I just found out that a friend of mine recently received the devastating news that her weeks old baby has contracted a serious illness and now the family is looking at months of hospitalization. I want to give my support and help out in any way I can.
For anyone who has lived through the experience of having a child with an extended illness, what are some of the things that you found the most helpful or appreciated the most?
This is the story of how I, quite accidentally, became a milk donor after the birth of my second child. It has truly been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. Because I have come to believe milk donation is so important, not only for the babies who receive the milk, but also for the mothers who give it, I decided to write this essay in part to help spread the word so that other women will consider donation too.
We had come to terms with Quinn’s condition and were anxious to meet the little guy, but not quite so soon, especially since we had spent most of the pregnancy facing numerous health scares. Our many doctors told us that our son’s health would depend on his arrival: the later he was born, the better. Since my first son arrived two weeks early, I repeatedly told this guy to stay put and crossed my fingers that he would listen. But in a rebellious fashion that mirrors my own, Quinn decided to do things on his own time.
Despite being early and carrying my first child, my body felt built for labor. I dilated quickly and contractions became rhythmic almost immediately. I found myself totally silent and occasionally wept over the situation. I used my wedding ring as a focal point and comfort object to touch, as my heart sank with each contraction knowing my husband was going to miss the birth of his first child.
My daughter didn’t arrive into this world kicking and screaming. She was silent and still. Within seconds, she was whisked away from me to the emergency table in the corner of the delivery room. My husband followed, but was unable to do anything but watch as she was surrounded by medical staff. My doula finally told me that she was a girl — I hadn’t thought to ask. I’d only seen a glimpse of her little body.
I’ll never forget the moment I realized I didn’t get to hold my baby right after his birth like I was “supposed” to. It wasn’t when you would think, but instead it happened several hours later when I sat alone in my half of a shared hospital room and listened to the woman next to me coo at her baby. All of a sudden it hit me: I didn’t get to do that, and I didn’t know when I would.
After Courtney’s son spent four and a half months in the NICU she had to challenge herself to feel confident in her ability to keep her son safe. First step? Getting out of the house.
I recently had a pre-term baby and much of our lives have been spent in the NICU. Since then I’ve noticed the nurses, doctors and lactation consultants expect my husband to be a poor father to our baby. It irks me. For example, whenever the doctors or nurses come to talk to us about our baby they always speak to me only. They only ask me about the baby’s feeding habits. The nurses are surprised when my hubby gets up to change the diaper and does well with it. The lactation consultants ask me about my milk supply even though he is the one processing and keeping record of volumes. It is like they expect men to be uninvolved and distant. It is a shame.