I haven't talked about the NICU in awhile, actually haven't even worked that many shifts lately. This is partly because I was out of town for Liam's burial for a few of my shifts and then Dereck and I were both sick so I was not able to go in. On the days I have made it in, like this afternoon for instance, I have felt little to no desire to really be there.
Recently it has seemed that every baby I have been holding has coincidentally been born at the same number of weeks and approx. the same weight as Liam was. These babies are still in the NICU and are now 1-3 months old. I am happy that they are still fighting and growing and have made such progress since they were born so early, but it pains me all at the same time. Why does it seem to be bothering me more now than it did a few months ago when I first started?
When I first started volunteering in the NICU I wanted so badly to make Liam proud and do whatever I could do to help other little babies thrive since I could no longer do that for my own son. A few months later I still think the program is phenomenal but feeling like my need to want to be in the NICU was beyond just trying to help other babies. I'm starting to feel like maybe it had more to do with me trying to fill this void I was missing in my own life. That since I couldn't hold and cuddle Liam then I could go to the NICU and do that with another baby, and for those 2 hours that void could be filled.
I had said in the beginning that other happy babies with their happy families bothered the crap out of me, but yet I could handle the babies in the NICU fine. So what has changed with me? Is it because I have seen so many babies recently that have been so close to Liam's number of weeks at birth doing so well. Knowing that if he wouldn't have died in surgery that day that he could be continuing to grow just like these babies. I am thinking it also might be related to the fact that I am ttc again. I know I can volunteer in there through my next pregnancy but just don't think I could handle it. I thought about asking if I could work less hours but I think even being in there I am going to get paranoid that if one of the babies has an infection somehow it'll spread to my growing baby. I also don't want to bail on them either. The hospital had to pay to get us fingerprinted and do orientations with us at no cost to us and I also had to get extra shots to be in the NICU. They also wanted at least a 6 month commitment.
I have also been thinking about my next baby and how this will most likely be the hospital I will deliver him at. Liam of course was not delivered here since we had the surgery in San Francisco and there was not a neurosurgeon in Alaska that would have been able to give Liam the care he would have needed as a Spina Bifida baby even if we would have chose to not do the surgery. So even though I haven't delivered in this hospital before I know the NICU and in the 9 months of carrying my next baby if I were to stay volunteering I will know it even better. Which I guess could be a good thing but I don't know if I want to get that close to any of the nurses there. I don't talk to them much now but what if I am pregnant and showing and then they start asking questions about other children, etc. Do I tell them? I mean they are NICU nurses, I am sure they have seen and heard there fair share of sick or dying baby stories. I guess I am thinking too far ahead but thinking about what if I don't get my happy ending next time or that baby is in the NICU for long periods of time.
I know I am thinking way too much about this, can't help it, its the paranoid, crazy, worrier in me. I can guarantee one thing though and that is if I continue in the NICU until I have my next baby, no matter how early he/s he is born, I'll have had plenty of experience holding preemies and have a little bit of a good knowledge base of what they need when they are that small.