Hi, I’m Priya, and this is my baby, Aryan. He was born at 28 weeks, weighing only 1.2 kg. He spent 10 weeks in the NICU (Neonatal intensive care unit) fighting for his life. This is our story.
The day Aryan was born was the worst day of my life. I had a severe case of preeclampsia that put me and my baby in danger. The doctors told me that I had to deliver him right away, or we could both die.
I was terrified and heartbroken. I had no time to prepare for a premature birth. I barely saw my husband, Raj, before they rushed me to the operating room.
The next thing I remember is waking up alone, feeling empty and lost. I asked for my baby, but they said he was in the NICU and I couldn’t see him yet. They said he was very critical and he needed a lot of support to survive.
I felt like a failure as a mother. I blamed myself for not giving him a full-term pregnancy. I wondered if he would make it, and if he did, what kind of challenges he would face.
The first time I saw Aryan, he was in a plastic box surrounded by wires and tubes. He looked so small and fragile. I wanted to hold him and kiss him, but I was afraid to hurt him. He didn’t look like my baby. He looked like a stranger.
I cried every time I left him in the hospital. I felt guilty for not being with him all the time. I felt guilty for not being able to feed him or comfort him. I felt guilty for not bonding with him.
The NICU was a roller coaster of emotions. Some days, Aryan would improve and we would be hopeful. Other days, he would worsen and we would be hopeless. We celebrated every gram he gained, every breath he took, every move he made.
We also faced many crises, like when he had a brain bleed, when he had an infection, when he had a surgery. We prayed every night for his healing and protection.
The NICU staff were angels. They were kind, compassionate, and skilled. They explained everything to us clearly and patiently. They taught us how to care for Aryan and how to cope with our stress.
They also encouraged us to bond with Aryan as much as possible. They helped us do kangaroo care, which is skin-to-skin contact with the baby. They helped us do oral care, which is gently rubbing the baby’s gums with a cotton swab dipped in breast milk or formula. They helped us do developmental care, which is providing a quiet and comfortable environment for the baby.
They also celebrated with us every time Aryan reached a goal or graduated from a level of care. They gave us certificates, cards, and photos to mark his achievements.
The NICU was not only a place of medical care, but also a place of love and support.
The day Aryan came home with us was the best day of my life. He weighed 2.5 kg and he no longer needed any oxygen or feeding tubes. He looked like my baby. He looked like our miracle.
We were overjoyed and relieved to finally have him with us. We were also nervous and anxious about taking care of him on our own. We wondered if we were ready for this responsibility and if we could keep him safe and healthy.
We soon realized that we had a lot of help and guidance along the way. We had our family and friends who supported us with their prayers, visits, meals, and gifts. We had our pediatrician who monitored Aryan’s growth and development and advised us on his health issues. We had our NICU follow-up clinic who provided us with physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and social work services.
We also had our NICU parent group who shared their stories, experiences, and tips with us. We met other parents who had been through the same ordeal as us and who understood what we were going through.
We learned that we were part of a special community of NICU graduates who had overcome incredible odds and who had shown remarkable resilience.
We learned that we were not just survivors, but thrivers.
Aryan is now six months old and he is doing great. He is smiling, laughing, babbling, rolling over, reaching for toys, and eating solids. He is growing stronger and smarter every day.
He still has some challenges ahead of him, like catching up on his growth and development milestones, getting his vaccinations, and avoiding infections. He may also face some long-term complications, like learning disabilities, behavioral problems, or cerebral palsy.
But we are not worried about the future. We are focused on the present. We are enjoying every moment with him. We are grateful for every breath he takes.
He is our miracle. He is our hero. He is our joy.
If you are a parent of a NICU baby, or if you know someone who is, I hope this blog post has touched your heart and inspired your spirit. I hope you know that you are not alone in this journey. I hope you know that you are doing an amazing job as a parent. I hope you know that your baby is amazing and beautiful.
I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to share your story, comment, or question. Thank you for reading my blog. God bless you and your baby!
Note: Names have been changed to protect privacy.
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