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#213 - ūüĎ∂ Beyond The Beeps - Crossing the Threshold of the NICU






Hello friends ūüĎč

In this episode of Beyond the Beeps, Elizabeth Simonton shares her experience of unexpected NICU admission for her full-term baby, Ben. The journey includes pregnancy complications, NICU stay, and the emotional challenges faced by NICU parents. Elizabeth's story highlights the importance of hope, self-care, and community support in the NICU experience.

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Find out and learn more about ICUBaby here: https://www.icubaby.org/


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Keywords

NICU, full-term baby, pregnancy complications, hope, self-care, community support, NICU experience, emotional challenges



Takeaways

  • Full-term babies can also require NICU admission due to unexpected complications.

  • Hope and self-care are essential for NICU parents to navigate the emotional challenges of the experience.

  • Community support and understanding play a crucial role in providing comfort and strength to NICU families.


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Leah (00:02)


When we think of a NICU, if we've ever even heard of that before, we usually think of really sick babies, little tiny babies, probably premature babies, but full-term babies go to the NICU also. Really big babies. And these are babies whose parents probably never expected to be there at this point in their pregnancy. Joining me to share her story of unexpected.


and full-term NICU stay is Elizabeth Simonton. Elizabeth is a wonderful human. Prior to even having a NICU experience, she's the mother of two other children. She's a former attorney, a small business owner, a hustler, a shaker. And following her experience with her NICU baby, she created the NICU Family Fund, which went on to become ICU Baby, where I work.



Beth also serves on the Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative and the Executive Council of the Family-Centered Care Task Force and on the board of the NICU Parent Network, if that wasn't all enough. And as you can hear from her, this is only a snapshot of her life. She is incredibly dedicated to us, NICU families.



But before all of this happened, as most stories do, they start with getting pregnant, having a pregnancy. Beth, welcome, welcome. Take us back to the pregnancy with Ben.



Oh, Leah, thank you. Well, thank you so much for that wonderful introduction. All the work that you listed is really done with the pleasure of my heart. And yeah, like you said, so much of this comes from lived experience, right? We never know what path we're headed on. And my path to be involved in this world was really occasioned by the birth of my son Benedict, who we call Ben. And he was my third baby, my third pregnancy. And unlike his sisters who preceded him, he gave me complications from the beginning. And he was giving me a hard time, although now he's the angel. So we found out pretty early on around week 15/16 that I had what they call polyhydramnios. So what this means is that there's too much amniotic fluid. A lot of times we hear about



mothers who have too little amniotic fluid. Well, I was on the other side of that spectrum and my belly just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And I think what was interesting about this pregnancy was they couldn't really tell me why. And sometimes with health conditions, when you don't know why, it makes you have this element of anxiety that is sometimes uncontrollable. And so I'll admit, Leah, I went to Dr. Google a lot, right, to figure out.


Why do I have all this fluid? And why didn't I have all this fluid with the girls? And so as soon as you turn to Dr. Google, which they tell you not to, you kind of go down a rabbit hole. And that's not a rabbit hole any of us should really be going down. And so I started to think the worst. The worst thing I read was the thing I believed was going to happen. And lo and behold, I did carry this sweet baby all the way to week 38 with all this fluid. And the reason why the doctors elected to deliver Benedict via cesarean, via C-section on week 38, it was a Saturday morning, May 17th, was because I had so much fluid, they were concerned if my water broke, the rush of the fluid would be very dangerous for Benedict. And they made that very clear to me around week 30. So I was really living in a state of anxiety, to be honest while trying to care for my two and three year olds at home. And so it was a lot of praying, it was a lot of hoping, it was a lot of trusting in the universe that everything was gonna be okay. But I had to go back and forth twice a week to a high risk doctor, twice a week, and then also to my OB-GYN. And also I had the two other girls at home. So it was stressful. It was a very stressful pregnancy. And


Interestingly enough, I really never during that time thought about the NICU. I never thought let's Google the NICU in case that's not an option for us. And in hindsight, that seems really, if I was Googling everything else, why wouldn't I have Googled that? Right. And I didn't. Um, but I did.

