72 Days in the NICU – 033

Nov 13

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 days 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


Show Notes:

Birthing Stone Baby Sleep Coaching Program — This Week’s Sponsor

The Importance of Kangaroo Care

The Difficult Transition from NICU to Home

Ingrid’s Marriage and Family Therapy Practice


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.



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comments  +

  1. Greg Miller says:

    The unwavering love and support of Ingrid’s family and friends helped to sustain,comfort, console and encourage both Ingrid and Scott through this whole experience. I couldn’t think of another young couple who were more prepared then they even knew to endeavor and perserveer through this crisis. Thank you to the NICU team @ Kiaser Roseville, Ca friends and family for all their continued love and support.

  2. Dearest Ingrid, (Scott, and Willow, too!), This is so important to tell your story and for us to hear it. Even though, as Aunt/Great Aunt, I knew some of your story, I still had tears in my eyes with the details of the emotional intensity of your transformational journey. You have such wisdom and courage to not only embrace your gratitude for miracle baby Willow, but to also acknowledge and work through the grief and mourning that was also part of your experience. You are amazing, you told your story in such a real way, and I love the three of you!

  3. Emily says:

    That was absolutely beautiful and to hear your entire story just brought me to tears… both happy and also relatable
    I’m so happy I was able to meet you and Scott and hope this spring we are able to get our girls together too!

  4. Carla Cram says:

    Even though my story is completely different I can really relate. My son was not as early but he was very sick and spent 28 days in hospital. I’m now pregnant with my second and have some complications already at 20 weeks which is upsetting and scary. I know what it’s like to have a NICU experience, and to not know how it’s going to go.

  5. Carla says:

    Bit further into this episode and wanted to say we too had a good experience in NICU. We had 6 hourly cares due to how sick our baby was. It was so hard to transition to having no monitors and so strange to take him home.

  6. Liz says:

    My goodness. Ingrid, I hope you read this. We had such crazy similar experiences! It was like listening to my own story! I would love to connect with you as I have never talked to a mom who went through what I did. (I stayed antepartum for 5 weeks and then delivered via emergency c section due to cord prolapse at 29 weeks 6 days). I would love to be connected with you! I will leave my email in my comment for the authors to see if they could pass it on? Thanks!

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