Thursday, January 10, 2013

Moms Say Thanks: A NICU DAD

Holding Daddy's Hand
I was too caught up in my own pain and anxiety at the time of our son's premature birth at just over 30 weeks to truly appreciate what the experience must have been like for my husband. I know precisely how I felt feeling my water break and directing him to grab a few things while I waited lying on my left side for the doctor's office to call me back. While I was numb with fright when they couldn't keep his heart rate on the monitor, or I was told that they were going to have to move us to a hospital with a Level III NICU as our neighborhood hospital couldn't support a 30 week old baby. How would I have felt if I had to follow an ambulance carrying my wife and unborn son to a hospital in another state? He seemed so steady and calm to me at the time.

He missed out on things, too. His biggest excitement during my pregnancy was about cutting the cord especially when he found out that he was going to have a son. They generally don't let fathers cut the cord during an emergency c-section with a baby in respiratory distress. It wasn't until two months after we brought Drake home from the NICU that I found out the moment they called him over in the OR wasn't to take a look at his new baby boy, but to get him to talk to Drake to help him breathe and stabilize while they got ready to intubate.

I missed the first glimpses of our son in my exhaustion and nausea and fear. My husband captured those first moments of our 2lb, 14oz baby in the “ziploc bag”, fighting the tube down his throat, and surrounded by NICU staff. I remember wanting him to go with Drake, but I'm not sure if I passed out or told him to. I just know he went.

I can't imagine what it was like to take care of me, take care of our home, go to work, and come to the hospital to learn how to parent a baby we were often told not to touch every day. Through it all, he was able to maintain a much firmer belief that our new family was right where we needed to be. He had the faith that our son's early arrival and how well he fared saved us all from a much scarier possible outcome than if I had managed to carry him closer to term. Even though there were times when I wished he would “lose it” a bit with me, I'm so glad that my partner was there for me and helped me weather the storm.

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