In February 2020 we welcomed our first child into the world. What I always hoped would be the most beautiful day of our lives, was the beginning of a terrifying chapter. Henry was born at 27 weeks gestation weighing a mere 2lbs 6oz. The day of his birth was a mix of conflicting feelings; the agonizing uncertainty of a troubled pregnancy had finally come to an end, and we were now entering the agonizing uncertainty of a long hospital stay.
Being wheeled into my baby’s room for the first time was like entering a new dimension. The sights and sounds of the machinery were overwhelming. Somewhere under the tubes and wires laid my newborn baby, except, he wasn’t full term. He wasn’t lying next to me in my recovery room swaddled in his monogramed blanket. I didn’t get to hear a cry, attempt to breastfeed, or change his first diaper. Instead, his skin had a red hue, his face was covered by respiratory equipment, and his chest was speckled with electrodes as he was laying in an enclosed isolette.
Day one, there is only a finite amount of information we would be able to comprehend. Though, as each day passed, we realized our baby was in good hands, receiving the best care. We also learned that the nurses are part angel, as they not only nurture the babies, but the parents too. We were taught how to change diapers, administer feeds through a feeding tube, and even snuggle his tiny body on our chest. Every first hands-on experience made us doubt our capabilities, but after two months passing and nearly 4lbs gained, we were ready to take the NICU knowledge home with us. Thanks to our extended stay and daily visits, we were taught schedules, hygiene, nutrition, and great confidence in bringing home our now healthy and thriving son.
Today we celebrate milestones we weren’t sure we would ever experience. Henry, and his journey, have been the greatest joy of our lives, and our gratitude for his life is never lost.
Story told by mom, Chelsea!