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Fun Things to do When your Baby’s in the NICU!


This is my comic about Sam’s week in the NICU. Again, I try not to do comics that are specific to my experience, but that’s where my head’s still at this week. Next week I’ll do something funny, I promise!

I didn’t actually cry like this when Sam was in the NICU. I got a little teary-eyed at times, but nothing major because the doctors and nurses where very good at explaining the situation and keeping us calm. This comic is more a reflection of my internal state.

So. The NICU. Sam had two pneumothorases when he was born. Those are little pockets of air in the lungs that make breathing difficult. This happens to babies who are born premature (not Sam), born with undeveloped lungs (not Sam), babies who aspirated meconium (not Sam) and babies who tried to breathe before their umbilical cord was cut (Probably what happened with Sam.)

Sam spent an entire week in the NICU. The doctors treated him with oxygen by putting tubes up his nose and having him wear an oxygen hood over his head. I was fortunate in that the hospital where I delivered allowed mothers with babies in the NICU to stay an additional three days. They actually let me stay an extra five days, but officially the program only lets you stay three.

A week seems like a long time to stay in the hospital with a sick baby, but it really just seemed like one big day to me. I didn’t look outside often and there were no windows in the NICU, so it was hard to tell when one day started and another began.

But, now we’re home, everyone’s good, and hopefully last week will soon be a distant memory. I really feel for parents who have babies in the NICU for a longer period of time, or who are unable to stay with their children while they’re at the hospital. I know that in regard to everything that COULD have happened, we got lucky, but it’s certainly an experience I’d like to never have again.

About carrtoons@gmail.com

Chelsea Carr has been cartooning for over ten years. Currently, she works as the editorial cartoonist for Harford County’s The Aegis and The Record. She has also had her work included in MAD Magazine, b, and Baltimore’s City Paper. Chelsea holds a B.F.A. from the Maryland Institute, College of Art (2005) and an M.A.T. from Johns Hopkins University (2011.) In addition to cartooning and being a first-time mother, she has worked as an elementary school art teacher.

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  1. I had just the opposite preoblm with my daughter. She was born normal and healthy, but I was the one in ICU for 3 weeks after she was born. I thought she wouldn’t even know me, and that she wouldn’t like me. I had all the same feelings you do. But your child will know you the minute you are able to take him home. He’s heard your voice for 9 months, he knows you and he knows who you are. He’ll bond with you as soon as he’s able. Jaundice is OK. Most babies will get this. They can fix it, so don’t worry. Also, your motherly hormones are kicking in, you want to be with him, and you can’t. You worry more about this than he does, I promise. I held my daughter maybe 3 times in her first 3 weeks of life. Once I got home from the hospital, she took right to me. She knew me, and your son knows you, too. He just has to get better first, then you can hold him all you want!!

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