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5 Tips for Surviving the Holidays in the NICU

IMG_1425Holidays are the best time of the year.  Spending time with family and everyone gathered together and just having a good time.  But what happens when the holidays get turned upside down and you wind up in the hospital with a little one?

Kendall’s NICU journey was rather intense; however, that was not the end of it.  Kendall received synagis shots until she was two, which is the cutoff, and every year since she has spent a week in the hospital because she has gotten RSV (I truly HATE that virus by the way).

This past year, Kendall was placed in the hospital right before Christmas.  This time the virus seemed to hit her a lot harder and it took a little while longer to recoup.  We were hoping to be home for the holidays, but RSV had other plans.  We realized we would be spending the holidays in the NICU and had to figure out how to make the most of it.

IMG_1433Matt and I have several family gatherings, but they seem to be spread out in the perfect amount so that we could take turns at the hospital and going to our own family gatherings to be with our families.  We decided to make the most of it and not dwell on Kendall being in the hospital.  We would FaceTime with each gathering and got to talk to and see everyone.  Who doesn’t love technology now-a-days?

The hardest part for Matt and I was Christmas morning.  We didn’t want either girl to miss out on Christmas morning, so we had my parents bring up all Kendall’s gifts so that when she woke up on Christmas morning, she would still have her presents from Santa there and that way Brooke would still get hers as well.  Matt and Brooke came up to the hospital about mid-afternoon so we could spend a few hours together as a family, and then Brooke and I went home to celebrate with my family.

Although, I wouldn’t wish spending the holidays in the hospital on anyone, I think it’s important to make the most of your situation.  There are so many things that can go wrong, but you just have to put on that ‘strong’ hat and push through.  Did I want to be away from my family on Christmas? Of course not; however, Kendall needed to be in the hospital so we made the most of the situation and everyone still enjoyed Christmas.

My tips for spending the holidays in the hospital:

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  1. Make the most of the situation. Find ways to enjoy your current circumstances. Decorate the room, play Christmas music, open presents still, etc.
  2. Take a break. As I mentioned, we took turns at the hospital and with our own families.  Even though you want to spend every minute with your child, we all need a break.  TAKE IT!
  3. Don’t dwell. It will get better and things will start to look up, so just stay positive.
  4. Soak it up. Enjoy the time you are getting with your child; eventually they will get older and you won’t get those sweet moments of them wanting to be held by you.
  5. Learn from your time in the hospital. Figure out how or why this could have happened and try to prevent it for the next year. And while you can’t always prevent your child getting sick, you can learn what works and what doesn’t.

Have you ever experienced a hospital stay during the holidays? Would you add any tips to this list?

Melissa McMurchy About Melissa McMurchy

Melissa McMurchy (OH) is the mother of twin daughters, Brooklynn and Kendall, born three months early, weighing 1.4 and 2.7 pounds. Brooklynn coasted through all milestones and is currently only behind in speech. Kendall, with an eleven-month hospital stay, is a bit spunkier with three broken bones, multiple blood transfusions and six surgeries under her belt. The journey has been long, but the lessons many. Melissa is a lover of sports, the smell of rain and miracles. You can follow her on Twitter or on her personal blog, Two Miracles.

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