We spent three months in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) after Callie was born. Three long, brutal, exhausting months. Three of the longest months of my life. The bright spot in those long months were our nurses. In fact, in this entire journey, the shiny beacons of light have been the amazing nurses.
They were the ones who explained the complicated terminology to us.
They were the ones who would hold my hand as I silently shook with sobs by her incubator.
They were the ones who would praise me when I managed to pump an ounce of breast milk.
They were the ones that would reassure me that she was a little fighter.
They were the ones who made a little sign with her name on it for her crib, when it was apparent we would be staying for a while.
They were the ones who would let me call the nurses station after hours when I was too tired to stay the night, and just needed the reassurance that she was OK. Even when it was 2 a.m. and I woke up with a panic attack that something had happened.
They were the ones that would put a little bow in her hair on bath days, and would let me put special little onesies on her even though she was supposed to just be in her diaper.
They were the ones that would hold her when James and I needed a break. They never said anything to us even though we literally held her more than 20 hours a day. They understood that we needed her close, and this was how we would help her get stronger…in our arms.
They were the ones who made it feel comfortable for us and reminded us to eat and take care of ourselves.
When Callie came home from the NICU, we had a home health nurse that would come check on us and monitor Callie’s progress. She saw me at my absolute worst — shell shocked, grief-stricken, scared, overwhelmed and exhausted. It was as much a therapy session for me as it was a wellness check for Callie. There was never any judgement. It was always an hour of quiet reassurance and centering. I can never repay her for that bit of comfort she gave us in that dark time.
So to all of our amazing nurses, thank you.
Thank you for bringing Callie a stuffed animal with bandages on its leg after her amputation.
Thank you for sitting by her bed and letting her talk to you about dinosaurs after her open-heart surgery.
Thank you for advocating for us. We didn’t always know the right steps to take, but you were always there to help guide us.
Thank you for giving us the space to collapse with dignity in front of you. I never felt shamed for showing my heartbreak or tears.
Thank you for not saying anything when I threw up in the trash can after we removed Callie’s tubes from her chest.
Thank you for keeping watch over me at night when James couldn’t be there. You lifted the worry about leaving his diabetic wife in the hospital because he knew I was in good hands.
Thank you for trying your best to keep Callie’s pain level down, even though I know at times that was an impossible task.
Thank you for telling her she could take another step…and for telling us the same.
Thank you for lifting some of the burden for us.
Thank you for always bringing me another blanket because I’m forever freezing in hospitals.
Thank you for the empathy, care and compassion you have given to our little family. We are forever humbled and blessed to have interacted with so many angels disguised as nurses over the last 10 years.