Leah And nobody presented it to you either, which is also interesting.BethIsn't that interesting? And maybe they didn't feel like they needed to. But it was something that never crossed my mind, right? I just wanted all I could saying is, dear God, if you could please hand me another healthy baby, I would appreciate it. And I was really in prayer and just enjoying my girls at the time. OK, so let's fast forward to May 17. And this is, of course, when Ben's going to be delivered via C-section. And my husband at the time and I were really quite scared because we thought, well, here's our answer. We're going to find out why this little one wasn't taking that amniotic fluid as he should have been. So there was some anticipation there that we hadn't had with the girls also. Well, Benedict was delivered and he was nine and a half pounds that I turned 38 weeks. I'm a relatively small woman, so you can imagine with all the fluid and with that...Right?Big baby.Elizabeth Simonton big turkey how big my tummy really was, you know. And so when Ben comes out, we wait for the cry. We hear the cry and he is chubby and swollen and just round. He was perfect in every way and just, you know, we were so excited and his scores came out well and it was just a wonderful experience. And by the time I came to after the C-section,Leah Yeah.Elizabeth Simonton I was told he's in the nursery, not in the NICU. He was in the nursery alongside me getting checked out. And I would say, you know, four hours later, he was in my arms. He was not in my store. It seemed really, at the time, it seemed that our prayers had been answered. And all that worrying, and we made it! And all that worrying for months, really.Leah Well...Yeah.You made it. Yeah.Elizabeth Simonton there was really a happy ending. Clear.Leah Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then as babies tend to do, something changed, right? What do you remember about that moment when they came to you?Elizabeth Simonton Isn't that interesting?Well, I really remember thinking when I was holding him alone in the room, thinking, gosh, we did it, we made it, my prayers were answered. Really thought that. How lucky am I? I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude at the time. And so what happened next, about 24 hours after he was delivered, I was in the room alone holding him.Leah Yeah.Elizabeth Simonton And the nurses had told me we were going to try to feed him a bottle because we want to make sure anatomically he's working properly given the condition that you had prior to delivery. And I was planning to breastfeed and I had been breastfeeding, but at the time it was colostrum. So they weren't able to tell whether or not he could take the full amount of a flow, right? It was just tiny bits of my colostrum that he was receiving.Leah Because you were planning to breastfeed, right? Just for clarification, okay.Okay.Sure.Elizabeth Simonton And so they wanted to just check while he was still there, if he could take this. And so I wasn't thrilled about it, but of course was following what the healthcare team told me to do. And so tried to give him a little bit of formula and he asphyxiated and turned blue in my arms. And within a matter of, I don't know, five seconds, the nurse, I pushed the button, the nurse came in and Ben was gone. Ben was gone.And gosh, it's been nine years and I'm telling you this now and my hair stands up because I was grown and first I had the baby and here I am in gratitude. Everything's great. And what we know is that things change so quickly, right? And so that was my experience. And then I just sat in that room staring at the wall, wondering what the heck just happened and not really knowing. I wasn't crying. I was just feeling in shock at the time.Leah Me too.Yeah.Shock makes sense. That's a shocking experience. And possibly you had maybe given yourself a little bit of room to relax a little bit and then it all got turned back up again. Your emotional system just got revved right back up because now something's wrong again.Elizabeth SimontonYeah, I would say it was even probably heightened, honestly, Leah, because it was, now it was worst case scenario, right? And when they turn blue and they go out, you just don't know where they're going and what happened. So it was, my emotions were on high alarm.Leah (09:32)Yeah.Right, right.Yeah. What were they, when somebody came to you before you were able to go to see him, what was what they told you? What had brought Ben actually to the Nikkyu? What was going on?Elizabeth Simonton So at the time they didn't know, and they said that, you know, obviously he wasn't able to take the formula, which is why they tested him, which is why I was again grateful that they tried while we were in the hospital and not at home. Why I was glad I listened to them. And they didn't know, but they knew they needed to take them to the NICU to do some extra testing to find out what exactly had gone wrong, what it was.Leah Mm-hmm.Right? Right.Elizabeth Simonton Um, and at that time I was then hyper aware of what's the NICU. Well, the interesting thing about my story is I have a younger brother, 18 months younger, who was born very, very early at 26 weeks in 1981. So the NICU is interestingly enough, not foreign to my life at all. Although at that time I was one and a half, right? So that was, I don't even really know about that, but, um, I didn't know that Hugh had been very sick. I knew he'd been there for a very, very long time.Leah Right.Elizabeth Simonton And beyond that, I didn't really have any friends that had babies in the NICU even at the time. So the doctors really didn't know, but they said they were going to keep him there and would I like to go see him? I was able to. I know some moms can't, right? Able to, it had been 24 hours after delivery, so they were going to put me in a wheelchair and wheel me over to see Ben. So no real answers, but more, he's safe. He's safe.Leah Okay. Right? Yeah.Yeah. Okay. And so that time they invite you to co-over it, that's great that they were going to help motivate, like get you there. What was that experience like?Elizabeth Simonton So this is the part that I feel so strongly about sharing because I think it's something we don't talk about a lot, which is I didn't wanna go. That's wow. What mother wouldn't wanna go see her baby who just had this experience? It's, well me. And interestingly enough, my mom, when she had my brother, she later told me. And so that shows you that how common it is to have that feeling.Leah Yeah.Elizabeth Simonton And why didn't I want to go? At the time I felt like my emotions couldn't handle worst case scenario. My emotions were on a thread. I couldn't imagine going and