When your child is in the NICU, you are more than preoccupied with getting your child healthy and ready to come home. There are thousands of things running through your mind. You are starting to get things ready to come home: taking CPR courses, learning all the cords, getting the nursery ready, preparing brothers and sisters for the arrival of the new little one, etc.
I remember sitting in the room and hearing for the first time that Kendall was going to be having surgery #1 …. then #2 …. then #3 …. then #4 ….. then #5 ….. and finally #6. After your child starts to go through multiple surgeries you start to wonder how it is going to affect her! Yes, she is only four months old now, but eventually she will be growing, getting older, and noticing things that are different about her body. I remember feeling 100 different emotions; is she going to remember this, is she going to resent Matt and I because she has scars from surgeries we made her have, will she hate her body?
I was overwhelmed, but ultimately she needed these surgeries. Now lets flash forward 5 years. Kendall has just turned six, and about six months ago she started noticing her scars. Asking me what these were and why she had them, but Brooke did not. They are still young and don’t quite understand their circumstance or the fact that they had different journeys in the NICU. As she starts to get older, she is realizing more and more of her story, and we try to explain to her what each scar is or what surgery caused it. We let her know that it is a reminder of her journey.
The one thing that we try to incorporate each time she brings them up is that THEY SAVED HER LIFE. Although I know there is a point in her life where she is going to resent her body and hate her scars, all we can do is remind her that YES she has scars, YES she was a NICU baby, but ultimately those scars saved her life because they represent her surgeries and how each one impacted her body, her life, and the fact that she is still here with us today.
I know everyone has different stories; however, I believe that scars are something a lot of NICU babies have or will get, and it is ultimately because they needed that surgery to save their life or get them back on track. I just suggest that you remind your son or daughter that their life is precious, the road was rough, we had some setbacks, and you required surgeries and that is why you have the scars. The scars don’t change who you are as a person; it just shows the journey that you have been through.