Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What I Learned At The Children's Hospital

I've been thinking a lot over the last several days of the lessons we've learned through our experience at the children's hospital this last month.

#1 It can always be worse. By spending time with the other NICU parents, I was able to gain a much better perspective on our trials with Crew. There is always someone in a more difficult situation medically, financially, and emotionally.

I learned through talking to the moms and dads that Crew was one of the very lucky ones, one of the very healthy ones. And as much as I hated the commute, it was only an hour. There are plenty of parents who have had their children transported from out of state, several hundred miles away. And last, but not least, not everyone has our phenomenal network of neighborly or family support.

#2 You have to be tough as nails to advocate effectively for your children. Since we went up almost a month ago, I have been slowly becoming more and more vocal about his care. I never wanted to become "that mom" and I have tried to resist the nutcase within, but I've learned that, as in most situations in life, it's the squeaky wheels that get the grease.

It seems to me that this was an important lesson for me to learn: confidence in firm, diplomatic advocacy. It wasn't until I made a stand over the weekend that things finally started to come together. Things that I had stewed privately about, fretted quietly about, and blogged publicly about were finally resolved and the lines of communication were blasted wide open at last. Even if it's uncomfortable, you have to be direct and firm or you'll get nowhere. There are no other options. And... it gets more comfortable with practice. I found my "chi" and my sanity just in time to be discharged. Oh well, lesson learned anyway.

I'm not the same mom that I was a month ago. I'm more educated about what goes on in the NICU, I'm more comfortable with caring physically for my wee little micro-preemie, and I'm a better and stronger advocate for his needs.

I'm excited to be back at our local hospital. It felt like coming home when I walked through the doors tonight for a bedtime peek. After almost a month away, the desk staff and nurses actually recognized me on sight and welcomed me back like a long lost friend. Nurses were fluttering around Crew, oohing and ahhing over how good he looks and how much they have missed him. He was tucked in snug and swaddled up tight, just the way he prefers. It feels really good to be back "home". And I love that they always have free juice in the pumping lounge :)

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