The first time you step into a NICU, I think it is a shocker for all new parents.
My first trip was the Monday following Miss Roxy's Saturday arrival. I was only allowed to travel by wheelchair. We stopped at the front desk and asked to be buzzed through.
After getting the okay from Roxy's nurse, we were buzzed through to a huge sink area. We scrubbed in much like you see doctors doing on television. Scrubbing all the way up to our elbows.
Our NICU was a small maze in itself. The various NICU rooms were numbered for a total of nine rooms. Each room had approximately five or six babies in it.
Roxy was in Room 4, bed E. Her room remained a semi-light place where lights were muted. There four incubators and a crib all lined up against one wall. The opposite wall had a window that opened into the central area of the NICU where doctors would gather.
You could hear various dings and alarms sounding throughout the NICU; some muted, others louder and more urgent. The nurses would quietly, but quickly attend to the baby whose monitor was bleeping.
As I walked down the aisle of babies that first time, I found my little one asleep and bundled in the last isolette. She was even tinier than I remember and there were so many cords. She had heart and oxygen monitors attached. Little did I know then that it was no where near the number of cords she would be attached to throughout her stay.
Her tiny diaper was the only thing she was allowed to wear. Her skin was way to fragile to be dressed. We were instructed to gently pat her, not rub. Her skin was too sensitive and it would be sensory overload for her.
I couldn't help myself. I cried. With my index finger inside the isolette barely touching her hand for fear of hurting her, I wondered what I did so wrong to have my baby stuck in such a place. Its a vision that can take your breath away. The unexpected of an expected childbirth.