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The Strength It Takes to Be a Mom: Our NICU Story

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Last Updated on January 22, 2024 by Allison Lancaster

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hefty® Ultra Strong™ trash bags.

I became a mom 18 months ago. During my 9 months of pregnancy and even before that, I had no idea the strength that it would take to be a mom. I have always known that my mom is a strong woman, but the strength that it takes to be a mom isn’t something that you can truly understand until you are a mom.

My pregnancy was for the most part uneventful, up until 37 weeks. At my 37-week checkup, my blood pressure had skyrocketed and I was sent straight to the hospital. I was monitored for 24 hours and released on bed rest. A week and a half later, I was induced and spent 18 hours laboring before the doctor ordered an emergency C-section. Three long and grueling hours later (my pain medication stopped working at about the 2 hour and 15-minute mark during the C-section, our beautiful baby boy arrived. He let out one loud cry and then stopped. Looking back, that should have been a warning sign for everyone in the room.

A few hours later, I was reunited with my husband and our son and then taken back to our room with our baby boy. We spent the next 17 hours enjoying our precious new family and in awe of the little one we were blessed with. I was still in a cloud of pain medication, pain and new mom emotions, while my husband kept a watchful eye over our little one.


During a diaper change, we both noticed that our little guy just didn’t seem to feel good. He was very fussy and making a grunting noise. We called the nurse into the room and she immediately took him to be examined by a doctor. His oxygen stats weren’t good at all. Since I had just had a major surgery and things happened so quickly, we didn’t go straight to the nursery with our little guy. It took me a few minutes to get up and make it down the hallway and I can tell you: nothing can prepare you for walking up to the nursery window and seeing your newborn baby hooked up to oxygen and a variety of monitors.

The doctor walked out and told us that they were concerned about Levi’s lungs and they were going to do an X-ray. After reading the X-ray the doctor informed us that she thought our son had a tear in one of his lungs, but that it could also be pneumonia or that his lungs hadn’t fully expanded yet. Pneumonia was the worst case scenario and likely meant a transfer to a children’s hospital over an hour away. I felt like I had been punched and I couldn’t breathe. I wouldn’t be discharged for another two days and they were talking about taking my baby and putting him literally in another state. Several grueling hours later, we found out that Levi did in fact have pneumonia. I felt like I had been punched again. How was I supposed to be strong and endure this when I could barely even stand on my own?

After many discussions with the physicians at the hospital along with some begging and pleading on my end, they decided to consult with the children’s hospital but not to transfer Levi, unless things got worse. They also allowed my husband and I to keep the room that I was in (even though I would be discharged in a day), until our guy was ready to come home with us. Both of these factors brought some relief to me as a new mom, even though our little guy was in the special care nursery, I was at least down the hall from him at all times.

I’ve heard it said before that the NICU is a constant rollercoaster. After our experience, I am here to tell you that yes, it’s exactly like a rollercoaster ride. You get one piece of good news and then in the next hour you can get a piece of bad news. There are so many details that encompassed the next 10 days: me waking up crying in the middle of the night, weaning our guy off of the oxygen, ups, downs, tears, laughs, smiles, ringing in New Year’s 2016 holding our baby with wires and oxygen hooked up to him, feeding him for the first time and so much more.


I won’t go through all of the details with you, but I can tell you: having a baby in the NICU was the hardest thing that I have had to endure as a mom. Even though he was only in there for a few days compared to some who are in there for months, it changed me and made me stronger not only as a person, but as a mom. I look at life completely different now. Things that mattered before suddenly didn’t matter at all. Instead of being sad that our little boy is growing up so fast, I count my blessings that he is here with us to grow up.


During our entire NICU journey, my mom was there. She lives in North Carolina, and 4 days after our little guy was born was my brother’s wedding in North Carolina. So, what did my parents do? They drove to North Carolina for the wedding and drove straight back over to be with us and support us while we face the uncertainty of the journey ahead of us. My mom held me as I sobbed holding my baby hooked up to monitors, wires and IVs. She was there as we made difficult decisions. She was also there the day that we finally brought Levi home from the hospital. Not only did this entire journey show me that I am a strong mom, but it also showed me how strong my mom is.


