Tough. It can mean adapting to resist roughness, i.e.strong and durable. It can also mean difficult. A stay in the NICU requires a little of both. The NICU requires parents to adapt or be tough to stay sane during the rough times of the NICU. It also is innately tough. No parent usually plans for a NICU stay as the home for their child at the end of their pregnancy. No matter how tough you think you are, random acts of kindness can cut through a parent’s outer layer of toughness. Despite the best attempts to not cry in efforts to be strong for their child, the well meaning hug and kind words from a fellow parents or NICU staff member can break through that toughness and activate the human side again – the side that feels all the the feels of being in the NICU… the thankfulness, the terror, the gratitude, the frustration, the awe and the awful.
I imagine that it is tough to be a NICU nurse or a neonatologist. Working on such tiny, little fragile humans requires precision, daring, and courage. It also requires compassion, determination, and patience. They are not only the nurse for the babies under their care, they are also a friend, counselor, and teacher to the NICU parents. It takes such a special person to do this job. They are incredibly tough people.
Today was a tough day. Watching our baby suffer through getting her shots while having her feeds compressed and weaned off oxygen at the same time on top of having her eyes examined and her status for bottles evaulated by PT/OT made her incredibly exhausted. It was tough to leave her at the hospital. However, my body is not acting so tough right now – its showing the signs of stress that it has been under for the last two months. I am developing chronic hypertension as a result of the severe pre-eclampsia and HELLP I had. I now have to go see specialists, that will take time away from being with Abigail to support her. Our nurse tonight made me cry. She told us that we were doing everything right, and that there is nothing that we could do differently that would make her heal faster.