Any parent will tell you that having a child in the NICU is hard. Our situation was difficult because we had one child home and one still in the NICU. We could not take our home baby to the hospital with us because of flu and RSV season. It was a rough time, but you fight through it and work everything out so you can breathe a little bit more each day.
One giant obstacle is getting rid of guilt. Every time we tried to do anything while having a child in the NICU, we felt guilt immediately. We always felt like we should have been spending that time with our child. Even if we couldn’t do anything for her, we should be sitting with her, reading to her, or taking pictures or videos.
As our time in the NICU got extended and then extended again (almost 365 days by the time we had both girls home), we found little ways to help pass the days and ease that guilt that we were feeling. Here are some of those things you can do:
Make friends with your NICU neighbors
A lot of times parents in the NICU keep to themselves; however, when Kendall was going through surgeries, we chatted and made friends with the other parents. It made us all feel a little normal. We got to talk about our kids and show one another we cared.
Decorate your child’s room
Since your child isn’t going to be home for a while, then make it feel like home to them. Make it feel like they are in their own room at home. Decorate baby’s room or bedside area with pictures of friends and family so they are always seeing familiar faces from home.
Start a blog
When my girls were in the NICU, I got tired of answering the same questions over and over. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that family and friends were interested in how the girls were doing; however, when your child is very sick and you aren’t sure if they are going to make it or no,t you tend to get a little cranky when the same questions are asked over and over again.
Instead of answering those questions for everyone, I decided to start a blog and lay it out. I answered the questions most people were asking and shared pictures of the girls. It was my way to update everyone quickly and easily.
Organize a game night or craft night for your NICU parent friends
I wish we would have made more friends while we were in the NICU. If I had, I would have organized a game night or taco night, something where we could all be together and for a minute forget that our kids were sick.
Do something nice for the NICU
Often in the NICU we are left with our thoughts and our minds can’t turn off. Instead of driving yourself crazy thinking about what could happen or what should have happened, focus those thoughts on doing something positive for others. Knit hats for all the NICU babies or make cards for each family.
Some time passes slowly in the NICU; some speeds by. It’s okay to do something to distract yourself. The more you take care of you, the more you can be there for your baby.