September is Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness month. Until this year, my only knowledge of a NICU was what I saw portrayed in TV medical dramas. I had no idea of the reality of NICU life let alone that there was a month dedicated to promoting awareness.
That all changed on July 30th when my husband and I received a call from the adoption agency. We had been matched with a baby boy, our son. He had been born 2 days prior and was expected to be in the NICU for at least one week. One week turned into three of the most emotional and stressful weeks of our lives. The shining light through that period were the healthcare professionals who took care of our son and were there for us day and night.
We bought them some sweet treats and wrote a thank you card on our last day but we were still so in the thick of things that it was a brief thank you. I never had the opportunity to truly express how thankful we were. Now that the dust has settled a bit, I want to make sure they know the impact they had.
Dear NICU Staff,
When my husband and I first walked through the doors of the NICU to meet our son we had no idea what to expect. Overnight our lives had changed and we were now parents of a little boy who needed us to be strong. Inside I felt anything but, I was excited yet also nervous and scared. I had no idea how to be the rock for this baby when I didn’t even know how to change a diaper! That’s where you came in.
From the very beginning each and every one of you were knowledgeable, helpful and supportive. You showed us how to feed him, change him, bathe him and hold him. None of which were easy feats when he was on medication and hooked up to monitors with a feeding tube in his nose.
You were there for him, through big moments and small. You raced in each time his alarm went off and assured us he was okay. When the stickers started coming off his name card, you hand wrote and decorated a new one. You explained his stats and test results to us in layman’s terms. You used your own Pandora account to play him music.
Each time we had a question you patiently answered. You had probably answered similar questions hundreds of times before but you never showed it. When we felt overwhelmed with a task you were there to help out.
When I broke down in tears you said, “You got this momma” and put a comforting arm around my shoulder.
As time went on we got to know each other’s stories. You learned about our journey to adoption and we learned about you and your families. You gave us advice on everything from which diaper pail to buy to tips and tricks for calming him down to outlining issues that may arise when he got home.
Our celebrations were your celebrations. When the decision to remove his feeding tube was made you were so excited to share the news with us. When the doctor informed us his medication could be weaned down, your look of happiness was as genuine as ours.
On the shifts you had different patient assignments, each one of you still looked in on our little guy and asked how we were doing. The days I was alone with him because my husband had to go back to work, you sat with me on your breaks and talked.
The moment we got word that we could finally take him home, your excitement was evident. You told us that he was a lucky little boy to be going home with such great parents and how you had seen us grow into a family over those 3 weeks. I had tears in my eyes as you spoke those words.
For 3 weeks you took care of him and made sure we were supported. I cannot thank you enough for all that you did for us and will continue to do for future babies and families. Know that your dedication and hard work are noticed and appreciated.
All of you were such a blessing to us and we will be forever grateful to you for being the rock that we needed in order for us to be strong for our little boy. Your impact on our lives will never be forgotten. To everyone who was a part of our lives for those three long weeks, thank you.
You are truly amazing.
The Palmer Family