Your Preemie Is In The NICU - What Can You Do?

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Your feelings are tied up in that tiny little preemie bundle, and you have a hard time comprehending this small, wrinkled resemblance of a baby that is attached to every conceivable contraption…could belong to you

By Sjona Lindquist
Your feelings are tied up in that tiny little preemie bundle, and you
have a hard time comprehending this small, wrinkled resemblance of a
baby that is attached to every conceivable contraption…could belong
to you. But when your heart is broken in more places then you could
ever dream possible, and waiting seems endless, you are harshly
welcomed into the world of parenthood.

It is truly staggering when you consider that an average of 1300
premature babies are born every day in the United States. If you are
reading this article, you are probably the parent of one of these
preemies. With so many things in this new out-of-control world of
“living” in the NICU, what can you control?

Be There For Your Preemie

For you, the first thing you can control is being there for your baby.
It may seem like you are standing around (in the way) not being
helpful, but you are doing an important job. Your voice, your touch,
your prayers, and
your deep love is something your preemie needs and craves as he or she
is trying to get stronger. Your baby can see you, hear you, and/or feel
you. You are important and you are needed.

It is just as important that you are there mentally. Everything is so
“out-of-body” and surreal, but you can begin focusing on the essentials
of your preemie’s care. Learn about your baby’s routine, his reactions,
health limitations. Keep yourself informed about everything and you can
then notice the small things that are overlooked in you preemie’s care.
You can then request that these things be taken care of from a
knowledgeable perspective, not just as a panicky parent.

Knowledge Is Power

“Knowledge Is Power” is a common saying. An important one when you
consider the fact that you are now your baby’s cheerleader and coach
for the rest of his or her life. Begin learning all that you can about
your preemie and her specific medical needs now and in the future.
Books, articles (like this one), your baby’s doctor, reputable
websites, and other experienced preemie parents are wonderful sources
of inspiration, information, and education for you.

It may seem difficult to find the time when you are so stretched, but
go slowly when you can find that time and keep at it. Make small goals
for yourself. Remember, if you set goals, you will get much farther
than if you don’t. You can do some of these things in the NICU at your
baby’s side.

Look To The Future

Last, look to the future. It may seem silly to plan out what kind of
parent you want to be for the next 18 years, but long-term goal setting
is a very worthwhile occupation for any parent. Right now as time seems
to drag on endlessly, it is difficult to see that time will soon pick
up speed and the years will fly by. Practice little things now, like
patience, and it will be easier when your preemie is older.

How are you going to react to your preemie when he or she does
something that makes you mad, upset, frustrated, angry, happy, or
laugh? How will you discipline and praise your baby? What kind of
people will you let your baby be around, and not? Do you have any
family traditions you would like to start? What healthy habits do you
want to instill in your preemie?

If you keep your mind busy with all of the things you can do for your
new preemie, then it is harder to fall into constant anxiety. Try not
to worry (though it seems an impossible task) about “will my baby make
it”, or “what kind of problems will my baby have”, or “I can’t do this
anymore”, or “Is my baby in pain?”, and whatever else is plaguing you.
Stay focused on your goals, and keep your mind thinking positive
thoughts even if you are tempted to do otherwise.

Remember, you are the best parent your preemie could ever have, and
your baby is depending on you. You can do it if you take one day at a
time. At times you may even have to break it down by minutes taking one
crisis at a time. You are not alone, and you can forge your way through
this trial as many parents have done before you.

 Sjona Lindquist is a mom of 6 (1 angel) and she owns and operates
Preemie Store. ~ Preemie Store is a resource site and specialty
shop for parents of premature babies. Lindquist’s daughter was stillborn from
Strep B infection due to PROM (Premature Rupture of Membranes). In honor of her
daughter, Michaela, she offers preemie support, bereavement support, and preemie
clothes. Some of the products include micro
preemie clothes
, preemie
bereavement gowns
, and Preemie
. If a new preemie has entered your life or someone you love, drop by
and visit us! ~ Preemie

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