Monday, May 25, 2015

From a NICU my friend...a Soon-to-Be NICU Mom

It's strange to be on the other side of an experience - to know that everything can be okay - while watching someone else go through something similar.  A friend of mine is expecting.  She will deliver a premature baby.  A premature baby who may have Cerebral Palsy.  When my friend was hospitalized earlier this month, she had asked me how far along my mom was when she had my sister and me.  After initially providing the friend with some faulty information I believed to be true, I got the real answers from Mom and Grandma.  We were born at 31 weeks.  9 weeks early.  June babies with a September due date.

My friend's baby also has a September due date.  While talking to my grandma about this, she asked where my friend was hospitalized.  I named the facility (which has a great NICU) and to my shock, Grandma told me: "That's where you were!  That's where they took you by ambulance after you were born!"

She told me stories about how the ambulance driver made the two-hour drive to pick us up in 40 minutes.  How they filled gloves with warm water and placed them beside my sister and me to keep us warm.  How the person who came to baptize us could hold each of us in one hand.  How my sister spent her first three months at this hospital, and I, my first nine months.

I couldn't resist texting my friend, at that very hospital and on bed rest, with the news, and a couple of the following pictures:

So...guess who else spent their early months right where you are?

Almost 2 weeks old, holding Mom's hand.
Several months later, and I'm bigger and got my trach put in.  Yay, being able to breathe reliably!

My sis (left) was home by the time we were 5 months old.   I was still hospitalized.  When she came to visit, we sometimes fell asleep holding hands.
Having a bath, around 6 months.
Around 8 months here, just a little longer before I (left) would get to go home.  Hard to say bye to sissy.

It's such a unique perspective, to be sitting on the other side of this experience, as a once medically fragile preemie myself, and to be able to cheer on my friend, who is a day shy of 26 weeks (still pregnant) with her little one.  

I am not naive.  I know the road will be difficult.  But I have so much confidence that she is in the best place possible.  The place that nurtured me and took care of me (and my sister) when we were so very little.  I believe they will take care of my friend and her baby just as well as they took care of me so many years ago (and they have done such a great job already!)  

I love knowing that it gives her peace to know we have been there, and that we are okay.