It’s a familiar place for the select few; a quiet atmosphere mixed with the hustle and bustle of doctors and nurses. It’s a place not for the faint of heart, where parents become stronger than they could ever imagine. It’s a place where happiness can turn into heartache in a matter of seconds, and where those tears of sadness can transform back into joy within minutes. For the families who experience the neonatal intensive care unit, a roller coaster of emotions is a guarantee. It’s a place I remember vividly, as my family called the NICU “home” for nearly four months.

12 Signs That You're A NICU Parent   www.herviewfromhome.comIt only takes one breath to bring back the memories of my experience as a Nicu parent. The distinct smell of the hospital will always stay with me, and the alarms and beeps of the machines bring back a rush of adrenaline and fear. In 2013, I gave birth to triplets more than 17 weeks premature. My first-born never made it to the Nicu; she passed away in our arms in the hospital delivery room. Her brother and sister were whisked away to the Nicu. At 22 weeks 6 days, they were the youngest babies our hospital was treating. Our son never experienced life outside the hospital walls; he passed away just shy of two months old. Our lone surviving triplet spent 116 days in the Nicu. She’s now a healthy 3-year-old, a perfect testament to overcoming the toughest obstacles. The NICU will always hold a special place in our hearts and that holds true for so many other families. Here are 12 signs that you are a NICU parent:

You measure your child’s weight in grams, not pounds

You keep a conversion chart handy or download an app. You cry tears of joy when your child reaches that 2000 gram mark (over 4 pounds).

You know so many medical terms, strangers assume you’re a medical student

TPN, CPAP, NG are more than just initials. When a doctor explains your baby’s latest setback, you begin feverishly researching. You even consider becoming a nurse after spending so much time getting to know your baby’s conditions. 

“Do you want to hold your child?” takes on a whole new meaning

It may be days or weeks after birth when you first hold your child. Your heart feels like it may burst with love as your baby melts onto your chest for that first “Kangaroo Care” experience.

When you see a syringe, you think it’s for feeding

Food is measured in CC’s for the littlest babies. You jump for joy when the measurements change over to ounces.

Your child’s first clothing comes from a doll

Too small to fit into preemie clothing, you find that Build-A-Bear makes adorable outfits that can be used for more than just stuffed animals.

You see a full term baby and he looks like a giant

5lbs seems large, but a typical 7-8 pound healthy baby? Woah! Are you sure he is a newborn???

You time your breast-pumping schedule around the NICU in order to use hospital grade pumps

Sure, I have a breast-pump at home, but you can get 5 ounces more by using the powerful pumps in the NICU. Plus, the pumping room provides hours of entertainment and hospital gossip!

You cringe when you pass a pregnant women complaining about her third trimester

You would give anything to make it to 32 weeks. For micro-preemie parents, the thought of even making it to your third trimester would be a dream come true.

Your car is on autopilot—you could drive the hospital route in your sleep

Even after leaving the Nicu, you drive half way to the hospital before realizing your child is home and you actually meant to drive to the grocery store. 

You buy hand sanitizer in bulk when you hear your child will be coming home soon

You place giant containers of hand sanitizer at the front door, in the nursery, living room, kitchen and every other room of the house. You also have a box of surgical masks on hand in case you feel a cold coming on.

Your child wears newborn size diapers for six months

Friends start giving you their boxes of diapers that their newborn baby never used. You celebrate when your child finally gets to wear size 1 diapers.

You believe in miracles

Every child is a miracle, but experiencing the NICU gives you a new appreciation for all babies. Your child beat the odds and has proven that the smallest babies can put up the biggest fight. 

 

You may also like:  Confessions of a NICU Mum

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Stacey Skrysak

Stacey Skrysak is a local television news anchor in Illinois, but her proudest role is becoming a mom after years of infertility. Stacey is mother to a 22-weeker surviving triplet and two angels. Even though two of her children were only alive for a short time, her triplets have touched thousands of people around the world. Through her blog, Stacey has become a voice for infertility, premature birth and child loss. These days, she sprinkles in the trials and tribulations of raising a daughter, who was once nicknamed “The Diva of the Nicu.”

God Gave Him Bigger Feelings

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy on playground, color photo

He came home from school last week and asked, “Why do I get so angry but my friends never do? Why am I not the same?” And it broke me. Because he is passionate and intelligent and kind and intuitive and beautiful. He didn’t always seem different. We never paid attention to how he would line everything up in play. And we would laugh it off as a quirk when he would organize everything dependent upon shape, size, and color. He was stubborn, sure, but so am I. And then COVID happened, and we attributed the lack of social skills...

