The other day Matt and I took a break and walked down the street for our first lunch outside of the NICU. Over lunch we began talking about how we’re both feeling about becoming parents and came to the mutual conclusion that so far we only feel like parents when we’re by August’s bedside.
We’re not shy to admit that we’re still grieving the “bringing home baby” experience that all new parents expect to have when they are thinking about starting a family. I am so happy I have the opportunity to hold August in the NICU, but I am sad that I couldn’t hold him until he was 4 days new, and that I never had that initial skin to skin bonding and that I won’t get to try nursing him until he’s 2 months old. Also thinking back on the delivery I only caught a glimpse of his face between the shoulder to shoulder doctors surrounding his incubator in the delivery room before he was whisked away. I didn’t get a good look at my son until about four hours later. And two and a half weeks into Auggie’s life, Dad’s only held him twice.
Surprisingly during this conversation we both held it together. I’ve already lost it in Whole Foods once and I’d like to try to not do that again for at least a little while. Through talking about how weird it is to not feel like a mom and dad yet, we also talked about how we can help ourselves through this loss of what we thought becoming parents would be like.
- Over the past few days I’ve made sure to call the NICU each morning and night to check in on how August is doing. At first I didn’t do this, I was still overwhelmed with the whole situation. I’m glad I started though because it helps me feel more mom like outside of the NICU.
- We brought in our own bed linens for August that we picked out at Babies R Us. Seeing them on the bed and getting his dirty laundry to bring home and wash has been really helpful. Even NICU babies pee, poop, and spit up all over the place.
- I LOVE changing his diaper. And please don’t tell me I won’t always love it. On some days taking his temperature and changing his diaper and swaddling him is the only way Matt and I can interact with him. I will always be grateful that the nurses let us be a part of this portion of his care and I check every morning when his diaper changes will be so I can be sure I get there for at least some of them.
- We are planning on working on finishing his nursery when we’re home in the evenings. He’s a very lucky little guy that we didn’t quite finish and now we can complete the nursery for this little person we’ve already met. Not a lot of parents get to meet that little baby before creating a special room for them.
- Eventually August will be able to wear clothes in the NICU. Matt and I had specifically asked for no clothes, mostly so we can pick these out ourselves. Again – it’s another activity that helps us feel more like the Mom and Dad we became on December 13th.
Overall each day is getting better, and we both agree that the more we get used to the NICU being part our of daily routine the more it sinks in that this is our little man and that he will be coming home with us. Until then we are practicing patience, knowing that eventually we’ll have the “bringing home baby” experience with August. Although, we will have the advantage of being expert diapers changers, temp takers, and feeders. And we’ll have already learned so much about what August likes, dislikes, and how to calm him through all the time we’ll be spending with his nurses.