Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Moms Say Thanks- Nicole Penwarden

By Nicole Penwarden

The words thank you do not seem to cut it when I want to say thank you to my husband.

My family has been down the NICU road twice and during both of those times he helped me keep it together on all fronts.

Back in August of 2011, I was 34 weeks pregnant with our first child and things were going great except for my inability to a sip or two of my favorite drink, coffee. On August 27th we were both going to try and lay
down for a nap. Being 34 weeks pregnant, I couldn’t get comfortable and decided to go surf the net for a while. My husband was able to fall asleep and take that much needed nap.

In the middle of his nap I felt a gush of water and hollered at him to get my phone. While I was panicked as to whether my water broke and trying to get my OB to listen to me that no this really wasn’t my bladder, this was huge gushes of water, he kept calm and pretty much said let’s just go to the hospital.

I was indeed in labor and I was scared. We had a flood of doctors and NICU staff come in and talk to us about what would happen after our son was born. My mind was racing while dealing with contractions, he kept me calm and listened to the NICU staff. When I said I can’t do this anymore he helped me get focused again and continue with pushing and helped me with my breathing.

After our son was born, my husband followed him down to the NICU and stayed with him until I was able to go down there. I was an exhausted emotional mess yet he kept his cool and was calm about it all. He stayed focused on Sebastian and myself.

Being this was our first child and we still thought we had six weeks left to get the nursery ready, we had nothing ready when Sebastian arrived. So while I was recovering from birth, he swung into action and got
everything ready. He redid our computer room that became the nursery. He built the crib and got things ready for that eventually day when Sebastian would be discharged from the NICU.

When I would cry looking at the empty crib he would hold me and remind me that our child was where he needed to be to get healthy. He reminded me that the nurses were helping us learn how to be parents to this little guy. He helped focus my mind.

Being I had a uncomplicated delivery, I was only granted 6 weeks of maternity leave. Sebastian came home after 3 weeks so we only had three weeks to bond as a family. He helped make the most of it. Then I had to return to work.

My husband stayed home and cared for our son along keeping the house together. He knew I wanted to be home with them so he would send me texts with pictures of them together. He would call and give me updates on their days.

I don’t think Thank You says enough for what he did.

Flash forward to February of 2012…

We found out we were pregnant again. We wanted two and wanted them close but this was not quite as close as we expected considering it took us 4 years to have Sebastian. Things started out well and being we had one premature baby, precautions were put in place to try and help avoid it again. While I was going to weekly P17 shots and ultrasound appointments, he stayed home with Sebastian and again kept the household going.

When I was 21 weeks along I went in for a routine ultrasound. I was promptly told I need to get to the hospital as I could possibly be losing the baby. I was a complete and utter mess, crying and blubbering into the phone at my husband. He was able to get a friend to watch our son and rush me down the hospital in no time flat.

He remained the strong one and kept me calm while doctor’s were trying to decide if a cerclage was the best course of action and we had to have talks about what if…

After my cerclage was put in I was placed on bed rest. He did not even blink at the daunting task of running the house and taking care of our son and me for 19 or so weeks.

At 26 weeks complications starting to occurring with the pregnancy. Again he remained calm, kept me calm, cared for our son and helped me through some of the scariest times namely the day the doctors said to us, “You are having a baby tonight”. That baby was coming 14 weeks to soon…

As like with my previous delivery, he walked me through the breathing and kept me calm. He made sure our little 2 pound 12 ounce little man was doing well after the delivery. He made sure our son at home was being cared for. He stayed by my side all day and most of the night that day. Our 2nd son, Sammy spent 97 days in the NICU.

When we ran into issues with the staff and I was in tears, he was on the phone talking to the nurse manager. He was arranging meetings with the nurse manager. He pushed from them to keep us in the loop of our son’s care when my attempts fell on deaf ears. During those long 97 days which I had to return to work 7 weeks into that, he kept the house going again, he cared for our son, he kept me smiling on those dark days where I found it hard to get up and go on with life.

Now that our son is home and has been for a little over 2 months now, he cares for both of them and the house. I feel like he gets short changed in respect for what he does and thanking him is not enough for me. I wish there was more I could say to let him know how much I love and appreciate all that he does for our family and did during both NICU stays.

At night when I was dead tired from work and having time with our older son, he gets things for the overnight feedings ready, he gets our son Sammy’s meds ready for the overnight, he puts Sebastian to bed if I fall

He really deserves so much for everything he does and I just want to say thank you so much sweetie for being the best husband and father. Thank you for being my rock during all those dark times and even now after the NICU when things have been stressful for me with work and all of Sammy’s
doctor appointments, etc.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the bottom of my heart.

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