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Life lessons Learned in the NICU

Life lessons Learned in the NICU

I am sure many of you are either just glad you are done with this season of your life (NICU life) and really want to put it behind you or you are in the process of “getting through” the NICU journey and are holding on for dear life. However, I really do believe that sometimes the hardest things we go through teach us the most. Believe me, as much as I love the stretches of life when nothing "big" is going on, I do look back at the tough times and see how much I learned and grew during those times. I heard early on as a parent that taking your kids camping is really good for bonding as a family. This is due to the fact that often not everything goes just right, stressful situations develop and yet those will be the very things you talk and reminisce about later when they are grown! I have definitely found this to be true as some of the craziest times we had as a family are the things my kids talk about now. We seem to never mention or hardly think about the more "normal" times or when everything went just right. You are not hearing me say I wish for the challenging or difficult moments, those are the times I try to practice more gratitude even tho it is good to practice that all the time. I admit it is just easier when things are a bit smoother. It is at the times when things are more challenging we need to remind ourselves that these are learning moments and ask what can I learn from this?


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Heads up on RSV Season

Heads up on RSV Season

As we head into the Winter season and that means the possibility of more colds, the flu, or other unwanted bugs coming into your house. One of the most unwanted viruses is RSV, which stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus. You have probably heard the abbreviation spoken many times during your NICU stay, and it may have you a little freaked out. 
Let’s breakdown RSV: Here is the definition, according to WebMD: 
“Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common and very contagious virus that infects the respiratory tract of most children before their second birthday. For most babies and young children, the infection causes nothing more than a cold. But for a small percentage, infection with RSV can lead to serious, sometimes life-threatening problems such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways of the lungs.”
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Biggest NICU Question: When Can Preemie Go Home?

Biggest NICU Question: When Can Preemie Go Home?

It is understandable that as soon as you begin healing up, have visited with your new baby, and met with the hospital staff as to your little one’s well being, your first question will be, "When can we all go home?" When I had my babies over 30 years ago, that was the first thing on my mind! The wonderful saying from the Wizard of Oz went through my mind, "There is no place like home; there is no place like home!" These feelings will ring even louder when you have been in the NICU a few days or weeks, and you want to bring your little preemie home.

First, I preface this with the fact that every hospital has its own protocol and requirements for going home. This article is just a broad accumulation of information we have gathered for you. There will be some milestones your baby needs to first reach before this can happen. Whenever we write about these types of things we must add, "Ask your hospital for their specific requirements." That goes for clothing, visitors, and the timing for baby going home.
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What Preemie Clothes Should I Get to Dress My Preemie?

What Preemie Clothes Should I Get to Dress My Preemie?

I am sure you have put a lot of thought into planning your baby’s wardrobe. It is one of the fun things a Mom gets to do while her belly is growing, and she is preparing for the new baby to arrive. Then you get faced with the surprise of having a preemie, and you wonder, “what now?” The truth is your preemie will not need a lot of clothing for the first few weeks of life. The hospital staff will be busy trying to assess your baby's levels to see what they may need in regards to oxygen, feeding, and monitoring their temperature. During this time, there are some cool essential accessories that your preemie will be able to wear long before clothing. Most hospitals allow little hats to be worn right off the bat.
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What Does Adjusted Age Mean?

What Does Adjusted Age Mean?

What does adjusted age mean? What does "My baby is 6 months old, 4 months adjusted" represent and how do you figure this out? Does this apply for their whole life? When does it go away? When you have a preemie, there are so many things that are new and unknown. We want to help you along your journey and help answer some of these questions.
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The wonderful benefits of Kangaroo Care.

The wonderful benefits of Kangaroo Care.

Today is National Kangaroo Care Day. We think the practice of snuggling with your new little baby is just the best! We wanted to share some benefits and highlights with you today.

Kangaroo care is often defined as, laying your baby on your bare chest (if you’re the father) or between your bare breasts (if you’re the mother), it is also described as skin-to-skin care because your baby’s bare skin is touching your bare skin. It is then common for the nursing staff to then cover you both with a warm snuggly blanket for a great little cuddle time. So why is this so important for a preemie? Well, it's not just for baby. Kangaroo care is great for both you and your baby.
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Two Apps for Preemie Parents

Two Apps for Preemie Parents

With all of today's technology and apps for almost everything, we are happy to introduce you to two that are here to help preemie parents during their journey through the NICU. 

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The A-Z's of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

The A-Z's of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

We often reflect on the fact that parents usually don't know they are going to have a premature baby. Most commonly we expect to carry the baby nine months, plan our gender reveal, enjoy our baby shower and then be ready for the final count down. Then all of a sudden something unforeseen happens and you find yourself in the NICU. You are thrown in a world of the unknown NICU, and you are trying to figure it all out quickly. 

We have compiled a list of NICU terms you may be hearing; it is our hope this will help you get further down the road of understanding what is happening with your little one. They are listed in alphabetical order with an easy to understand definition to help you navigate your way through your NICU journey.  
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Can Preemie Parents Have PTSD?

Can Preemie Parents Have PTSD?

Right off you may be asking yourself, "Why would she be writing about PTSD on a Preemie site?" We often hear about PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome) in regards to combat situations on the news. However, for families who have spent time in the NICU, they would say it was combat. They were there fighting day in and day out for their babies' survival! After I read several stories about parents' various NICU experiences, I realized that this is an issue that many preemie families are dealing with. 

First of all, many parents do not have a clue that they are going to experience the ride of the NICU! They are just beginning their pregnancy journey and the joy it brings. Perhaps they may have only recently found out if they are going to have a little boy or girl. The nursery plans are forming, and Mom is just trying to embrace the changes in her body. Life is getting exciting! The hope of the new life growing inside and the reality of a little one joining the family is building in anticipation. Then suddenly, a doctor's visit or an emergency event occurs and she finds herself in the hospital. Doctors are talking about c-section, placenta previa, placental abruption, incompetent cervix, and many other medical terms that one may have never heard before. One begins to ask and wonder, "Why me?" "What did I do wrong?" Along with many other questions all spinning around in one's head. Meanwhile, there are a million sounds, people, nurses, social workers, billing paperwork, lab techs coming in to poke the mom; who can't get out of bed, even to pee! Ugh – the world starts to spin out of control and your stuck right in the middle of it thinking, "What happened to that happy little world I was just reveling in?"
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Preemie Parent - It's Not Your Fault!

Preemie Parent - It's Not Your Fault!

Recently, I have read several posts on social media where Mom's are talking about feeling guilty about having a preemie. I read with compassion and tried to understand because I did not have a preemie. I have been blessed to have had three reasonably normal pregnancies. I did deal with gestational diabetes with the last one, but all I had to give up was sugar. That was not a bad thing! The 10 pounds I didn't gain with that pregnancy was a blessing in the end!  

From the minute we become pregnant, our "mother" instincts come to life, and we want nothing but the best for our babies! We start to worry about what we eat, what we drink, are we doing this right, or are we doing that wrong?!
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