One of the many stresses of being a NICU Dad is finding time.
In the effort to be an ever present parent in your newborn's journey you find yourself at the hospital more often than not.
You work full time and rush to the hospital to get your time in.
No matter how long you stay you feel guilty for leaving.
In the instances where baby is very premature, in an incubator, receiving phototherapy and extreme low birthweight, like mine, guilt is coupled with anxiety, worry and a host of other emotions the first couple months.
This makes you stay even longer despite not being able to do much to improve their situation.
Everything but the baby turns to a state of neglect.
You put your own emotions aside for the betterment of your new mother's mental well being.
You have to constantly remind yourself of the mental roller coaster of feelings, mostly negative, when it comes post partum NICU moms.
You take the lead in all things to ensure she isnt even moreso overwhelmed by it all.
You may get acknowledged for your efforts, but that may take time.
Give it time, be understanding, have insight.
With all the uncertainty surrounding the baby family and friends in the know constantly try to show support.
Many times this culminates into answering the same questions and relaying the same information over and over.
How's the baby doing? Any news on when they will be home? What's the next step?
It's hard to find the time.
You feel bad if you send a generic message.
A major issue of time when you have a premie of 2 months or more, which we definitely experienced, is setting up the nursery!
Most baby showers occur when the baby is about a month or 2 from due date.
The parents to be have been planning and building furniture in the nursery and getting everything in place save for the baby shower party goodies in a normal pregnancy cycle.
This was not our experience. Especially during COVID restrictions.
We used Babylist.com
It's a great way to consolidate all your different registry items into one place for friends and family to browse and decide. (Even has price comparison when items show up in multiple locations!)
What happened though, was that we would receive items in the mail little by little and add it to the pile of boxes because we had to get to the hospital.
While in that NICU cycle the items we received amassed into this seriously unmanageable mountain.
Because of COVID there are serious restrictions on who could go to the hospital.
After a bit of convincing from my wife they allowed me to relinquish my rights to entry and transferred to my mother in law.
We were the first family in the hospital since COVID visitation restrictions were put in place to have such a transfer.
Every day for 2 weeks when I got home from work I would take a moment to gather my self up, get a game plan and execute it for about 4 hours.
It's still not done and I'm back in my rotation at the hospital. Our baby Lily is doing so well she may be home in the next 5 days.
You can only prep so much for the unexpected. But if I were to give any new expectant parent advice... I'd say to not bide your time. Do everything as early as you feasibly can. Because life has impeccable and unconditional timing, and, the more you get done now the less piled on you'll feel when the unexpected happens.
I love my lil Lily Vanilly and wife to death, I just wish I had more time.
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