For pretty much my entire life casual conversation has been a struggle for me. I don’t really care for small talk and definitely don’t like talking about emotions or feelings but I’ll give it a try.
Having Nellie-Anne born 13 weeks early and knowing she’ll have to stay in the NICU for about 12 weeks has been the most difficult and terrifying thing I have ever experienced. The hard part for me is letting people know when I’m struggling. I honestly don’t say much most of the time anyway. In my mind I need to be the strong one and give off the perception that everything is ok. I feel that I need to be the rock Erica can count on every day as she goes through her own struggles. Being weak or vulnerable is not something that comes easy for me at all, especially in a face to face conversation. I have been working hard to change this in the last couple of weeks and allow myself to open up and talk to others about things.
Things like how terrified I am every night leaving Nellie at the hospital and how I wish this was not our reality and we could have her home with us now. One thing that has definitely been tough is when it seems like others don’t care about how I’m doing. They’ll ask about Erica and Nellie but not me. Deep down inside I want to say that I’m struggling or having a bad day too but since they didn’t ask I feel like they just don’t care. I want people to know that I am going through the same situation as Erica, probably not as emotionally but that’s still my little girl hooked up to all of those machines.
Thankfully, I have found someone I can talk to about all of this which has helped immensely. Now, most people would suggest talking to Erica but she’s going through it all with me, we need other people we can talk to or count on in these types of situations. For me that person is my brother Zach. Even though he lives in Oregon, we talk daily and usually multiple times a day. We’ve always been pretty close but now we’re both dads to little girls Nellie and Ezra, who turned 1 just three days after Nell was born. Being a dad is an amazing feeling and I love my girl so much but I can’t wait to no longer be a NICU dad and have her home.