Dads perspective on bringing home a preemie
Men fix problems – it’s just what we do. When something is wrong it will be fixed… that it, until your baby is in the NICU. Having your baby in the NICU is a trying time for every dad. What makes it especially trying is the fact that most have to go back to work and are not able to spent as much time in the NICU as they want. All NICU parents have feelings of helplessness, but this is especially true for preemie Dads. Having a baby who is sick, can’t breath on his own, or even struggling to survive is very hard, because you can do next to nothing to help them.
I am a Father to 2 preemie boys (29w 6d, and 35w 2d). When our 30-weeker was born, I had just started a new job and had to get back to it a few days after his birth. This was a challenging time for me. I was a first-time father, but I was having a hard time even feeling like it. The feeling of helpless and lack of control overwhelmed me. Then, 42 days after he was born, we took him home. Then I felt like a Dad, sleep deprivation and everything!
Both times we brought out babies home from the NICU, I have the same memorable experience – the walk. The walk is my favorite part of the NICU experience. Our NICU is at the end of a pretty long hallway. When going home we have to walk, with baby strapped in the car seat, all the way down this hallway. This walk is pure happiness. Wife and I are smiling ear-to-ear and everybody stops to congratulate you and share in your excitement. Even as we walk through other units, the nurses congratulate us on the new baby and graduating from the NICU. It is an awesome and humbling experience.
While things were pretty crazy at home for a little while, I was finally able to regain a little control over things and, whether real or perceived, I felt like I was finally able to do things help my son and be a greater part of his care, I finally felt like a Dad.
Thank you to Eric of http://www.preemiedads.blogspot.com for contributing this!