Modern medicine & stubborn preemies FTW.
When our son was born at 24 weeks and 1 day, my wife & I got quite the baptism by fire into parenting. He was 1 pound 7 ounces when he was born, and was wheeled straight up to the NICU. He was a fighter, but needed a lot of help. His doctors, nurses, and modern medicine did amazing things. We showed up every day, held him (me for the first time when he was 31 days old), and we prayed.
Somebody was asking for advice on how to survive the NICU recently. A few thoughts:
Doctors are busy! Find the medical team members who have more time to spend with the kid, and get friendly with them.. when our little dude was in the NICU it was the nurses (one in particular who was his primary) then after NICU it ended up being a physical therapist who saw him every week and helped us track his progress / keep us sane.
Every situation is different! Talking to other parents & hearing other stories may help, but it may also be discouraging at times. Sometimes you have to work to detach from comparisons or thinking about fairness/unfairness etc, but i think it is still a net-positive to hear them.
As a parent, you have to keep making at least some minimum amount of time for you. For the two of us, it was making sure we both still exercised twice a week minimum even with everything else going on. Helped with sanity and ability to keep on doing what we needed to do.
Friends are good for support, but will quite possibly fade after an initial few weeks of attention. Pick a few that you need and keep reaching back out of them .. don't just rely on them coming back to you. (As a friend, good to remember to check back in again though!)
Hold that baby! Every chance you get, just sit and hold that kid. It's therapeutic for both sides.
We found our faith to be important too. But that's probably a different story.
Overall we had an amazing outcome but 123 days in the NICU, multiple surgeries, blood transfusions, listening to those monitors beeping and alarming - it feels so out of control & hopeless sometimes. Then you get out, and turns out there just keeps on being stuff to worry about. Hang in there!
Every year, at this time of year, it's mind-blowing to me that we celebrated his birthday in July and still haven't got to his November due date.