Though very reluctant initially, Rohan finally did agree to share his experience in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), only on our persistent requests. (Note: Name has been changed to protect privacy)
I never imagined that this experience would impact my life so profoundly, said Rohan. He goes on “The day I found out I was going to be a father to twins, I felt like I had hit a sixer in the last over of a cricket match. But when they arrived prematurely and had to be taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), my joy turned into fear”.
“Walking into the NICU for the first time was like stepping onto a different planet. Amidst the constant beeping of machines and flurry of nurses and doctors, were my tiny babies, so small and fragile. It was like watching a nail-biting cricket match, where every beep of the monitor felt like a ball being bowled, and we were praying for no wickets”.
Rohan takes a deep sigh and continues, “The days that followed were a blur. I had to quickly familiarize myself with medical terms, just like one would learn the rules of a new game. Every day was a battle, a rollercoaster of emotions. There were moments of despair when the doctors would update us about a new complication, and then there were moments of hope when our little ones would show signs of improvement”
In a deep tone he continues, “As a father, I felt helpless”.
“I wanted to protect my children, take their pain away, but all I could do was watch as the medical team worked tirelessly. I found solace in the NICU parent support groups, sharing our fears and hopes, drawing strength from each other’s experiences”.
At some point in the NICU journey, the rapidly escalating expenses start bearing down on the parents.
Rohan too shares, “The financial strain was another challenge. The cost of the NICU stay, the medications, the endless tests – it was daunting. We had to make sacrifices, prioritize our spending, but when it came to our children, every rupee spent was worth it”.
None-the-less Rohan never let his spirits go down. The first time Rohan held his babies in his arms, made every effort worth it.
Rohan became emotional as he narrated, “The first time I held my babies, so tiny that they fit in the palm of my hand, their fingers curling around mine; the first time I heard their cries, a sound that was music to my ears”.
He continues “The day we finally brought our babies home was one of the happiest days of my life. Our little warriors had fought hard and won their battle. As I carried them through the doors of our home, I felt a surge of pride. I was a father to two fighters”.
Finally, Rohan concludes with a very heartfelt emotion “Being a NICU parent was the most challenging experience of my life, but it was also the most rewarding. It taught me the true meaning of being a father – the strength, the sacrifice, the unconditional love. It was a journey I never expected, but one I wouldn’t change for the world”.