not be physically or emotionally up to communicating your wishes after birth, so try to have a plan in place for whatever you wish!

3. Make sure you have plenty of comfortable postpartum wear. You will be walking up and down the hallways of the hospital a whole lot more than the average new mom. For this reason your will probably be more comfortable in something that covers your backside. Think loose yoga pants, robes, Nursing tanks, sweatshirts and slippers.

4. Find out the maximum amount of days in the hospital your insurance will cover for you: You will not want to leave the hospital and it is so much more comfortable to have your own room to go back to, to rest and pump. Milk that recovery room for as long as you can! I was able to get 5 days and I still cried the first day I had to go home. Also find out if your hospital offers sleep rooms for families, or if you are able to sleep in the babies room. I spent most nights of  Isabella’s 42 day NICU stay on hospital grounds. I had to be up every 2.5 hours to pump anyways so I would rather see my baby at the same time! My husband worked graveyard though, and I had no other kids, so I was lucky in that way, I had no reason to have to go home. But even if you have other kids and a husband, there may be nights that you just can’t bring yourself to leave.

5. Ask ALOT of questions: Do not be shy about asking questions of everyone. I am the type that likes as much information as possible. So because I Was stuck on hospital bed rest anyways I talked to NICU doctors, nurses, my doctor, the social worker, anyone who would help me know what to expect. They are all so willing to help to prepare you for the coming journey. Please do not google, just ask the experts!

6. Find your support system: Find someone who you can be totally honest about your fears and frustrations with. Who speaks your language and knows the best things to say to you. Warn them they may be dealing with a lot of venting, or crying sessions in the near future. Ask my sisters and soster in laws, they talked me down quite a few times! Also try to find other NICU moms to talk to! I was so blessed to have a few NICU moms in my life who really understood the emotional side of the extended stay. If you don’t know any, go online to NICU message boards, or most NICUs have a support group and can put you in touch with someone.

I know that this journey can feel so overwhelming, but I know for me it helped to take a few steps to prepare myself, so that I felt like I was doing something besides just waiting for the shoe to drop. Try to spend your days in prayer and preparation instead of that aimless anxiety, that is always waiting to take over. And if I can be of any help with prayers or support, please reach out. Don’t take this journey alone!

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