‘Everything is going to be OK.’ The first time I saw him so small, I cried. He came nearly 3 months early.’: Mom raises awareness for National Preemie Month, ‘No one can prepare you for the NICU experience’

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“November is National Prematurity Awareness Month. 

My son Dylan came 2 1/2 months early at 29 weeks weighing 3 pounds 6 ounces and was only 16 inches long. I was told I was lucky because he was big for a preemie. I would never think this was getting lucky. Regardless, no one ever prepares you for the possibility that your baby can land in the NICU after you give birth.

I met Dylan for the first time 4 days after delivering him. The 3 days before I met Dylan, all I thought about was him, but I couldn’t move and the doctors suggested I gain some strength. Moms always dream of the perfect delivery, but this was far from it.

My placenta had broken through my uterine wall due to a condition called placenta accreta, and I started hemorrhaging. My doctors took Dylan out as quickly as possible and focused on saving me. I had lost 1/3 of my blood and needed a hysterectomy.

I had a 5-hour surgery after Dylan was whisked away to the NICU. I was put to sleep throughout the entire experience. I woke in such incredible pain. I never could have imagined what a trying experience this would be. All I wanted to do was see our new baby.

My husband was our rock. He divided his time between checking on me, spending time with Dylan, and watching our 4 kids at home. When I woke up, I asked him how Dylan was and he was very calm about it. He definitely did not prepare me to see our son so tiny with all the tubes and wires attached to him. 

It’s hard to explain the first time you see your child this small. I cried for the first half hour because I feared for his life. After I gained my composure, I realized I needed to be strong for him. I started talking to Dylan to tell him that everything was going to be okay. Next came the fierce determination to help him get whatever he needed to thrive. I was his mother and would do everything in my power to give him the best care.

I was determined, but my heart still broke every single time I saw Dylan. You felt very helpless because no matter what, this little child was still getting pricked and touched over and over again with all of their tests.

Even though I was still healing, I was at Dylan’s side every single day. I provided him breast milk, pictures of his 4 siblings, and a stuffed animal with his parent’s scent. Everything. Anything…

Every chance I got, I asked God to help Dylan. My family and friends gave us a ton of support. They helped with our 4 kids so we could devote so much time to Dylan. 

Our story is like many NICU families who simply pray every day that their child will be okay. No one can ever prepare you for the NICU experience. It is the most emotional rollercoaster with lots of ups and downs. For every step you take forward, you take multiple steps back. It’s gut wrenching because you love this tiny baby so much. You just want them to be okay. 

Dylan is 2 years old today. We do not know what his long term issues will be, but we remain positive and thank God for Dylan’s life and mine.”

Courtesy of Tracy
Courtesy of Tracy
Courtesy of Tracy

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tracy from Manhattan, NY. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Tracy here:

‘Them: When are you leaving the city now that you have 5 kids? Me: Never! Why do we have to?!’: Mom praises city lifestyle despite criticism, pressure to settle down, ‘our kids are thriving’

‘Don’t touch that!’ I screamed as she reached for the elevator button. She was near tears.’: NYC mom of 5 reflects on life in quarantine, ‘We have to find our new normal’

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