It’s quite simple really… being in the NICU sucks… but in light of Thanksgiving this weekend I have decided to take the much needed time to be thankful and reflect on these last 23 days of our life.
We often say that right now we feel like “part time parents”. Just visiting our babies, only to say goodbye at the end of the day. We feel like it is Groundhog day, we have no idea what day it is anymore, our life is basically on repeat. There have been a lot of tears, a lot of “I don’t want to do this anymore”, a lot of “I just want to bring them home”, and “I’m so over this.” It’s so easy to lose sight of what is important and to remain thankful. But… we have two beautiful baby boys, that have completely stollen our hearts from the second they were born, and someday we will get to bring them home. We are so thankful, and feel so blessed to be Hunter and Harrison’s parents, and that God has given us the special gift of parenthood. Even though days are difficult and challenging we have never not been thankful for these precious boys. We are so thankful that our babies are doing so well, and are healthy. Every day we have had positive news, and very little set backs. Often times I feel guilty complaining about what we are going through as I know so many people have had more difficult roads than we have, and I know that this is not forever, it’s just a matter of time. Through this journey we are so thankful for a loving God to turn to in prayer and for strength. We are thankful for the support of family and friends near and far. For the little notes of encouragement that keep our heads up and keep us strong to face another day.
What makes the NICU bearable? Knowing that our babies are receiving the best care. We have been so blessed with wonderful nurses during our stay in the NICU. Nurses who are so supportive, encouraging, and helpful. We are truly thankful for them and the phenomenal care they give to our boys. They take the time out of their busy days to teach us things, give us advice, and encourage us as we begin to try new things, like nursing! They have been with us from the beginning, and these days would be a lot more challenging and discouraging without them.
Another thing I am thankful for is my husband! We have been through a lot together in the last 23 days, from the crazy and traumatic birth of our boys, to my recovery, to living the NICU life, he has had to endure a lot; we both have. Joel has always been a supportive husband, but over these last 23 days he has gone above and beyond what I ever expected him to do. He has been so supportive through this whole journey from taking care of me in the hospital, to even getting up with me through the night to keep me company as I pump. The running joke in our family is that Joel is the “milk man”, keeping an eye on the clock when it’s time to pump, filling out the labels for the milk containers, etc. Not to mention he has been my comic relief when days are unbearable, he has been my shoulder to cry on when I am an emotional wreck, and the person who keeps me company on the long days spent in the hospital (and for the record, Joel is a diaper changing champ). I am so thankful that Joel has a job where he has been able to take the time off needed to help with the boys, as we support each other through this time.
When all is said and done as much as the NICU sucks, and days are hard and challenging I truly am thankful for all of it. The time Joel and I are spending together, and the struggles we are facing together is only strengthening our relationship. The boys being in the NICU, although difficult, it has given me the much needed time to heal, after two back-to-back surgeries, that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. It has strengthened our relationship with new friends as we have had to lean on them for support and learn to except help. It has taught us to really find the good in bad, frustrating, or challenging situations. It has forced us to really rely on God to get us through.
I encourage you to find the good in every day, no matter what you are going through, and to do some reflecting of your own this Thanksgiving. In a world that is so focused on the bad, we need to rely more and more on the good. I think the good can start with everything that we are thankful for.