Break down when we leave NICU — The Bump
Preemies

Break down when we leave NICU

Today is day 16 of our NICU stay and each day gets more difficult. The past two weeks I have been really physically unwell (needed blood transfusion after c-section) I've been focusing on making myself better so that I can care for these two when they get home.

Now that I am feeling much better physically it is hitting me harder every time we leave the NICU -we are leaving but they are not coming home with us. I just feel like they took my babies out of my body and won't give them back to me. I go home and feel empty and can't stop crying. This just freaking sucks.  DH gets it, but just doesn't feel the same way.

I guess I just need to know that this is normal. No one seems to understand, they just say how lucky I am to be able to heal and get rest before they come home. Lucky my a*s*s. 

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Re: Break down when we leave NICU

  • Your post is EXACTLY how I felt every night when I had to leave them and go home. I hated hearing nurses tell me that at least I could get some rest or get things done around the house. I wanted my babies! I felt like I was leaving a piece of my soul behind everynight and it didn't feel natural. It was like they weren't in my body but yet they weren't with me, my body just didn't get it and I was an emotional wreck. So, yes what you're feeling is totally normal.

    The only thing a nurse told me that I didn't want to throat punch her for was that one day this will all be a memory. That my babies would be home and I'd look back at my NICU experience like it was ages ago.And truth be told, that's exactly what happend. It's now a memory and although I do still feel like I was cheated out of alot of things, I'm ok and my babies are ok. And I promise, you will be ok to. It just takes time.

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  • One of the most annoying things is the whole "oh you get to go home and sleep, you are so lucky" comments. I ripped someone a new azzhole when they said it, letting them know how lucky I was that I got to bawl my eyes out each night when Dh crowbarred me out of the unit. How lucky I was that I got to go home and panic about how LO was doing, etc.

    People who say those things are stupid. They aren't thinking before they speak. I know it's sort of a you-have-to-be-there to sorta get it, but I mean really, who couldn't put themselves in your place and realize that isn't a helpful thing to say? Grrr.

    I feel your pain.

    For me, things got a lot worse the better Olivia got, because while I was there I was diapering her, bathing her, feeding her, etc. Then at the end of the day I couldn't just do that all night. When she was on the vent, etc, it was like "okay, there's not much I can do for her, maybe she just needs to rest and won't realize I'm not there" type of thing. It got harder as time went on.

    Especially when one doc kept getting our hopes up about when she would be able to go home. Her bilirubin levels were so rocky, we were ready to bring her home 3x before she actually got the green light to go home ( and we still needed a wallaby light once we were home).

    *hugs* what you are feeling is totally normal.

     

  • ((hugs))

    When you're in the thick of it, it's terribly frustrating to leave the hospital without your LOs.  What you're feeling is completely normal.  

    I know it's hard to hear when people tell you to get your rest, and that they don't go straight into kindergarten from the NICU (my goodness, that line got old fast).  But it really is the truth.  Your babies will come home to you while they're still babies.  And if you let yourself, you can be completely physically healed and healthy before they come home.

    (((hugs))) come and vent your frustrations here any time.  Any time.  We're all here for you.

  • It goes against every grain of our being to leave our child/children.  I am betting that when you envisioned having a child, part of that vision included bringing the child home with you from the hospital.  As mothers, it is something that we all dream about.  Oh and the 'lucky you get to sleep' comments are so frustrating.  Lucky?  No, you see, lucky would be having the luxury of holding your babies whenever you want and not having to ask the nurse if it was a good time in case they had just given him/her a bath or whatever, or not being glued to the numbers on the monitors and having your heart skip a beat with each change or not panicking when you are home every time the phone rings.  Normal?  Your feelings are completely normal.  Hopefully you find comfort in knowing that even if it doesn't make it much easier.  I have said this many times - the women on here are great and such an incredible support system.  We are all here for you.
  • ugh.. all those well meaning "look at the bright side" comments make me want to vomit. it is SO hard.. and no one understands that hasn't been through it.

    i felt the exact same way! actually asked to board an extra week after i was discharged.. that extra time helped me adjust a little before actually leaving with without her. do they have boarding or "rooming in" there?  (my transfusion was before my section- but i was in a week or two after that anyway from the hellp.)

    it is 100% normal. mourn the loss of your pregnancy... the loss of the ideal "coming home" photos, and walking out those doors with them. i found that expressing it... and crying it out really helped. even though your husband doesn't mourn the same way you do (or necessarily "get it") lean on him, and express deeply how you feel to him.. sometimes our men give us strength that we don't have ourselves. (in my case anyway... his not feeling as empty as me helped him help me though what i was feeling.)

