Episode 033 - 72 Days in the NICU


This week, our guest Ingrid shares the story of how her body began to go into labor at 23 weeks and how she and her medical providers did everything in the books to try and keep her pregnant until the 26 week mark, when babies have a much greater chance of survival. After a sudden emergency c-section, she was launched into the blur of a several month NICU stay while their daughter and her NICU team fought for her life.

You won't want to miss the tender moments Ingrid describes; from feeling like she knew her daughter before she was born to what it was like to hold her for the first time 9 days after she was born and how they bonded despite the difficult circumstances.

Ingrid's story is equal parts inspiring and difficult to hear - she shares candidly about the strain and anxiety they experienced during those months and how they learned to both celebrate their daughters growth and also grieve the harrowing experience of not knowing how things were going to turn out or when they would be able to go home.

In This Episode:

  • After rectum prolapse surgery at 21, was told vaginal delivery wouldn't be a great option

  • Went in for appt at 23 weeks and found out she was 1-2 cm dilated - began all the steps to prevent preterm labor

  • The awesome antepartum women's support group in the hospital - they would call each other and just talk

  • Struggling with being cared and examined by so many different doctors and the different perspectives/opinions she would get

  • Her water breaking and cord prolapsing into her vagina; being wheeled straight to an emergency c-section

  • Having to have a classical c-section due to the position of baby and cord, which makes for a very difficult recovery

  • Her first physical interaction with her daughter being giving her drops of breastmilk on a q-tip

  • Not being able to hold her for 9 day and how the first time holding her was like a first date

  • The importance of kangaroo care with preemies

    • What it was like being in the NICU for 12+ hours a day
  • How her NICU nurses taught her not to rely on the monitors and equipment so that she could trust herself when they transitioned to home
  • What it was like to finally start breastfeeding at 34 weeks
  • Finding the balance between grieving loss and celebrating what is
  • Worrying that willow wouldn't know her as her mom


About Our Guest:

Ingrid Cognato and her husband Scott live in the Sierra Nevada Foothills with their new daughter Willow, and dog Wolfy, a Husky rescue.  Ingrid is a practicing Marriage and Family Therapist Intern who feels honored to join people on their journey toward healing past wounds and living lives that are congruent with their values and beliefs.