Neonatal Life – 5 Emotions that are Natural to Feel when your Baby is in NICU

Welcome to the first post in my NICU Life series. Little Lady spent 9 weeks in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). I wanted to read about other Mum’s experiences; I wanted to know if how I was feeling about it all was normal so I thought it only right that I shared my experiences of it too. Little Lady was born one hour into my 29th week of pregnancy weighing just over 3lbs, you can read about why she was born early here. Our 9 week NICU journey was the hardest one of my life so far. There are more steps back than there are steps forward until that corner is turned. It is hard there is no getting away from that but that little bundle is more than worth it.

In this post I want to talk about emotions and how the array of mostly negative emotions are normal to feel. I spent days sat by Little Lady’s incubator and chatted to lots of other parents and believe me we all felt these emotions at one point another. Here are 5 emotions that are totally natural to feel if your baby is in NICU.

Fear – The first time I walked down the corridor to meet my baby girl in NICU was one of the most terrifying experiences. I had seen a photo of her but I had no idea what to expect. I was heartbroken from losing her sister and the fear of losing her too was overwhelming. The fear doesn’t ever really leave. Every day when I visited I wondered what would be waiting for me that day. What the Dr’s update would be. Had she stopped breathing again? Had she put weight on? The fear is intense but it is normal.

Jealousy – Until I really got to grips with life in NICU I was incredibly jealous of the nurses. This was especially at the beginning when I couldn’t be as hands on as she was delicate and vulnerable. The nurses are amazing in NICU; they treat your baby like their own and when you can’t be there twenty four seven that is exactly what you want for your baby. However it doesn’t stop you feeling jealous. Jealous that they get to change your babies nappy, they get to feed her, pick her up. That is normal and once the baby gets a little stronger parents become more involved. I did start to feel like her Mummy but it was hard knowing that at that point the nurses knew my baby better than me.

Anger – I spent the first few weeks very angry. Why me?! I was angry at the situation. I was angry that I had been pregnant with twins a few weeks before and now I had neither of them at home with me. I was angry that I couldn’t just scoop my baby girl out of her incubator and give her a cuddle, that I had to ask first. Anger is very normal and it does subside.

Helplessness – I sat next to Little Lady’s incubator for 20 minutes the first time I saw her and then I had to leave. It broke my heart. I couldn’t do anything to help her, to make her better. I couldn’t cuddle her when she cried and I couldn’t help her when she stopped breathing. I couldn’t follow my instinct and take it all away from her. I couldn’t control it and I felt helpless.

Blame – Whatever the reason your baby is in NICU I think it is totally natural to blame yourself. People will tell you time and time again that it wasn’t your fault. People told me over and over but it didn’t mean that I didn’t blame myself for what had happened to my girls. But the bottom line is it isn’t your fault and in time that acceptance will come. I’m still waiting for mine.

I hope this helps anyone who is going through NICU at the moment. Look out for more NICU Life posts coming soon.

More in this series:

A Letter to a New Neonatal Mum

Survival Kit for Daily Hospital Visits

 

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3 Comments

  1. Claire
    April 14, 2017 / 7:28 pm

    I had had my LG 5 weeks early, and she wa subsequently delivered by emergency C-section. I can relate to so much in your post about NICU.
    We were incredibly lucky as LG was discharged this morning just in time for Easter. We were in for just under 2 weeks /13 nights. But having been admitted myself to the post natal ward as soon as she was born, I found it incredibly tough to be completely out of control of the situation.
    The amazing staff on NICU made me and my partner both relax, and kept us updated every step of the way. As first time parents we have A LOT to learn, but feel like we have been given a helping start!!
    Sending positive thoughts to all those going through this tough time, now and in the future. x x

  2. April 14, 2017 / 8:14 pm

    Sending love and hugs!
    I know it’s not the same but both my girls spent time in PICU after heart surgery and I felt a lot of these things….
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  3. April 23, 2017 / 3:17 pm

    I can only imagine how hard this must be to have gone through, I’m just so happy for you that you have her home where she belongs. Though I now how mixed your emotions must have been only bringing one baby home eventually … life is so cruel sometimes, all of your children were very lucky to have such a wonderful Mum though xx

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