    i did a post on "what not to say" a while back... maybe you could subtly pass it along to well meaning friends and family? :) or just the whole website- and they could "stumble upon" the friends and family section?

    http://www.followingwren.com/2009/08/what-not-to-say-to-preemie-parents.html

  • I used to get physically sick on almost a daily basis when I left the NICU.  I used to tell people it's like a hormone is released after you have a baby that says baby needs to be connected to the mom, if it's not, I'm broken.  That's what it felt like.  I ached so much.  I did feel a bit better at nights after my breakdown doing their laundry for all their preemie things, even if it was just one or two outfits that day.  I'd dress them, I'd bring in lotions for them, etc.  It would make me feel good for a moment.  But I didn't sleep at all.  I'd call the nurses all through the night.  I'd even do surprise visits at midnight.  They are my babies and that brought back my control being able to go there whenever I wanted even if it was "off hours".  When people would say to me rest all you can, I'd say how can I rest, I have newborns in the NICU.  If they were home I wouldn't be resting either.  My best night sleep was the night before I went to pick them up.  It was like delivery day all over again.
  • It is normal, yes. I cried my way out of the hospital on a regular basis.

    And yes, I agree that it seemed to get harder as time went on. I mean, some of the things lessened.. but feeling so empty away from him just got harder and harder. 

    I'll be honest, I had a hard time talking to anyone who wasn't in the NICU or had NICU experience. I felt very anxious anywhere but there, and being around "normal" people felt very surreal to me. I couldn't have idle conversation. Someone saying they wished their kid would eat their vegetables would send me over the edge. "YOU GET TO HOLD YOUR CHILD ANY TIME YOU WANT TO" was all that would go through my head. I knew it was completely irrational, so it was just better not avoid people. 

    Maybe not the most mentally healthy coping mechanism but it got me through.

  • What you are feeling is definitely normal.  It's so hard to leave your babies there-you feel so helpless.  You have to leave them in someone else's care and go home to your empty house.  It's a terrible feeling.

    My DH was the same way, he understood, but he didn't feel quite like I did about it.  I'm sure part of it was me mourning the loss of my pregnancy and the way that things were "supposed" to be.  I did feel much better once I talked to him about it though.  It helped him to understand my constant crying and helped me get through it too.

    And you're right, no one else understands.  They can't understand unless it happens to them.  I got comments like "well, at least you don't have to wear maternity clothes anymore" and "at least you can sleep at night".  They had no idea how much I'd love to still be in my maternity clothes or to be up multiple times in the middle of the night to take care of my baby.  They are trying to be helpful or optimistic but don't realize how hurtful their comments can be.  Try to not let those comments bother you too much, because they really don't get it.

    Things will get better, hang in there.  We are all here for you if you need support, need to vent, have a question, whatever. 

  • Everything you are feeling is very normal...I feel so empty every time I walk out that door.  I just want my baby in my arms 24/7.  It is so hard also bc every time I walk in the door, my daughter asks if I brought her home yet?!  I just wanna break down sobbing, but i have to stay strong bc I still have her to come home to at night and I don't want her to think she isn't enough.  But I totally feel like they cut my baby out of me and took her away.  I can't wait until she is ALL MINE.
  • I'm right there with you. Leaving him every night is by far the hardest thing I've ever done. You can scroll down and read the question I asked about how long everyone stayed with their LO in the NICU each day....that's hard too. Some of the response's given really helped me mentally prepare each time we leave/don't stay as long as I want.

    I don't have anything to add beyond what pp said - except THANK YOU for posting this question. The responses are so helpful to know that what we're feeling is normal (and it appears, normal that our DHs aren't necessarily feeling the same level of emotions).

  • ((hugs)) I use to want to slap people who told me that at least I can get some sleep.  It is so hard, I have nothing more to add but just to let you are not alone!!
  • I must just be wierd but I have breakdowns on the way to the hospital to see Aiden. On the way home I do better.

    I can say I know how you feel about the stupid comments and I hate my entire family right now because they just have no clue. Well maybe not hate but I am sure you see what I am trying to say.

    A small start at 2lb 9oz, 60 day NICU stay, and 6 months of O2 My 30 weeker is growing up! <a href="http://s83.photobucket.com/albums/j320/bippy798/?action=view
  • Thank you all for your replies, they made me feel a lot better. Last night was rough, but just knowing you guys understand helps. 

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    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

    IVF#2-BFP -TWINS!, Born at 32w6d

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