Keep Reading

We Have a Big Family and Wouldn’t Change a Thing

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four children in front of Christmas tree, color photo

I have just had my fourth baby. A baby who wasn’t expected but very much wanted and very much loved from the moment we found out. When we told people we were expecting, the response was underwhelming. The stream of intrusive questions would then ensue:  You already have your hands full, how will you cope with four? You’ll need a bigger car! Where will they all sleep? Don’t you own a TV? You know how babies are made right? People seemed to have such a strong opinion about me having a fourth child. RELATED: We Had a Lot of Kids...

Keep Reading

As a Mom I’m Far From Perfect, But I Hope You Remember the Joy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Happy mother and daughter on the beach

Sometimes, I think about the future when you are grown and I am gone. When all that’s left of me are photographs and memories. I know what the photographs will show. I took most of them, after all. But the memories I’m less sure of. I wonder what will stick with you after all that time. How will you remember me? One day, your grandkids will ask you about me. What will you say? Will you tell them I was always distracted? Will you remember that I looked at my phone too much? Will you tell them I didn’t play...

Keep Reading

Being a Daycare Mom Can Be So Hard

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Woman holding boy on couch, black-and-white photo

Dear daycare mom,  I know it’s hard.  To get yourself up before them, to make lunches, to pack the bags, to get yourself ready.  To go into their rooms, where they are peacefully sleeping, and turn the lights on.  To struggle to get them breakfast, get them dressed, and get them out the door.  I know it’s hard.  To have a morning rush when all you want to do is snuggle up on the couch and ease into your day.  RELATED: When a Mom is Late To Work To feel like you are missing out on their childhood at times...

Keep Reading

The PB&J that Saved the Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Table with three plates of PB&J sandwiches, color photo

It was one of those days.  One of those days when your pants are too tight, you wake up with a headache, and the kids’ rooms are disasters at 8 a.m. It was one of those days when I had to physically go into Target for our groceries since I didn’t have time to wait for pickup—I think that alone should sum up exactly the kind of day it was.  The kids were hangry. The toddler was, well, toddler-y. RELATED: Toddlers Are Human Too—And Sometimes They Just Need Grace Two minutes into our shopping trip, she had kicked her light-up rain...

Keep Reading

One Day He’ll Love Another Woman More than He Loves Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, color photo

To Benjamin, my 16-month-old son, I am everything. I am the first person that boy looks for when he wakes up in the morning and the last person he wants before he goes to bed. If he is in a room full of people he loves and I am not there, he will search for me.  If he has a problem, mommy is the solution. I am the answer to his cries. I feel confident in saying that I am the most important person in that little boy’s little world. I love it. It is an honor and a privilege...

Keep Reading

To My Sister, Thank You For Being the Best Aunt To My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood
Aunt with three young kids

“Do you have the kids’ basketball schedule yet?” you texted the other day. I sent back a screenshot of the calendar, and within an hour you responded telling me which game you’d be coming to. It was a simple exchange, but I was overwhelmed with gratitude for your love for my kids in that moment. It’s something I think often but don’t say nearly enough: thank you for being such an amazing aunt. Truly.  I know it’s not always convenient. You live three hours away and have a busy, full life of your own—but still, you show up for your niece and nephews...

Keep Reading

In Defense of the Stubborn Child

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy hanging over dock, color photo

“Lamp. Lamp. Laaaaamp,” my 2-year-old son screamed while stomping his feet. Tears were running down his face and snot was dripping dangerously close to his mouth. I put on what I hoped would be a soothing, motherly tone, “Okay, just calm down.” While trying to maintain eye contact, I slowly reached toward the tissue box. This must be what the greats like Jeff Corwin, Steve Irwin, or the Kratt brothers feel like when facing a volatile animal in the wild. The sound of a tissue being pulled from the box caused the crying to stop abruptly. His eyes flitted toward...

Keep Reading

Dear Stepdaughter, You Aren’t “Mine” but I Love You as My Own

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hug

First off, I love you. I wasn’t there the day you were born or when you got your first tooth. I wasn’t there when you took your first steps or learned to pee in the potty. But, I have loved you since the day we met, and I’ve been there for every moment since. I’ve given you baths and eventually, taught you how to shower on your own. I’ve brushed your hair, clipped your nails, and taken care of you when you’re sick. I’ve tucked you into bed and kissed you goodnight, held you when you’re sad, chased away your...

Keep Reading

I Was Meant to Be a Boy Mom

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and three boys, black-and-white photo

When you’re a little girl, you dream of the day you can pass all your Barbies and dolls on to your daughter and continue that same form of make-believe, to play dress up, do their hair, and go shopping with . . . at least I did.  You grow up, fall in love, get married, and decide to start a family and all those same emotions come rushing back about all you’ll do with your baby girl. You cut open that cake and the blue frosting peeks through, and you’re so excited that you forget all those girl dreams. You...

Keep Reading