seeing him so sick after that was my biggest fear and now come to life. Now it came true. All those Dr. Googles were coming true. We didn't know what was wrong. Now he's in the NICU. And I had just delivered and my hormones were wild. And so my husband took me on a ride.We went into the NICU, into the wheelchair, and we walked a little bit around the hospital to calm me down, right? And to breathe a little bit, to think about, to manage expectations. What would it be like walking through those doors of the NICU? And he told me a little, he's a physician in training, so he told me a little bit what I was going to see and prepared me. This is what you can expect when we walk through there. And after about an hour or two, can you imagine, I said, look.Leah Mm-hmm.Yeah.Elizabeth SimontonI was ready, but that was after many, many tears. Fear, how is it gonna be seeing my little one with wires on him and needles when I just saw him in my arms, so chubby and healthy and round? What was going on? And what if something happened? And what if he didn't make it? And all those fears that I had pent up for those months rushed over me. And it was a...huge barrier to me walking through those doors. And lo and behold, we find out it is a huge barrier to many mothers, the emotional component of seeing your newborn baby in the NICU. It's a lot.Leah Yeah, I'm so glad that you bring this up because you're right, you know? And I think it's probably more of us than less of us who are afraid to go and see this in actuality or are afraid to feel what might be happening. We have some parents who have traumatic deliveries or had, you know, a really tough pregnancy and just walking across the threshold of the door of the hospital.can be activating and triggering, just walking down the hall, smelling the soap, all of these things are huge barriers to being there. And I know we've had a lot of families that we've supported who feel just overwhelmed to be at the bedside if they can get there, right? So this, I think you're right. I think there's a lot more of us than less that experience this.Elizabeth Simonton It's interesting, isn't it? And with me, I was bringing also kind of a treasure trust of past trauma. Also, my middle daughter had been very, very sick prior. She had meningitis. And I remember, so I kind of knew what intensive care looked like for a baby. And I knew it was hard. And it was...Leah Right.Yeah.Elizabeth Simonton time and a lot of needles and a lot of work. And so I was bringing that with me also. So we also, when we cross that threshold into the NICU, we're bringing our past lived experiences with us. And that looks very different for everyone. It doesn't, maybe it's not another child that was sick, but maybe it was a parent that was sick, or maybe you had been sick in your past or maybe, you know, or you had a traumatic delivery when we walk across the threshold of the NICU as parents. We're bringingLeah Yeah.Elizabeth Simonton We're bringing things with us also. So important to remember.Leah Yeah, that's a wonderful parent pearl for sure. Hang on to that one in life. So when you finally made it there after that hour and a half of settling your nervous system, which I'm so glad that you took the time to care for you, right, we talk about, you know, what do you need to be able to show up for your baby? Because even though you felt that...Elizabeth Simonton Yeah.Leah you knew you were gonna overcome it somehow, and you tended to yourself. It may not have felt comfortable, it may not have felt typical or normal, but you tended to yourself so that you could show up in the way you wanted to, and that is incredible courage and love. It's to overcome that amount of fear is, I mean, that's a will beyond others.Elizabeth Simonton I think that as a mother, you listen to you and I appreciate that you say that it's um courage. Because I would say gosh I was not courageous at all. If I was courageous I would have gone right in there. So the fact that you classify it as being courageous is really quite lovely and I think we have to remember that as moms. Because let me tell you something, when I walked through those doors and I saw Ben, I was a different person. I was ready.LeahMm-hmm.Elizabeth Simonton I was ready for what I was going to endure, to see, and I knew walking in there, okay, I've got it together, I'm ready for what it's gonna handle. So I think it's, I never thought of it like this, but I guess it was quite important that I took that pause to mentally say, am I ready? Am I strong enough? And when I felt like I was sort of ready, whenever you're really ever ready for it, you cross that line and in you go. And when I saw Ben, he was,Leah Yeah, never ready.Elizabeth Simonton Gantic in the isolate that was my first thought and he was in a space of the hospital where There were multiple isolates Next to each other so we did not have a private room when Ben was admitted to the NICU They had a very high census actually so the private rooms were all taken and they had even moved some of the babies into another area of the hospital So we were next to other little ones and when I say little ones and Ben was nine and a halfLeah HeheheElizabeth Simonton pounds. So he just filled that isolette with all his wonder.Leah Amazing. So yeah, he was the mayor. So when you saw him, tell us, give us a little picture. You're doing an amazing job of giving us a glimpse into your life. What did Ben require at that point? Did he have, you know, babies have a lot of, you know, IVs and lines, or they're getting fed in different ways. What was the biggest thing Ben was facing at that point?Elizabeth Simonton So he did have the IVs, he had the lines, he was breathing on his own, which is really a wonderful thing. Can't take that for granted. But he wasn't able to eat at the time, right? So they were feeding him differently than me, breastfeeding, and I think as a breastfeeding mother of two past children.Leah Mm.Elizabeth Simonton This was tough on me emotionally. Also, my body was telling me, primitively, hormonally, you need to breastfeed this child. And I wasn't able to. So seeing him like that, I think there's just such a difference between having a baby in the NICU and having one in your arm shortly after birth.Leah Yeah.Elizabeth Simonton hormonally, primitively. And so it was hard to see him like that. I just wanted to scoop him out of there and hold him, put him against my chest to hold. And interestingly enough, for the first 24 hours, Ben was there. I was able to hold him in the NICU. I was able to hold him with all the lines connected, but I was able to hold him. And so while it was still a very different experience, I could touch him.Leah Yeah.Elizabeth Simonton

