Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Life in the NICU - the Sibling Factor

The NICU is a place of rest and healing. There is soft lighting and not a lot of noise. The nurses try to create a place resembling life in the womb to allow these little ones to grow.
My daughter has 2 noisy big brothers (ages 2 and 5) - what were we going to do with them. The first 2 weeks we were in the NICU we were quite blessed. My mom was here to help out. I could go up to the hospital and not worry about my boys, she had it all under control. Of course this couldn't last forever. She had responsibilities back home and had to go eventually. So how did I cope with balancing my daughters needs and my boys?
First - I took them both up for individual visits at the hospital so that they would know what was going on. I explained everything I could in language they would understand. I also let them know that yes, she would be leaving the hospital eventually and living with us (very important for my 2 year old who has been the family baby until now). I also packed a backpack full of activities for them. Colour Wonder colouring books, hot wheels cars, stickers and paper. Anything that would keep them quiet and busy while I tended to my daughters' needs.
Then we got ready to all go up together. I knew that the space we would be in was small for 2 busy boys. Before we even left for the hospital we talked about my expectations of them. They needed to stay quiet (for both their sister and the other babies), they needed to stick like glue to me (no running around and being foolish) and they needed to get along with each other, listening to me.
So we did it. We all went up. And the plan worked. I had both of them there at least once a day over the past week and a half. We always reviewed the hospital rules on the way there, and they amazed me by following through so well. I'm so proud of them! It can be done, you just have to figure out a way to do it.

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