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Taking Care of Preemie Moms

March 27, 2015

Twenty-three years ago today was our last day on the NICU at Evanston Hospital after more than fives months. While I can’t remember much about the last week of my life, I remember almost everything about those long days long ago. I know full well that without the expertise of their excellent caregivers, Isaac and Molly would not be here today. But I knew even then that those caregivers were taking care of Kenn and me (especially me) even as they cared for our children.

Red heart treeI’ve been fortunate enough to stay in touch with many of those caregivers, and even more fortunate to have developed a 23-year friendship with one of our primary care nurses, Jill Miller Wilke. Jill quite literally saved my life when we were on the unit—finding answers for me when she didn’t have them herself, offering support and comfort, crying with me, making me laugh, and fighting tenaciously for my babies. She has gone on to have an extraordinary career beyond her 15 years as a NICU nurse. She has worked on the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit), as an emergency room nurse, a sexual assault nurse, and an organ/tissue donation liaison. Jill is now the lead educator for Bereavement Services, developing and presenting training programs for medical professionals and support personnel.

The other day, she texted me to let me know that she had written a guest post at Preemie Babies 101. While she generously credits me for having inspired the post, I can tell you this is 100% Jill, still taking care of people better than anyone I knew. Preemie moms (really, all moms), should read her post and take her words to heart. Thank you, Jill, for this and all you do.

{Professional Insight}: Loving Yourself
by Jill Miller Wilke, BSN, RN, CPLC

The month of February is full of roses, dinner dates, love letters, champagne, and sugary delights in heart shaped boxes… Not exactly the things that a mom in the NICU—sitting in a rocking chair, watching numbers on a monitor, praying her baby will be OK—is experiencing.

It’s not uncommon for a NICU mom to feel isolated and alone. Most people don’t understand what it’s like to sit, day after day, waiting patiently for a glimpse of little eyes opening, for the opportunity to snuggle, for a chance to be a parent and feel loved. As a NICU nurse for 15 years, I have heard mothers blame themselves, beat themselves up, and diminish their role as a parent, but I’m here to tell you: you are a hero. (read more)

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 16, 2015 12:00 am

    I got Listeria which caused my son to be born 11 weeks early weighing in at 2lbs 15oz. I did indeed blame myself and it took almost a whole year to stop pointing the finger at myself. I do agree that no one truly understood the emotions that I felt and then trying to maintain calm in the public eye.Today, my son is a healthy and curious toddler

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