feel him, have him feel me. And that was really powerful. And then, you know, that changed later when they realized that his Billy Rubin levels were going down. But for that moment of time, I was still very, very sad and scared. But being able to hold him in the NICU, I realized was really quite a luxury at that time. So I was so appreciative.



Leah 


Yes.



Yeah, yeah, because most, you know, as we know in the NICU, and most times there is a separation of holding. You can't hold your baby for a while. So then his bilirubin levels went up, which they can do even if you're a full-term baby, and as Ben did, and what did they need to do for him then? He weren't able to hold him anymore, I guess.



Elizabeth Simonton 


So this is where, you know, I know it impacts a lot of babies, but they had to put the blue light on him. And my level, by the way, of NICU health literacy is very low. I didn't know what that was for, why they were doing it. The girls who were born two and three years before did not have this. So I had a lot of questions.



Leah 


Mm-hmm.



Yep.



Elizabeth Simonton


meant to me as a mother was you cannot hold him and he needs this light to help him and also they put on what I call the blindfold over his eyes and Leah when I tell you that bothered me so much I don't know why and that I couldn't see these big eyes looking at me and interacting and seeing me as a mother and I just it bothered me.



Leah 


Mm-hmm.



Elizabeth Simonton 


And it also, so it was like they had really encapsulated my baby, I couldn't hold him, I couldn't see him, he couldn't see me, and all those things kind of took away my feelings as being a mother, right? Because those things that I couldn't feed, I couldn't hold, and he couldn't look at me. He could hear me, I was able to open the windows and hold his hand, but again, as compared to the experiences I had with my other girls, this was a big difference for me. And I think that



Leah 


Yep.



Mm-hmm.



Right.



Elizabeth Simonton 


that difference escalated the emotional response that I had.



Leah 


For sure, for sure. Yeah, all the things that were soothing to you, right? The things that were like helping validating that experience that you were having and then also soothing you and giving you the comfort that we need as parents. It's not just, we talk about touch, the babies need touch, but we do too. Holding our baby on our skin is healing for us also. Oh my goodness. So how was that experience for you to...



have that separation? How did you find ways to cope? Because you made it through that time. What were things that helped you? Was it people telling you something or did you change anything to help make it through that time?



Elizabeth Simonton 


So I think one of the best things that one of the nurses said to me, because I said, you've blindfolded him. And they said, they're just sunglasses. And that immediately in my head, of course they are, they were protecting his eyes from the sun, from the bright blue lights that are on him. And they looked like sunglasses, to be honest with you. So when that was said, it changed my mental structure of processing what was happening.



Leah 


Yeah.



Yeah.



Right.



