Leaving Baby at the NICU
A parents’ survival guide for when a preemie needs intensive care
Talk To Other Parents of Preemies
Though the NICU will be bustling with people and activity, it can still feel very lonely at times. But hospital support groups, some facilitated by a medical social worker, can be immensely helpful. Meeting survivors of the NICU may be the most inspiring and powerful boost for parents whose babies are facing a long stay. And something about the NICU experience draws parents back—it's not unusual to see a parent visit with a beautiful healthy toddler. "On our third day, a mother brought in her baby who had spent time here. I asked her, 'How did you get through months? I can't even get through this day.' It helped so much to talk to her," recalls Roberts.
Believe In Miracles
Although my husband and I are sorry that we ever had to discover the NICU, we'll always be grateful for the medical miracles that saved our daughter's life. And even with all the latest high-tech equipment, new drugs, and sensitive monitors, there is room for the wonder and awe that accompany the birth of any baby. Cork feels inspired every time she looks at her son. She says, "I am still so proud of what he did. He was four pounds, four ounces at his lowest weight, and he had trouble breathing. Now he's sitting here smiling and eating his socks!" Lerner-Ernsteen still draws strength from the thought of her twins' struggle for survival. "They were barely a pound and they were fighting for their lives. How could I give up?" she says. "They're still my heroes."
Sharon Epel is a freelance writer.