With the Fourth of July here, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about holidays with your NICU graduate.
For the majority of families, holidays are a time to spend with each other, to have fun, eat good food, give thanks and celebrate. That is how it is with my family. However, when you have a child in the NICU, celebrating holidays take a back seat to the stress, responsibility, concern, and sadness that can come with caring for your fragile baby.
Our little boy was thrust into this world in mid-November. Normally, Thanksgiving and the holidays are a very joyous time in our lives. We love eating the foods that are traditionally served during that time, and love watching our children enjoy Christmas. With Jaxon in the NICU, fighting for his life, there was no way this holiday season was going to be the same. We did what we could for our older children so they could have a resemblance of a normal Christmas, but for every moment of joy, we had a moment of sorrow for Jaxon. What helped me get through the holidays was thinking to myself that the next holiday season Jaxon will be home with us, my family will be complete, and we can celebrate together. I did the same for Easter and Memorial Day, since they passed with him still in the hospital.
Then the day we were all waiting for, his homecoming came at the very end of May. The next holiday was the Fourth of July. However, instead of celebrating like we normally would, we had to scale it down to just our little family because we didn’t want to endanger my little boy’s health by exposing him to the world. And that was just fine with us! As the months went by, he grew stronger and he was able to enjoy all of the fall holidays with his family. However, Christmas again was different. Jaxon was fine, but because one of his little cousins was recently ill, it was best that he didn’t celebrate with the rest of the family. Jaxon and I stayed behind while my wife and kids went to my in laws for Christmas. It was disappointing since we had been waiting for this day since the previous year, but Jaxon and I had our own little celebration. It was full of giggles, smiles, and we got some good news about one of Jaxon’s NICU brothers. It was a very special time for us and I was grateful to experience it with him. Jaxon gets bigger and grows stronger every day and we are able to celebrate holidays together with our family once again. To parents who have a baby in the NICU, I know having your child in the hospital over a holiday is very difficult to deal with, and is downright saddening. Hang in there! When your baby’s stay in the hospital is over and you are able to celebrate those special days with your little NICU grad, it will make it more special!