Life Lessons Found in the NICU

A little over a year ago my husband and I embarked on not our first or our second, but our THIRD preemie adventure.

First, let’s talk about delivery one and two. My oldest son was born on June 10, 2011 at 32 weeks. Moments before delivery, I was told by the neonatal nurse that my baby would probably be admitted to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). The nurse was correct. I was able to hold Liam for a couple minutes then they quickly whisked him past the waiting room to the NICU. My family only got a glimpse of him. Then several days later, I would be discharged and Liam would stay at the hospital for 28 days. During this stay, I learned about the NICU and how to take care for my baby in the way he needed to be cared for. Liam is now an incredible 6 year old. We still remind him how strong he was in those first 28 days, and how strong he is now because he had to fight his way here.

A few short years later on September 7, 2013, our second son Colin was born at 34 weeks. This time I felt much more prepared. I knew what the nurses were going to tell me about my baby going to NICU. I knew my baby wouldn’t stay very long with me after delivery. I knew Liam would not get to meet his baby brother except through a window, and most of all, I knew I would be leaving my baby at the hospital when I was discharged. BUT I also knew my baby would come home with me when he was ready, and I knew the best place for Colin was in the care of the nurses and doctors in NICU. We juggled life for 27 days with Liam at home and Colin in the hospital. Colin is now an amazing 4 year old, and this guy needs no reminding about how strong he was and still is.  

Now that we are all caught up, I can tell you about Reid, our third son.

Reid was born on July 28, 2016. My entire pregnancy I told my physician we weren’t having a baby until 35 weeks. I felt at 35 weeks there was a strong chance I would get everything I wanted from this delivery:

  1. A healthy baby
  2. To keep my baby in my arms after delivery
  3. For Liam and Colin to meet their sibling in person and
  4. To take our baby home with us when I was discharged. 

One week short of my “goal,” we decided we had taken this pregnancy as far as possible.  

On July 28, I had my third healthy baby boy. After delivery, I was able to hold Reid as long as I wanted and we all stayed in the operating room together. Following delivery, Reid came in the recovery room with me, and he was able to meet his older brothers in person. Now, this is when things deviated slightly from my dream scenario.

After being in recovery for 4 hours, Reid’s oxygen levels were not holding. The nurse from NICU came in to talk to me about taking Reid to NICU. I knew this was where he needed to be and was almost thankful because I knew his levels were not right. Reid was really thriving, but he just needed time. On day 4 of our hospital stay, I was told I would be discharged. We went to visit Reid, and the neonatologist told us he wasn’t quite ready for discharge, but offered for us to “room in” (meaning we would stay in a room in the hospital with Reid), and if he did well he would be discharged the following day. It all started to hit me there was a chance we could all go home together! Reid had a great night and first thing the next morning, he was discharged.

I was wheeled out of the hospital HOLDING MY BABY!

I wished, hoped, and prayed for my dream delivery, and while it didn’t come in the exact way I thought it would, I got exactly what I wanted:

  1. A healthy baby
  2. To keep my baby in my arms after delivery
  3. For Liam and Colin to meet their sibling in person and
  4. To take our baby home with us when I was discharged.

For me, each NICU stay is its own journey and each had its own life lessons.

First with Liam, I am not in control.

Then with Colin, Just be patient.

Lastly, with  Reid,Sometimes you get everything you every wanted it is just delivered to you in a slightly different way.

About Erin Dizinno

Erin has been married to her husband, Eric for 10 years.  They live in Metairie where they are raising their three boys, Liam, Colin, and Reid. She has a degree in Mass Communications from LSU and has completed the post graduate program at Louisiana State University Graduate School of Banking.  Erin spent 11 years as a successful commercial banker.  In 2017, she decided to take advantage of an opportunity presented to her and spend more time with her family by working part time as the Comptroller and Marketing Director for Garrity +Accardo Architects.    In addition, Erin also provides whole food nutrition and inspires healthy living across the world though her virtual franchise with The Juice Plus Company.  Erin’s passion project is Delivering Hope NOLA, the nonprofit she co-founded in 2014.   Delivering Hope NOLA was born from the necessity of support for families of premature babies and newborns in Neonatal Intensive Care.  She and 5 other women saw this need and decided to take action.  She is always looking for ways to expand Delivering Hope’s reach. She can be contacted at deliveringhopenola@gmail.com for more information about DHNOLA.

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