Dear NICU Nurses,
I don’t think I ever properly said thank you; a rushed one maybe as I put my not even 5lb baby into her car seat for the very first time after 9 weeks of being with you. It was all a blur to be honest. We were clutching bags and bags of medication for her and trying not to drop the breathing monitor she was attached to. You all gave me encouraging smiles as I left, wished us well and told us to come back and visit you. I smiled, thanked you and we walked away. We walked away from the hardest 9 weeks of our lives. I haven’t seen any of you since that day but when I think back to those days I think you probably saw what I went through more than most.
You were the kindest most supportive people I could have wished to spend my days with at that time. Yes, you cared for my baby in a medical way; you bought her back more times than I care to remember. You carefully fed her through her tube and administered her medicine every few hours. I expected that, we were in a hospital. What I didn’t expect was your genuine love and compassion for my baby girl and not only for her but for me, my husband and my son.
Every day I walked onto the ward and stood washing my hands at the sink for the 100th time that week I would glance at you cautiously. You knew what I was asking you without me even saying anything; was I about to hear bad news? You would always start with the good stuff, ease me in gently. That meant a lot especially in the early days.
When Little Lady was 3 days old one of you asked me if I wanted to hold her. You could tell how frightened I was and how awful I felt for being frightened of my own baby. You settled her on me, you sorted the wires and you offered to take photos of our first cuddle.
As time went on I got to know some of you more and we would chat about all sorts of things while I sat there with Little Lady snuggled into my chest. I barely saw anyone over those 9 weeks and those chats about holidays or your morning rush to work kept me sane and kept me feeling normal.
There were so many special things you did for me while we were in NICU. You didn’t have to do any of them but you did because you cared. You made a matching incubator name tag for Little Lady’s twin sister so we could have both of their names at home. You gave my 3 year old son a sticker book so he had something to do when was sat with us. You took a picture in the middle of the night when you were changing her tubes and made a birthday card for me with it. It was the first time I saw her face without any tubes and it was the best birthday present.
You didn’t mind us ringing up every morning to see how she was and you understood when I was running late after doing a preschool run and then driving down the motorway for half an hour to get to the hospital. You spoke to the Doctors on behalf of me when I couldn’t be there. You explained everything to my fact obsessed husband who needed to fully understand every beep, machine and wire. You smiled when I smiled, you hugged me when I cried and you helped me be my little girls mummy, something which so many take for granted. You helped me dress her without affecting her wires, you helped me learn to tube feed and you helped me bath her for the first time.
That day when I left, I was frightened. I was leaving the little NICU family I had made behind and my comfort blanket too. You were my comfort blanket and that’s exactly what I needed then.
Most of all you loved my baby when I couldn’t be there, you cuddled her when she was upset and you only ever had her best interests at heart.
For those 9 weeks she had 20 Mums, what a lucky little girl.
To the NICU nurses that cared for Little Lady and to all the NICU nurses caring for our babies around the clock. Thank you. I hope you know what a special job you do and what a big part of a families life and history you are.