25 Signs Your Baby Spent Time in the NICU

You might be a preemie or NICU parent if...

Baby in NICU
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You know your baby spent time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit if you smile, cry, shake your head yes, or find yourself reminiscing about the early NICU days, when you read the following list:

1. You scrub your hands like a surgeon... 100 times a day.

2. You should really consider buying stock in Purell since you practically bathe in it.

3. You plan your day in three-hour increments.

4. You measure your baby's weight in grams instead of pounds and are ecstatic when they gain just a few.

5. You know that kangarooing has nothing to do with the animal or Australia.

6. The phrase “Don’t cry over spilled milk” takes on a whole new meaning after pumping just a few drops of this “liquid gold," then accidentally tipping it over onto the floor.

7. You rejoice at poopy diapers, first time clothes, and tiny cries – all major milestones that need to be celebrated.

8. NPO, ABDs, NG, CPAP, CCs ROP, TPN, and PICC all make sense to you and have become common abbreviations in your vocabulary.

9. You hear five different types of beeping and can distinguish the difference between them, even in your sleep.

10. You know the importance of the phrase suck-swallow-breathe and have prayed for the "light bulb" to come on or for it to "just click" more than you can count.

11. You measure milk in ml's instead of ounces and rejoice when your baby's feeding is advanced even by 1ml.

12. You've heard the term "feeder-grower" and know that it is not the name of a lawn care product or a description of something found at a feed and tack store.

13. You long for open cribs, hearing screens, and car seat testing because you know that means the end of the NICU journey is near.

14. The statement "breastfeeding is natural" makes you laugh – or cry – depending on the day, or even hour.

15. You measure age, not in years or even in months, but in weeks and adjusted weeks.

16. A giraffe is more than an African animal to you.

17. You know what an isolette is and feel comfortable working through tiny portholes, changing diapers, and taking temperatures with ease.

18. You hear the words “brady” and “episode” and know that they are not referring to the 1970s TV show.

19. When your baby is finally discharged from the hospital, the overwhelming joy is coupled with the feeling of uncertainty of what to do with a cordless baby, for you have come to rely on the wires and monitors for reassurance for so long.

20. The answer to "How old is your baby?" turns into a 30-minute conversation.

21. Newborns now look like preschoolers to you.

22. You make friends and family fill out a lengthy health questionnaire before coming over to your house to visit the baby.

23. You have a countdown on your calendar to the day RSV season begins and ends.

24. You have hand sanitizer stashed in every corner of your home, in your purse, and diaper bag-and it has become your number one gift to give others.

25. Your perception of a Super Hero has forever changed, from capes and masks to tiny souls behind plexiglass.

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