Due to Jaxson's unexpected early arrival our original plans to have a baby shower were thrown out of the window. Our baby registry was only half way complete when I was admitted to Labor & Delivery. My vision board for our "baby-que" was created and Pinterest was my playground. Not to mention, the deposit for the location had been paid for as well. Needless to say, all plans were halted when I delivered Jaxson at 22 weeks, 6 days. As time went on I knew that there were things we still needed for our baby boy. I went back and forth in my mind trying to figure out what would be the best thing for us to do. Having your child in the NICU leaves you feeling emotionally drained and can even make you question your future. They tell you to take it one day at a time, don't think too far down the road. That's a hard pill to swallow especially for someone like me who is a planner by nature. My husband and I agreed that we would have a "birth celebration" once Jaxson was stable and him coming home was in sight.
We planned the celebration in 6 weeks and our friends and family were happy to come out and celebrate Jaxson's birth although he was still in the NICU. I thought it would be a little weird not actually being pregnant at my shower but I didn't feel sadness. I knew I needed to go through with the event and pull out all the stops because Jaxson was my first and possibly my last. I would've regretted not being able to experience a shower of my own.
After much anticipation it was finally the week of our little miracle's celebration. Well, that week a huge curve ball happened. Jaxson needed to have emergency surgery to take care of his ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity) otherwise he would've gone blind in his right eye. Everything went well with the hour long surgery, however, the recovery is where things started going down hill, I wrote about our scariest NICU moment here.
We knew God didn't bring us that far to just leave us, and no matter what Jaxson's life deserved to be celebrated. So, despite everything that was happening, we proceeded with our plans and I am so glad that we did. The shower was one month before he came home.
So, here are 5 reasons why you should celebrate your baby while they are in the NICU.
- Babies need things, lots of things! With you being focused on your baby getting big and strong to come home, you probably don't have time to run out to Target or Babies R Us to get all of the essentials. Create your registry and let your loved ones shower you. Being a NICU parent is tough and you deserve to be celebrated and so does your baby.
- Your baby is a fighter and that alone is enough reason to celebrate their life. It can be a small celebration or a huge one, the size doesn't matter. Also, if you have your shower while the baby is still in the NICU, it will eliminate the stress of trying to have a celebration once the baby comes home. The last thing you will want when your baby comes home is interacting with germs! Trust me! So if you do it while they are in the NICU, there won't be much pressure to bring the baby to the event and have everyone trying to touch and breathe on your baby.
- This may be your first child and you may declare that you don't plan on having anymore after such a tough experience. Or for medical reasons you may not experience pregnancy again. This is a huge reason why you should take the time to make the best of your current situation by gathering with friends and loved ones. Our future of having more children is uncertain so I am glad that we went ahead and had a shower; although not traditional at the end of the day I can say I had one and I loved it.
- Memories. There is nothing better than creating memories that will last a lifetime. Good memories help us get through our tough moments of life. Being able to look back at pictures of your big day is priceless. The gifts will get used but the memories can be cherished for a lifetime!
- Fun. When your in the think of the NICU, its a place that can be extremely stressful. It's nice to have a distraction sometimes. Taking a moment away to break up the routine and do something dare I say FUN is beneficial to your well being! I know there are times when it may feel like there is no outside world beyond the NICU doors. And you may even feel some guilt of doing something fun while your baby is in the hospital. This is a normal feeling but I encourage you to press past it! Your baby is in good hands and will be cared for during your time away. It will only be for a few hours and you can share pictures of the baby and even special moments. We had a slideshow playing throughout the event and it had pictures from day 1 up until the day before the celebration. This allowed our guest to connect to with Jaxson and our journey.
I've included pictures from our special day and hope that it inspires you! All decorations were done by my husband and I with a help of a couple friends. We kept the decor as simplistic and as possible but made sure no detail was overlooked!