"Even with ups and downs in life, my NICU experience isn't something that I'd wish on my worst enemy. The whole thing has made me truly appreciate the delicate balance of life and love. I didn't know that I'd be delivering my son early (25 weeks). I had a miscarriage a few months earlier so when the bleeding started, I thought I was going through another heartbreak. I went to the hospital thinking that I was going to need medical assistance to pass a fetus that was already gone. But we received a huge surprise that PJ was still fighting to live.
Peter James was born at 24 weeks and 6 days at 1 pound, 10 ounces. We were in shock but relieved to know he had all 10 fingers and 10 toes. There was hardly time to process what was happening. We were supposed to be happy to have our son all while being fearful that he might not thrive at all. I went back to work 4 days after delivery. I was being practical with my time off from work since I had no idea when PJ would be coming home. It was tiring going to work everyday and then running to the hospital after that. But I couldn't bear not seeing him. I think I cried every time I saw him because I felt so guilty for not being able to carry him longer. I felt that everything he was experiencing was my fault. I was convinced that he was in pain every time he moved or made a facial expression. Luckily, the nurses assured me that he was okay and making progress each day. I internalized all my feelings. Thanks to a good friend who reached out to Sending Love And Hope, the care package of preemie clothes I received gave me the first wake up call that my baby was more than just a myriad of tubes and wires. The fits of tears became less frequent with each visit. I started to have hope and a little panic about the preparation for PJ's homecoming. The 114 days spent in the NICU were still full of steps forward and back. I never thought I'd be so happy just to see my baby take a breath on his own. Those were the milestones that we reached with each day. Finally, discharge day arrived. It was the start of the best adventure yet. My little family has begun and it's been wonderfully full of sleepless nights. But it's great.
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