‘Why was I the last to notice my baby was in distress?’ I needed constant reassurance everything was going to be okay.’: New mom thanks nurses during short but grueling NICU stay

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“’The NICU, it’s like a secret club that you want to forget you were ever a part of.’⁣

3 days…3 days of excruciating anxiety and sleepless nights after 48 hours of labor. ⁣

I was so tired after delivery. I had this undeniable, powerful pull to be near my baby, but I couldn’t be. The NICU rooms were full, so Heron was tucked back in the bright fluorescent nurse’s office/supply room as an overflow makeshift ‘room.’

Mom snaps photo of her newborns foot with a NICU bracelet attached to his ankle
Courtesy of Madison Mellencamp

There was no where for me to rest. Neal spent the first night sleeping in a chair next to our new baby. I would consistently wake up to peer at them through the video baby monitor, my saving grace. ⁣

One night, while I was holding my little fragile Heron, he turned completely grey, the color of a Heron, in fact. All I can remember is seeing Neal’s face sink with panic, sounds started exploding from seemingly everywhere, and a sea of NICU staff rushed into the room.

Heron was ripped from my arms as the doctors and nurses moved in perfect rhythm to remove the amniotic fluid obstructing his throat. All we could do was stand back and watch. I, we, gave full trust to that wonderful team of humans.⁣

They did their job, they saved him. They handed him back to me as if nothing had just happened. That moment replayed in my mind a thousand times over the next 48 hours. ⁣I kept asking myself, ‘Why was I the last to notice that my baby was in distress?’

New dad takes a selfie with his crying newborn son in the NICU
Courtesy of Madison Mellencamp

I felt like such a child those few days in the NICU; I needed constant reassurance that everything was going to be okay. ⁣I think we asked at least 10 different staff members to go over the warning signs of choking with us so we could be absolutely sure he would survive in our care. ⁣

Then day number 3 came. There was talk about release papers. And I thought, ‘Can we really take him home?’ ‘Will they finally allow us to be his parents?’

I remember acting extra sweet just in case they decided to change their minds last minute. We signed all the papers, talked about newborn care, went over all the protocol. AND THEN, finally, a nurse came to cut his alarm anklet off. This felt like a ceremony to me. I watched closely, I took a deep breath in and held it until the final snip. He was finally ours.”

New mom wearing a gray sweater smiles down at her newborn son sleeping in her arms
Courtesy of Madison Mellencamp

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Madison Mellencamp of Indianapolis, IN. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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