Having four premature babies in the NICU is a difficult journey no matter how prepared you are ahead of time. However, there are some very special nurses who made our NICU time much better. They did everything from teach us how to feed our babies to letting me cry on their shoulders. Some nurses became “Medela Wranglers” when I had to share with a miserly mother. When we couldn’t be at the NICU, they advocated for our babies and snuggled them like we would. They dressed our babies in their best clothes with coordinated linens and sweetly spoke to them. They never treated our babies as just another patient and instead treated them like little people. I have no doubt they are called to do this work. It is not easy, but they do it with such love.
During our stay we had many nurses and care partners who helped care for our babies, but we were fortunate enough to have several “primary” nurses. Primary nurses sign up to care for particular babies each time they come to work. This helps with continuity of care and bonding. It proved very important to have the same nurse from day to day when Sydney was getting sick because her nurse, Liz, was able to compare her health from one day to the next. This ultimately helped change Sydney’s care plan so she could get better.
While we are soooo happy to leave the NICU, these special people will never be forgotten as they were the first to care for our babies. When I left Cook for the last time, I was overjoyed but felt a little sad to leave these wonderful people behind. I’ll admit I shed a few tears on the way out. Thank you, Cook Children’s NICU nurses and care partners! We will see you at the reunion!