Jessica Adams did not plan to give birth early, but at 34 weeks she was going to have a c-section to give birth to her daughter. Jessica suffered from a pregnancy complication called Preeclampsia. Almost 6 years old now (Happy March Birthday!), Perry is a thriving, smart, fun, and independent little lady. Her parents say she is “petite, but mighty. When this girl puts her mind to something she makes it happen.”
When we asked Jessica about her support during this difficult time, she told us her husband, James, was her rock! “He totally stepped up and was there no matter what I needed.” But what is it like on the other side? To be the one to hold it all together at home when your journey to parenthood takes a turn you did not expect. We asked James a few questions in the hope to empower other family members that find themselves in a similar situation.
Do you have any advice you would like to pass along to other partners whose spouse is on bed rest or has a baby in the NICU?
If there’s one thing that I could pass along to others, it would be for them to be ready and more than willing to get involved. Also, be conscious of the role you play when it comes to not only the physical things but just as much to the emotional support. The partner needs to recognize the most natural experience for mankind (pregnancy) can also be the most stressful. But only if you let it. Lastly, let them know to see the big picture, relish in the experience and put momma and baby first.
What would you say surprised you most about your personal experience?
The most surprising thing that I recall is the overall physical toll this process can have on a woman. Bed rest is stressful but the anticipation keeps the excitement in the room. The recovery post-delivery was eye-opening to me. I believe living through this as a couple brought us closer. If there’s a NICU experience, there’s a great toll of pressure placed on moms to perform motherly duties in this environment. Again, I would go back to the statement that the partner needs to be willing and able to jump in and assist and put the mother’s needs first.
As a spouse, did you feel personally benefited from any of the items that were delivered in your partner’s HRH Bed Rest Basket and/or NICU Napsack?
I remember that just receiving a gift during this time brought joy to us. It was nice to be thought of and to know that there were strangers who cared about making sure our family got started on the right track. Lastly, it brought us closer to the experience but also reminds us that it takes people to give back to the next lucky person(s) so that they too can have the same great experience.
Jessica remembers how sweet it was to watch her husband step up as a new dad. He hadn’t spent much time with newborns and especially not a teeny tiny little 4-pound baby. He spent time with the NICU nurses and doctors to learn about Perry’s schedule, what to expect and asked all the right questions. The bond between Perry and him instantly grew strong and I was so proud of the amazing daddy that I knew he was! He would take sweet pictures and videos of her and bring them to me so I could see her. Then a LONG 36 hours after delivering her, he was able to take me to see her. I remember it was so late, close to 11:30 pm when he took me to the NICU. Seeing Perry and holding her for the first time was nothing short of amazing! It’s a moment that was so special and I will cherish forever! (good things are worth the wait!)