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Challenge: NICU Parenting

Just Keep Swimming,

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I was 23 when I had my son, 6 weeks and 6 days early. The Saturday prior, was my baby shower and I took a small fall but landed on my knees. I, nor anyone else thought that it would cause me to then have my sweet boy just 5 days later.

I went in for one of my weekly stress test and was told I was going to be staying the night because my blood pressure was too high to not be monitored. My husband and I didn't think twice and just listened to the nurses and doctors and stayed. Well the one night stay turned into a few nights stay.

The night before our lives changed forever, my husband left the hospital to get some clean clothes for me, and to take a shower. While he was gone, my nurse came in because a blood pressure reading was much higher than any of my previous readings. Because it was so high, she ended up calling my doctor and not even 10 minutes later the nurse reluctantly told me that I would be being induced by midnight. Me, already being extremely emotional because for 1: I am VERY Pregnant 2: I've been in the hospital far longer than I thought I would be; I began to cry because I was terrified. This is my first child, and I was already afraid to have a baby, but now I'm being induced. At that point in my life, I knew it was to help the baby along, Not to help you have your baby so early. To be completely honest, I didn't have a clue.

I called my husband, told him, and he rushed back. By around 1am on November 10th, the induction process had started, as well as my contractions. My contractions didn't start gentle, then start to get stronger and stronger. Sadly mine were full force from the get-go. My nurses and mid-wife noticed and ordered my epidural once i dilated to 2cm. BLESS THEIR SOULS!

I will spare you the details of my birth, but will say, we had a few bumps in the process. By 9:52 pm on November 10th 2016, my sweet Parker made his way into the world. Cried within seconds of being out, and he was perfect. Now I knew he would need to be in the NICU for some time, but I never thought my little guy would be in there for a month and a half.

Now the Journey in the NICU wasn't simple. Or easy. But the nurses that took care of not only my son, but my husband and I as well, are truly the greatest people in the world. They not only saved my sons life on a few occasions, but they kept us grounded, and made sure to keep us informed with anything and everything, without it being sugar coated. In the moment, it killed me; I look back now, and am forever thankful they kept it real with us.

Spending time in the NICU is very stressful and emotional draining. But it doesn't last forever. These nurses are miracle workers. And I truly couldn't do what they do. They see everything under the moon; they see the worse case scenario, especially with this opioid epidemic upon us. They care for our babies like they are their own. And I am lucky enough to visit my NICU nurses every few months with my now, healthy 1 year old! (Tomorrow!)

My advice is to any Parent to a premiee baby is, be patience. The doctors and nurses aren't trying to keep your family apart, they are trying to get your baby the healthiest it can be so that you don't need to return to the hospital. Take the time for yourself. Take that nap, or go out to lunch with a friend. You have to take care of yourself, while the nurses and doctors take care of your baby. Take the help from family and friends. They do it, because they know you wont ask. Its okay to be down; but please seek help if feel like your in a dark place. But know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just keep swimming...

-Karol Klingerman

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