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The sucky thing about being a NICU parent

Your kid is either fine or not fine. And you know the difference. That little rush of blood when there is a rush of doctors lets you know where you stand. Obviously, your kid isn't "fine" or they wouldn't be in neonatal intensive care. But there definitely comes a point when you come to face reality and it isn't so bad. It's still your kid, your heart.

And the worst part of being in the NICU isn't the sick babies. Don't get me wrong, it's heartbreaking. I'm guessing the hardest part for the parents is the little stuff though. Kelly and I consider ourselves strong people so if it gets to us then it has to be even worse for the families there longer, with sicker kids, who have farther to drive, less time to visit, etc..

Because the absolute height of frustration is that someone else is parenting your child. She was supposed to be home and, as the parent, you really do know best. Especially if you have other kids you know what I'm talking about. You read their signs better, know what each facial expression means, already know them a little from Day One.

The staff has consistently said something along the lines of "it's your kid, pick her up if you want to," etc.. The fact is it doesn't feel like your kid yet. We've changed a few shirts and diapers and given a few bottles, but right now it feels like one of those bad high school responsibility projects where the class carries around eggs for a week. Real babies cry because they're hungry, not on 3 hour feeding schedules.

Which brings up some important crossroads we're at with Leda. But conversations with doctors can be hard to come by. And you start to wonder at what point you are the one who gets to make medical decisions. We'd like to start treating her a little more like she will live at home. We'd like her off the fortified milk and on a free feeding routine to sleep and eat when she wants. No tube feeding her if she doesn't finish, etc.. But it's hard to explain your natural parenting strategy to a room full of people watching her every breath and spit-up for signs of apocalypse.

We've come across parents who have already had to go back to work or live hours away and only get to see their kid on the weekend. So we consider ourselves luckier. We already know how lucky we are. We'll make it just fine. But families who aren't so tough, able to handle stress, or especially if this was our first....

Cole has been an even extra blessing in all this. It's so nice to come home to your older child and realize the time will come to spend time with Leda, too. You can at least mentally prepare because you know what's coming. I can't even imagine being denied those early days when we had to sink or swim with tiny newborn Colwyn. A lot of what we've found works for us only came after long hours of trial and error. 2 weeks has been a lot of time to lose. Especially when they don't stay a "baby" for long.

Happy 2 weeks, Leda! And happy 15 months this week to Cole. You two are the greatest.

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