Forget About Stress Eating, We Forgot to Eat

A few words about food. If you have found yourself in a situation similar to ours, you will know that really simple things, like grocery shopping, cooking, eating…heck, even bathing, become so overwhelming that they don’t get done. Of course, that is if you even think about them. There were quite a few mornings that I did not think about them at all as I sat in the NICU holding London. Then, around noon, when I would start to think about lunch, I’d realize I hadn’t had breakfast. I hadn’t thought about it at all. Trust me when I say this, I have to be extremely stressed out and busy to completely forget about eating.

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Coq au vin, prepared by my mom. With Odell beer and Highland Park 18 Yr Scotch.

Things were like this for a while. Kate and I did not have the time or energy to sit down and plan meals for a week and then figure out the necessary items to pick up at the grocery store. It was never going to happen.

We had so many people asking us how they could help. I don’t know about you, but it feels weird to say things like, “Well, we could really use a dinner tonight,” or “Do you want to go vacuum our house?” “Do our laundry?” “Bring us lunch at the hospital.”

Luckily, we have some amazing friends who know from their own experience or the experience of others that stepping up and providing a meal is the best thing you can do for parents who have a baby in the NICU.

We had meals in the freezer for weeks. Friends even came into our house while we were still at the hospital and made dinner, so when we got home there was soup in the crockpot, bread on the counter, and salad in the fridge. There were meals on our doorstep, driven in from Boulder. There were strangers at the door, well, someone who knew someone who knew Kate, dropping dinner off and telling me, “You look tired. Be sure to get some rest.” There were people showing up at the NICU to meet London, but also handing us a meal. There was a Trader Joe’s gift card in the mail. There were parents who cooked amazing meals for us at the end of a long day in the NICU.

I did not do a big grocery shopping for four weeks. I occasionally had to get a few items like milk (of course), eggs, and bread, but other than that, we survived on peoples’ kindness and generosity for weeks, even months. I want to write that we could not have made it through the NICU days without them, but that is silly exaggeration. We would have made it, we just would have survived off countless Chipotle burritos, Einstein bagels, and Panera sandwiches. For bringing a home-cooked meal into our home, we thank you. For keeping us far away from regular fast food stops, our tastebuds, waistlines, and digestive tracts thank you.

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