Growing up, my mom always represented what it means to be strong. She worked hard and was my rock through every difficult day growing up. She also taught me to save money and the value of a dollar. Now that I’ve been a mom for over a year, I’m learning even more that strong moms and strong kids need strong trash bags. Let’s face it: kids are messy and the last thing that you want to deal with as a mom is a trash bag that doesn’t meet your standards. That’s why we only trust Hefty® Ultra Strong™ trash bags in our house!4


A few of my favorite features include:

  • ARM & HAMMER™ patented odor neutralizer
  • Active tear resistant technology for better puncture-resistance
  • Fresh, invigorating scents, including Clean Burst™, Tropical Paradise™, Lavender & Sweet Vanilla™, White Pine Breeze™, Crisp Orchard Apple™, Citrus Twist™, Pomegranate Mist™ and Scent Free
  • Break resistant grip drawstring that prevents the bag from falling inside the can

What’s even more fun is that recently John Cena and his mom, Carol, partnered to show that they love Hefty® just as much as we do! John’s mom is just like my mom: she’s a mom that understands the value of being ultra strong and saving money. It’s so nice to see a public figure that values his strong mom just as much as I value mine! I can guarantee she has been there for him, cheering him on through all of his struggles and triumphs in life, just like any strong mom would do! If you are a strong mom who values strong savings, I highly recommend Hefty® Ultra Strong™ trash bags!



This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hefty® Ultra Strong™ trash bags.

AD I’m sharing a story that was very difficult to write, all about our little one’s NICU journey and how it not only made me a stronger mom, but also showed me how strong my mom is!

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  1. robin rue says:

    Oh wow, thank you so much for sharing your story. I can’t even imagine. My new (ish) nephew was in the NICU for about a week when he was born in December because he was 6 weeks early, but thankfully it was just a week. I have a friend whose baby was born at 26 weeks and her baby was in the NICU for 84 days.

    1. Oh wow! I am so glad your nephew didn’t have to spend very long in the NICU. It’s such a difficult place to be!

  2. Yes, God really carried us through those difficult days! He kept his promise of always being there.

    Never forget that youARE a strong mom! As a parent, you never want to see your child struggle, and you did, but you are stronger for having endured that struggle!

    Levi is a lucky young man to have you and Josh for his parents!

  3. What a story and so beautifully told. I love that you credited your mom with her strength and how it helped you. Tears.

  4. I am so glad it all worked out well for you! I know having my mom there for me during hard times really does make a huge difference. I never had a NICU baby, but my son had to go under the lights and that was scary enough. You for sure are one strong mom!

  5. That was a riveting story that I am so glad had a happy ending. I take for granted the health of my kids even now that they are older.

  6. I can only imagine how hard that was. Such a beautiful moment can be turned around so quickly. I’m glad everything worked out.

  7. I don’t know how I would have reacted being in the same situation. My youngest (now almost 12) had to use the lights before we left, and we had to return the next day for the lights, and that was scary!

  8. Thank you for sharing your story! I can’t imagine how scary it would have been but thankfully you have come out the other side! So beautiful that your parents were able to support you too!

  9. Such a beautiful story and thank you for sharing it. You are strong because having a child in the NICU has to be scary with the parents fearing the worst yet hoping for the best.

  10. I admire moms who go through all of this and come out stronger than ever for their babies. I’m glad that everything’s okay now. Thank you for sharing your story!

  11. Thank you for sharing. I spent time with my sister and nephew in the NICU and it was such a different experience than when I had my own babies.

  12. It does take a lot of strength to handle having your baby in the NICU. I’ve known other parents who have gone through this and their stories are so similar. Thanks for sharing yours.

  13. I can totally relate. Our daughter was in the NICU when she was born too. Even more difficult, my husband was serving active duty overseas. Us moms sure don’t realize our strength until we have to go through something like this!

  14. Amazing story. Yes, you are a very strong mom because of that experience. So very happy that the story ended well, and that Levi is thriving.

  15. Thank you for sharing this incredible story. I’m so glad your little guy is doing well. It sounds like you have an amazing supportive family – you’re so very lucky!

  16. Thanks for sharing your story with us! I haven’t had children (yet!) but I imagine the second you feel or hear anything may be wrong it’s a really scary and heart-wrenching feeling. I’m so happy for you and your family!

  17. I have four kids and I’ve never experienced going through NICU and all of that, which is why I admire mothers who do because it takes a lot of strength for you to pull through for your family. It was inspiring to read your story.

  18. With a baby on the way I totally have my own worries and what not. Thank you so very much for sharing your inspiring story and how much of a strength you have. I am sure getting through that NICU stage was very bothering and tough. Keep on inspiring us! xx

  19. Wow, you rock! I can remember when I had my son in Septemeber everything made me emotional. Awesome post and amazing post of strength.

  20. Thank you for sharing your story. Yes, it is very hard to be a mom and you need a lot of strength. But it all works itself out and you find out that you can do things that you didn’t think you could do.

  21. Krystle Cook says:

    NICU is something I have never had to experience but I have friends that have. You are all so strong!

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