I have to be honest. Before I had children, when I thought about the birth of my child and the days immediately after, it didn't include you. You weren't even on my radar. Nothing personal, but I didn't want to be involved with you. You meant that my baby was sick. That I wouldn't be able to take them home right away. I mean, you work in an intensive care unit. Those words alone are scary.
And then, I found out that I would need you. I learned that you would be taking my place in caring for my child. I realized that even though you hadn't previously been in my thoughts surrounding the birth of my child, you now would play an integral role. And I'm so, so glad that you were there.
Thank you for leaving your home, your children, your family to come take care of mine. Thank you for kissing your children goodnight, tucking them in, and walking out the door to your night shift. Thank you for giving up holidays, parties, celebrations, concerts and get togethers so that you could be there for me.
Thank you for seeing beyond the monitors, the wires, the medications, to see my child. You took the time to learn who my child actually was, so when something started to go wrong you could immediately notify the physician. You knew when the bradies and spells they were presenting with weren't their normal types of spells. You knew which positions they preferred to lie in, how they liked to be held when they ate and their love/hatred of the bathtub.
Thank you for holding my child when I couldn't. Thank you for loving them. Thank you for rocking them, just because you could, when you had a down moment. You have no idea how comforting it was to know that my child wouldn't be ignored while I wasn't in the unit.
Thank you for treating me like an educated adult who was just trying to be the best mom I could. No, I didn't know all the medical jargon going into it, but thanks for taking the time to explain it all to me. Thank you for including me in the care of my children and for asking me for my opinion. I know that I haven't seen all of the things you have, so I appreciate that you considered my opinion when we were discussing the care of my child.
Thank you for noticing when I was at the brink. There were a few times I felt I was on the verge of losing my mind and you noticed and took the time to come up with solutions. Thanks for not only knowing my baby, but for knowing me. For knowing how much I could handle and when it was time to redirect my energy.
Thanks for the artwork that you created with their footprints/handprints/name. It was always such a nice surprise to arrive at their bedside and see a new sign, or cute project made with their footprints. It made me feel like I wasn't missing out on all the "normal" baby stuff.
I know that for much of this, you think you were "just doing your job." I can tell you that for me, it didn't seem like it. "Just doing your job" would have been you responding to my daughters's spells when she became septic, when instead you knew that she normally didn't spell like that and alerted a doctor so she could be put on antibiotics immediately. You weren't "just doing your job" when you thought that my son looked a little off, requested that testing be done and caught his infection before it became fatal. "Just doing your job" would not have gotten me the tiny pink hair ribbons I still have from the day of their baptism.
Now that the NICU and NICU nurses have become part of our story, I can imagine it no other way. I consider myself lucky to have met you and lucky to have had you care for my children. I know that many times parents find themselves overwhelmed with the lights and sounds of the NICU and the disappearing dream they had about the birth of their child, so they forget to thank you.
But, as a NICU mom, I want you to know that we appreciate it. The bows, the snuggles, the detail, the knowledge. All of it.
A mom who is grateful for everything you do