Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Of Ivory Soap and Hurricane Sandy

So I am thinking about how I almost lost it over Ivory soap yesterday.  Actually, the smell of Ivory soap.  You know how they say smells can be very strongly linked to memory?  I'm guessing many of us have experienced that sensation of getting a whiff of something and being transported to a memory of a certain time and place.  Well for me Ivory soap=NICU.  I'm not 100% sure why, I think because it is supposed to be more gentle, but Ivory soap is always what you are given in the NICU to wash things, mostly pumping gear.  And so me and Ivory soap spent many a time together washing up after pumping yet again.  And then I had to get some when we got home because that is just the way is was and I still keep a bottle around.  But when I use it and smell that particular scent, I am standing in Noah's pod or in the NICU pumping room.  I can still see every single detail of those places in my mind.  Sometimes it doesn't phase me at all, but sometimes I tear up and almost start crying into my dish water.
What people went through and the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy is just crazy.  The thing that got me the most was hearing about the NYU NICU having to be evacuated.  NICU nurses carrying babies in their arms down 9 flights of stairs in the dark, with other nurses carrying IV pumps and lines and wires, and other nurses bagging the babies (forcing air into and out of their lungs--basically breathing for them).  Noah was bagged more times than I like to think about, but the one time I actually saw was when he had to leave the NICU and go to a different part of the hospital for a test.  I remember our nurse explaining what would happen, that an RT would be with him the whole time "breathing for him" and then awkwardly thanking her as they left for saving our baby's life...again.  And so hearing about the Hurricane Sandy situation of course makes me shudder.  But it also give me a sense of... pride I guess?  In that I know first hand what those amazing nurses are capable of and am part of this "NICU community", I guess, of parents and staff who have been touched by NICU experiences.
I am so thankful that looking at my almost 3 year old son, you would never know that he had to be bagged and poked and kept at the hospital for three months.  And I am so thankful for my precious daughter and that I got to experience her birth at full term and kind of redeem my thoughts about the whole giving birth thing.  That I got to bring her home right away and be a "normal" mom.   But in some ways, I will always be a NICU mom.  Ivory soap and Hurricane Sandy remind me of that.

1 comment:

  1. During one of Caleb's post-NICU hospital stays, Nate said to me, "I like how Caleb smells when he's in the hospital." I don't know what it is, but something about that sterile hospital environment smell is so familiar and brings back so many memories. I only saw Caleb being bagged once, and it was for less than a minute (when they moved his bed to a bigger part of the NICU in preparation for his almost-heart surgery) and it was so...odd. They didn't tell me anything to prepare me, since it was so fast, but it's one of those things that a mother will never forget!