Elizabeth Simonton 


Right, and I think the other thing, and I mince no words about this, is that everyone's NICU experience is so much. Whether it's a day, two days, three days, six days, it is a lot to see your child sick for even an hour. Let's be honest.



Elizabeth Simonton 


But having preemies, tiny babies around me at that time and seeing some of the things that they were going through in the room where there were other babies, it gave me, and being with the mothers also, the sense of community and being with those mothers gave me strength. It showed me, well, gosh, Beth, if they can get through that, you can get through this, right? And we don't wanna compare trauma that's so passe. We don't, but...


what you can do is derive strength from other people that are going through hard times. And I very much did that. Whether it was just eye contact or, you know, celebrating the baby that got to go home in the far corner when he passed the car seat test and just thinking, gosh, if that's them, that's going to be me. And so I think deriving strength from other people in similar situations, not comparing, but really just



Leah


Mm-hmm.



Yeah.



Elizabeth Simonton 


knowing that if they could do it, I could too. Of course I could. Leaning into a partner is also helpful if you have one, and partners look very different. At the time it was my husband, but I also leaned into my friends for support. I also tried to, I think most people don't realize that big babies, full-term babies can go to the NICU. So one thing that...



Leah 


Yeah.



Elizabeth Simonton 


I would want to share about having a full term baby is you get a lot of messages from friends that don't understand why your child is in the NICU when they were born at 38 weeks. What the heck could be wrong? We don't know. I didn't know. And the way I protected myself from the messages that kept coming, which were emotionally triggering also, to be honest, was I just stopped answering. I just...



Leah 


Hmm. Right.



Sure.



Elizabeth Simonton 


wanted to protect myself, my family, my baby. I stopped answering those messages and asked friends, close friends, just share. We weren't sure what was happening because for so long we really didn't know what was going on. We weren't sure what was happening but that we would share when we knew. And not having to be your own PR representative, your own spokesperson to a very broad community is helpful for some, for some.



Leah


Mm-hmm.



Right.



Right, right, yes, yes. And well-meaning family and friends can be what they're saying and they mean well again.



but what they can say can really feel bad sometimes. And it's just because they don't know or they're trying to make you feel better so they can feel better. But that can be really challenging. I love that idea of having, designating a close friend who you can, have them streamline and speak up for you and just talk to one person that will respect your boundaries and respect your space and can help keep those people at bay, especially if you have a big family



of friends who are loving and caring. They have time in the future to be there. They have time in the future. Saying no is a complete sentence. Yeah.



Elizabeth Simonton


I love that expression. And it's very true, especially when you're in a situation as a NICU parent where you don't know a lot of things, right? And a lot of times as a NICU parent, we don't know. Doctors don't know the answers right away. And things change day to day, right? So updates are only as good as they are that hour sometimes in the NICU. And so recognizing, like you said so beautifully, that...


most, if not all of the intentions from friends and family are great. They just care and they're caring in their own way. But recognizing you can turn the volume down when you need to is really important. That's that self-preservation that you were talking about earlier.



Leah 


Yes, turn the volume down. I like that. Okay, so Ben, how long did he end up staying in the NICU?



Elizabeth SimontonBen was there for six days, which is just incredible given now how much I devote to supporting NICU families. It was a relatively short stay, but it was all I could handle at the time. I, you know, we're given what we can handle and that was really quite debilitating for me because of...


recognizing he was my third child and I had two other babies at home and doing that dance was challenging.



Leah 


Yeah.



Yeah, for sure. And you mentioned in the beginning about hope in the pregnancy, hope in the delivery, and you sort of mentioned it here and there. It's something that we at IC Baby uphold hope in our work, and we try to lay hope as the foundation in the NICU. What does hope mean to you, and what could it have meant to you in the NICU?



Elizabeth Simonton 


I think with regard to Ben's condition situation, unexpected admission to the NICU, hope to me really meant not giving up on him, on myself, both, knowing that he wasn't in such a spectacular care in the healthcare teams he was with and really trusting that the outcome would be what it should. And..


recognizing that I couldn't control the situation and that was hard for someone like me not to be able to exercise control over outcomes or get him out when I wanted to get him out or manage this new baby the way I had with my girls. So hope to me was always knowing that things were going to turn out as they should.



Leah 


Yeah.



acceptance.



Elizabeth Simonton 


It's very good Leah, thank you. With one word, it was acceptance. Because we don't know.



Leah 


Mm-hmm.



We don't. Yeah. Okay. And tell me about Ben now.



Elizabeth Simonton 


He's adorable. He always...



