It seems crazy to me that Eli will be 6 months old Thursday! Last night we were looking at the hundreds of pictures that were taken of Eli when he was born. Needless to say, he has come a long way. Thanks to my high blood pressure he arrived about a month early so he was lucky enough to be a guest at the St. Joseph NICU. The nurses there were great! They do an excellent job of dealing with hormonal exhausted mothers.
I remember the day of my hormonal melt down like it was yesterday. Chris and I were waiting in line at the NICU waiting to enter for one of Eli's feedings. We had to line up in the hallway and when they were ready for the parents we all had to stop and wash our hands and then go see our babies. Up to this point Eli was progressing as expected--he was not a fan of eating and would much rather sleep than eat. But if he didn't eat a certain amount they would not let him go home. During our morning visit they said they had removed one of his cords so I'm feeling pretty good when we go to the next feeding. Until I see this bright orange cord taped to his face. The nurse told me it was "just a feeding tube" because he didn't drink all of his milk last time. I had heard enough. I couldn't talk. I just looked at her through my swollen, still puffy, eyes and cried. I couldn't stop. Once I started it went on and on.
Since that day my son has learned to eat quite well. He's almost hit the 20 pound mark and loves real food, like peas, squash, carrots, applesauce, and pears. He scoots all over the floor and never stays in one place long.
If you've ever had a friend or you have experienced the NICU of a hospital, I'm sorry. It sucks. It really does. There is no nice thing to say. I do suppose the nicest thing is it doesn't last. It seems life stands still in the NICU and you're never going to get out but once you do, hold on! It is going to be a fast and crazy ride!
Cary's Tips for NICU:
1. Stock up on tissue. Mom, you might not be crying at all but you never know when the water works will start.
2. Have some pre-packaged goodies for you and Dad. Especially, if you are nursing you need to eat so have some peanut butter and crackers, bottled water, etc available to munch on throughout the day.
3. Sleep when you can. Being hormonal is bad enough but hormonal and exhausted is a daily meltdown waiting to happen.
4. Take help. People will ask what they can do to help you. Tell them. They wouldn't be asking if they didn't want to help. It's okay to need people's help every once in awhile.
5. Know that you will survive. Know that God is there. I can't tell you how many times I read Psalm 139 before Eli was born but when he was in the NICU it took a different meaning.
I leave you with pictures of Eli in the NICU and Eli currently.