Being a NICU nurse has been such a rewarding yet eye opening experience to me. Taking care of critical babies when they are most vulnerable, seeing them get stronger and eventually graduating the NICU to go home, has to be the best part. Some babies aren’t so lucky and never make it home. As a NICU nurse, you have to be prepared for the worst and pray for the best. I mean, I have seen it all. I have had 1lb babies on ventilators that were breathing for them, tubes going in and out of their body, that end up thriving and go home with no health problems. Other times, I have had 8lb babies not do so well. When I would walk through those double doors, I never knew what my day would be like.
As a NICU nurse there are many roles to your job. You’re a baby saver, advocate, tear wiper, pee/poop/throw up cleaner, baby hugger when the parents go home to rest, teacher to the parents, support person, and the list goes on.
Never in a million years would I ever imagine my roles would switch from being a NICU nurse to becoming a NICU mom. After finding out I was pregnant with triplets and was told that they would take the babies at 34 weeks(37 weeks is considered full term for a baby), I already knew the babies would end up in NICU just from my experience. I don’t think anything or anyone could prepare me for my NICU journey.
August 15, 2018 I delivered my triplets at 33 weeks, one week shy of my 34 week goal. The operating room was full with Neonatologists NICU nurses, Respiratory Therapists, and other important people waiting to receive my babies while my OB performed my C-Section. I don’t remember much of anything before and during my surgery. That evening after I was stable, I was rolled in my hospital bed into the NICU, and I was finally able to see my babies. For the first time ever, I was on the other side of the fence. I WAS NOW A NICU MOM.
How would I switch roles from being a NICU nurse to a NICU mom? How would I take the backseat now while the nurses take care of my babies? This was not going to be an easy transition. I knew too much! As positive as I tried to be, I couldn’t help but think of all the “what if’s” that could happen. Jewel “Baby A” weighed 3lbs 2 oz, Jhem “Baby B” weighed 3lbs 3oz, and Jhené “Baby C” was 4lbs. All 3 babies were on CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). This machine applies continuous pressure which helps to keep the airway open for people who can’t breathe spontaneously on their own. I see babies on these machines all the time, but seeing my babies on it just broke me down. They were helpless and I couldn’t help them.
I found myself asking the nurses the same questions that parents would ask me everyday that I knew the answers to, but I needed some reassurance that my babies would be ok. All the alarms started to scare me, and I don’t know why but I was afraid to hold my own babies. I would get so offended when the doctors spoke to me with medical terminology because they knew I was a nurse. They failed to realize my nursing brain went straight out the window and I was in complete mommy mode. I felt so lost and this was my profession. Is this what NICU moms feel like??
The triplets stayed in the NICU for one month. The longest month of my life. The hospital has courtesy rooms for moms that had babies in the NICU, so I was able to sleep there for a few nights at a time instead of having my husband drive me back and forth everyday. It was draining especially since we had 2 older kids in school and they needed some attention as well. It was so convenient for me to be right next to my babies. I would wake up every 2-3 hours to help the nurses with touch time with the babies which consisted of, taking their temperatures, changing their diapers, feeding them and limited time to cuddle. After that they would have to go back in their little incubators to help keep them warm until they were able to maintain their own temperature. Imagine me doing this for not one, but three babies.
Being a NICU mommi gave me a different perspective. I don’t think anyone could ever imagine or prepare you for what it’s like being a NICU mom until you have experienced being one yourself.
Being a NICU mommi gave me a different perspective. I don’t think anyone could ever imagine or prepare you for what it’s like being a NICU mom until you are one yourself.
Have you ever been a NICU mom? What was your experience like?
Until next time