This Girl

So I’ve been away a long while, and I’m sorry for that. Baby O was in the NICU for 5 weeks, growing and being adorable. It was really Imagetough—- I was still recovering from my pregnancy induced disease (that in April should be completely gone!), surgery, and finally coming back home. Then I went through the whirlwind adventure that is having a baby in the NICU while still getting other stuff done like doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, phone calls (this may not seem like much but it is!) and learning to navigate by bus during the annoying Christmas market. Don’t get me wrong, I love a Christmas market but this year it was cramping my style while trying to get to O- the hospital is directly on the other side of the market as our house, of course.

So while I did other mommy duties, I was visiting the hospital 5 hours or more a day, usually kangarooing- or, letting her sleep on me, skin-to-skin, for most of those 5 hours. The moment I was able to see her, after my first day in the ICU, I was… scared. I want to say I fell in love, I mean of course I loved her, but it was hard to even see her. She was covered in tubes, a mask, and cords everywhere. I wasn’t even allowed to touch her for a day or two. When the lovely NICU nurse asked if I wanted to kangaroo, I said yes, and THAT was the life changing moment. Now, these are the universal truths of the NICU; when you go in, you must wash your hands, sanitize and let air dry. Then you approach your baby, try to avoid looking at anyone else or any other babies. Why? Because it’s rude. I’m a firm believer in privacy, especially because every visit for the first two weeks resulted in me crying like a helpless fool. NICU nurses are trained to be caring, nice, competent and understanding <— these are the people who restore your faith in everything being alright. No news is good news. Good news is AWESOME news. And when they ask if you want to do something with your baby whether it’s cleaning her mouth, changing her diaper, burping her or kangarooing, ALWAYS say yes. The little things make the biggest difference.

I could write a whole long post about all of this, I really could. But I’m distracted. I asked every nurse, every doctor for 5 weeks if my daughter would be home before Christmas. Before week 4, no one said yes. They said it could happen but it wasn’t likely. By week 4, it was pretty much agreed that all she had to do was go 7 days without any bradys, or moments where she’d stop breathing. I was approached by a nurse one night and asked if I wanted to sleep at the hospital for a few nights before taking her home. I said- wait-what? She can come home? YES!! I spent two nights at the hospital with her and then she came home. Just like that. On December 13th— she was born November 10th and her due date wasn’t until December 31st. Everyone was surprised- but then she progressed like a pro in the NICU.

Now I’ve been busy at home. I’ve left the house maybe 7 times since then. She’s still really small, which everyone tells me- I mean people in grocery stores, nurses, doctors, family, friends, little kids on the S-Bahn, assistants in the baby stuff stores. If any of you has had a preemie, you would know (as we learned) that they are smaller than you can imagine and that her age is adjusted until she is 2 years-old because, as our nurse says, after her expected due date is when we can start measuring up to developmental milestones and eating proportions and blah blah. So when someone sees me in the grocery store and asks how old she is, I really have no idea how to answer and not only because of my poor German skills. But I digress, I won’t write a novel.

She’s home. She’s happy, if not a bit colicky, she’s strong and growing, she’s a cuddlebug and she was worth everything. She is absolutely the world to me, and I am thankful everyday that I had such a great outcome given the severity of my situation during the last month before her birth. Here’s Baby O, the other love of our lives. Thanks for reading, thanks for the comments, the support, the kind wishes—- and I will try to get on here more!

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15 thoughts on “This Girl

  1. Congrats that things turned out to be fine in the end.

    If I may I comment on this: “Then you approach your baby, try to avoid looking at anyone else or any other babies. Why? Because it’s rude.”

    I realized that in the Anglosaxon world this might be so. However, in German culture it is not. On the contrary, you are expected to make eye contact. While Anglosaxons tend to perceive that as staring, failing to do so might well be perceived as weird or even rude. Not only in ICUs.

    1. Thanks for the comment Peter. I’m quite certain you would be correct in every other circumstance but the high risk NICU. While you should always say hello when you enter, that is the only extent of your contact– most parents in there are dealing with some pretty difficult situations and decisions to make. It can be a somewhat saddening place for parents; all those babies behind glass boxes and tubes, and recovering from either birth, or surgery.
      The NICU nurses also discouraged parents from looking at babies that were not their own in there too. So I’m not generalizing. Perhaps I should have clarified that you should always say hello but then give each other privacy thereafter.
      Thanks again!

  2. She is so beautiful! Congratulations, and I’m so glad you guys made it through that ordeal. My youngest nephew was in the NICU for a couple of weeks after he was born, and it was really hard to visit him there. I was scared to look at the other babies because I was afraid I would start bawling.

    1. Sorry it took so long to reply! I spent most of my time in the NICU putting on a positive face, but I did cry a lot. So did the other parents. That place is tough. Thank you Diana!

  3. Oh I’ve been thinking about you guys and wondering how you were all doing! So glad to see this post and hear all is well. She’s just beautiful! Congratulations! Hope you enjoyed her first Christmas and new year!

    1. Thank you! It’s been tough to respond and get back into the world following this ordeal, but I’m back and I’m trying to catch up. She did enjoy her Christmas home, and we’re so happy every day that she’s with us.

  4. I love this post. I’m so happy for your little family and the joy you are getting to experience!

    1. I also wanted to let you know that I am currently in a long distance relationship with a GMan and your posts have helped me through some of the tough parts of being apart and really fortified my decision to move to him 🙂
      So happy for you that everything is good with the little munchkin!

      1. Yay for Germans!! I firmly believe love is worth going the distance. I wish you the best too, and thanks for your comments! I’m always around if you need anything, aliedow@gmail.com! Good luck!

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