There’s a new show on Discovery Health called NICU.
As in, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
As in, The Place You Don’t Want to Be.
As in, this.
I decided to watch this show, because, well…I don’t really know. Because it’s like a club. A secret society. Not one you really want to be a part of, but one that you are forced into and proudly wear your badge on the way out of. But one you know that so many people don’t ever leave. It’s a place where babies go to live. And it’s a place where babies go to die. It is a contradiction of the highest order.
I am not one to cry. I think I’ve mentioned before that my husband refers to me as an emotionless robot (in a lovingly and joking way, of course – I think)? Let’s just say that the preview to the show had my eyes welling up with tears. There was one running down my cheek before the opening credits rolled.
There is something powerful about the NICU that tugs at me in a way nothing else does. Because I’ve been there? Because I know families who never made it out? Because I know the heart-wrenching intense pain of seeing your baby there? Of not being able to hold the child you grew for 9+ months?
As sad as it is to see those babies – and it is really, really sad – I think what really tugs at my heart is the connection I feel with the parents. The sadness over having to wait days to hold your child. The hope you have in hearing that they will soon go home, followed by the extreme disappointment of hearing you have to leave them another night. It’s just something I connect with. I wish no one had to feel that kind of pain.
But I will continue to watch. Because I feel like those are my brothers and sisters. Even though some of them make stupid decisions (like getting pregnant while extremely obese and having type 2 diabetes) that are the root cause of their child being placed in the NICU, I can’t be mad at them at a time like this. I just wait and hope for a happy ending.