Leah )


Mm-hmm. I've seen him. He is. I can corroborate this. He is adorable.



Elizabeth Simonton 


So the interesting thing about Ben is Ben has been the healthiest child I've had. The girls have had more health complications, very honestly, than Ben has. And really what they found was Ben was overdeveloped externally.


and underdeveloped internally. And that's really what caused the problems he was having and the asphyxiation. So the first three months of him being home after discharge involved a lot of throw up, a lot of vomiting because he was still throwing up that milk as he had, which landed him in the NICU. The difference was now I knew how to handle it. Now the doctors knew what was going on. They taught me how to handle it. Those six days allowed him to develop.


a little more so he could handle a bottle. I wasn't able to breastfeed, but I was able to pump and give a bottle. And so he received breast milk, which again, that was a little bit of a disappointment. I was looking forward to putting Ben to the breast, but it wasn't in the cards. And so I pumped religiously and I gave him his milk in a bottle. And he still to this day, if he eats and then laughs at nine years old.


he gets really bad reflux and hiccups. He just does, he was born this way. But he is as healthy as an ox, and we now just kind of laugh at him when he, I'll say it when he's eating dinner, don't laugh so hard, you're gonna vomit again. Which is exactly why he was there to begin with, right? He just was underdeveloped. That part of his body anatomically isn't as strong as the rest of my big boy.



Elizabeth Simonton 


that's really been his condition all along. And we own it now. It's part of who he is.



Leah 


Yeah. And he's about to turn 10. Yeah, along with ICU baby. And he's in third grade, fourth grade. Oh my goodness. Okay. And he is an excellent sportsman playing lots of sports, loving life. Beautiful.



Elizabeth Simonton(32:18)


He also, Leah, he has a compassion for others that I believe began when he was in the NICU because what I told my girls when I didn't bring home the baby that was in my belly as they thought I would, the siblings. Not to worry girls, remember they were two and three years old, so not to worry girls, he's with his friends in the NICU. There's a bunch of babies there that are with him. He's not alone.



Leah 


Mm. Yeah.



Hehehe



Elizabeth Simonton 


He has other friends there, just like you have friends in your class. And of course you say this through tears, right? You're holding it back. But what's solace that gives two and three year olds knowing, because all they know is their little preschool class. So they don't know any difference. I didn't put the parent lens on my children. I tried to take the child perspective and convey the story of why their little brother wasn't home through their eyes. And that was so helpful. And now they just, they tease him.



Leah


Right?



That's brilliant.



Elizabeth SimontonHahaha.



Leah 


Oh my goodness. Okay, so you've shared just incredible honesty and beautiful pearls of wisdom. Is there anything you would want to leave someone with today? Any words of wisdom for someone who's sitting by their bedside today?



Elizabeth Simonton


I think you every day wake up and recognize there are going to be days that are great and there are going to be days that are very difficult and that could be with a long-term NICU stay and a short-term NICU stay and my advice is just try your best and your best looks different every day. It really does and if your best is taking a walk in the morning rather than racing into the NICU.


Take that walk because a healthy mom, healthy dad, healthy parent is so important to sustain what is a marathon of the NICU. So putting undue pressure on ourselves in a very stressful environment, stressful time, is doing ourselves a disservice. We need to be gentle with ourselves. We need to be



graceful with ourselves, and I think that's what I would offer NICU parents.



Leah 


beautiful.



And if you can't do it the first time, try again the next day. Being graceful with yourself. Like you said, it's different every day. Beautiful.



Elizabeth Simonton (


He's different every day. And sometimes, let's be honest, you can make it till 12 o'clock and then your grace is out the door. And then other times you think you've made it. This is a lesson in parenting really, and those lessons apply everywhere. But all we can do is really our best and that does look different. That's a really important point, Leah.



Leah 


Yes. Yeah.


Wow. Thank you so much. Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for being here today and sharing your experience with us and then going on and being able to amplify what is ICU Baby and amplify and spread it to more and more and more families. And just thank you. Yeah.



Elizabeth Simonton 


Well, thank you so much for having me and for letting me share my story of Ben. And it was a beautiful conversation. Thank you so much.



Leah 


For sure. And if you're on your way to visit your baby in the hospital or you're sitting at your baby's bedside, or perhaps you're up in the middle of the night pumping or vigilantly watching the baby's camera and awake as we tend to be as parents, Elizabeth and I want you to know that you are not alone and we look forward to sitting with you again soon. Take gentle care.

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