At times while visiting our sweet, tiny girl in the NICU, I would hear a knock at the door of the nurse’s station. It wasn’t the normal entrance to the NICU, so once I realized who was on the other side of the door, a pang of jealousy and bitterness would hit. They were not just NICU parents, they were parents of NICU graduates. There they stood with big, chunky babies,
showing them off as they discussed new milestones. Everyone gathered around to take pictures. I was so happy for them, but here I was, staring into the incubator of a 2lb baby that I couldn’t even hold yet, let alone celebrate big milestones with. I hated feeling that way, but it was my reality. I was angry and jealous and I could not wait until it was us, but that seemed so far away. Little did I know, it would be just 6 weeks until we would be able to bring her home.
Six months passed and it was time for our first post-NICU appointment. It was at the same hospital where Kylie was born and spent time in the NICU. We were walking down the same familiar hallway with a different set of nerves and a little bit of fear. I remembered walking down that same hallway for 6 weeks not sure what would be on the other side of the wall when we entered the NICU. We were about to knock on that same door, the one from which we watched so many happy faces enter. My heart was beating fast, and when our favorite NICU nurses greeted us, I started to cry. We were so happy to be on the other side of things, but as I looked in, I saw the worried faces of mothers who mirrored my own only 6 months earlier. They were so happy for us, but they felt unsure if they’d ever be in our place as they looked in at their tiny babies.
Our first NICU reunion was everything I had hoped it would be. We shared Kylie’s milestones and reminisced, but I had no idea how hard it would be to go back. Although the emotions were overwhelming, I am so glad that with every NICU reunion Kylie got stronger and so did we. We were able to gain strength and healing that only time can give. I am so thankful for the NICU staff at Missoula’s Community Hospital in Missoula, Montana. We are still in contact with many of our nurses to this day and value their friendship!