Sunday, December 25, 2011
It is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. That time of year when we all sit down to celebrate our holiday traditions with family and friends. However, when you have a baby in the NICU the last thing you feel is merry. Your life is already upside down, you’ve been cheated of a typical birth experience and now you don’t get to celebrate the holidays in the way you dreamed.

When I was pregnant with baby, my due date being November 29, we were thrilled that by Christmas we would have a new baby home. All that changed when Isabella was born on August 18 and didn’t come home until January 3rd. We celebrated our first Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years in the NICU.

It is my hope that you find comfort and joy in my experience celebrating the holidays with a preemie in the NICU.

The nurses were wonderful, they bought Isabella a red velvet Christmas dress. They decorated the NICU and had a holiday party. I put up a little people nativity scene in her pod. I bought those gel cling-to-the-window Christmas decorations and put them on her isolette.
The best Christmas present was getting into an open crib!

I played Christmas music on my drive to the hospital, drank warm chocolate milk (reminds me of Christmas time). My friend dropped off some tamales (traditional Mexican Christmas dish).

What helped the most was not ignoring that this was our first Christmas. We didn't treat it like any other day. We spent the day together, we read Christmas books, and we took family pictures dressed in our holiday best. We bought a little Santa hat for baby and 1st Christmas ornaments. We also had our Christmas dinner in a nice restaurant near the hospital.
Just because you are in the NICU doesn't mean you and baby don’t deserve to celebrate the holidays. Dress up your baby with a cute holiday hat. Buy blankets with a holiday motif to swaddle your baby or cover their mattress. If you want to skip that holiday party, DO IT! I remember how awkward it was to be around people at birthday parties, church and even family when baby was in the hospital.

We are now celebrating our first Christmas “at home”. We decorated our tree with pink and green ornaments in honor of Isabella, practically all the gifts under the tree are hers, and my family is visiting. I look back at our first Christmas and while it was different, honestly, that's part of our life story. I'd like to think we are more grateful people because of it. Happy holidays!


Precious and priceless so lovable too, the world’s sweetest littlest miracle is, a baby like you.

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