Building a Family: NICU Vacation
Before I start, I wanted to apologize to anyone who was following this series on how my family grew to be from how Ashlee and I met to the birth of my children. I had to take a couple days break due to taking a sudden road trip to Arkansas for a funeral. I was away from my computer, tired from the events/drive, and couldn’t concentrate on writing. For that, I am sorry. Please don’t hate me too much. I’ll buy you an icecream or something to make up for it.
And the saga continues!!
You’d think after the birth of my two oldest, that we’d be done right? Wrong. It turns out, either I’m really potent, she’s immune to birth control, or God wanted to have a laugh at our expense.
We had Elijah in 2008 at 32 weeks, and Emma was born 2011 at 30 weeks. They were both born via C-Section, and kept in the NICU.
I lump these two together because anyone who has ever met them automatically assumes they are twins. They do everything together. If I ever separate the two, they talk about each other during the whole parting.
Elijah has developmental delays both physical and mental. He stays a steady 2 years behind even today. With Emma being two years younger, that lines them up. They are the same height, enjoy the same hobbies, and are both blessed by God above with my absolutely handsomeness that makes all the ladies crane.
Elijah spent his first few weeks in the NICU unit. He was there long enough to get over that first hump of a premie’s life. He didn’t want to eat or breathe well on his own at the start. Who would, when you have the option of someone doing iy for you? Heck. Heck. Hand me a C-pap so I can take a break. It was an open unit with all the other parents within arms reach. We shared in a few victories, and witnessed a few heartbreaks. It was an emotional roller coaster. He wanted to get out ASAP. Ain’t no body got time for that.
Emma enjoyed the hospital a little more. She’s a drama queen. It was her vacation spot of choice. We spent the first 9 months of her life there chill-laxing. She has nurses tending to her every whim. She was covered in monitors and a feeding tube due to severe acid reflux. For some reason, the contents of her stomach always ended up splattered across the room. The Exorcist aint got nothin on my little girl. She was born in the same hospital as Elijah, but by then, they had built a private NICU. We had our own room, and got to choose our own nurse for the duration of our stay. We got close to the doctors who we still visit, nurses who we follow on Facebook, and parents who still celebrate milestones with us.
Emma even had her own game she would play with the other babies in the unit. They would see how long they could keep the nurse busy by pulling out their feeding tube one at a time. No lie. Emma would pull followed by her neighboring room. As soon as the nurse got that one placed, the third room over would pull. This went on for hours each day.
For those of you who have no experience with longterm pediatric stays, it’s a whole new way of life that you will never forget. You become close friends with people you otherwise would never habe met. You are never truly alone because those same people are experiencong the same things. That’s why they are there. We cried with parents who had children transition into eternity while we were there. We cheered with parents who got to cut their vacation short before us. The NICU became a piece of who we are.
Emma and Elijah both still have their complications. Emma is chronically sick for unknown reasons and Elijah has to fight difficulties that come with having a under developed physical form. Those same doctors we met on day one still follow our case today.
The end of the beginning is near. I only habe one more entry to this series. If you want to know what it holds, tune in Saturday. Bring some tissues, and maybe a rubber chicken.