How confidence and closeness transformed my family’s NICU stay – ANA Continues to Speak Out Against Harmful Cuts to Health Care. – (866) 348-2889
My son Jackson was born 16 weeks premature. Weighing just 1 pound, 8 ounces, he was considered a micropreemie and would experience a long stay in the neonatal ICU.
In the hours and days that followed his birth, I felt empty and helpless. It was a feeling I never associated or expected with the birth of an infant.
As I became more familiar with the NICU, I still felt like a visitor, unable to contribute meaningfully to my son’s care. I couldn’t hold him or feed him or change his diaper. I was told that too much noise could be overstimulating, so I whispered prayers over him and told him that I knew he was a fighter. But it was hard to bond with my baby. I struggled to develop an emotional connection with a baby I couldn’t hug or feed.
It was about seven days before I was invited to change my son’s diaper. I was excited, nervous and scared because Jackson was still very small and his skin was delicate. I will always be grateful to the NICU nurse who patiently talked me through it — an ordinary task to her and parents of full-term newborns. In the time she spent with me for this one diaper change, she could have changed 10 diapers.