Thursday, October 23, 2008

NICU Nurses

Having Elizabeth in NICU for seven days was stressful and hearbreaking all at the same time. During my first visit to NICU (I'm not counting the one right after I had her because I was still hopped up on morphine), I sat next to Elizabeth's warming bed in my wheelchair and held her teeny hand and sobbed uncontrollably while trying to ask questions. The nurse couldn't have been more kind and patient and understanding. She patted my shoulder and held my other hand and waited patiently for me to stop crying long enough to sputter out my questions, all of which she answered calmly and thoroughly.

It turns out she wasn't the exception. Every nurse we dealt with was amazing - each one was calm and compasionate. They made the whole situation remotely bearable. When I left Elizabeth to go back to my room or back to the house, I did so with full confidence that she was being well taken care of.

Our favorite night nurse, Sally, stuck a bow on Elizabeth's head as soon as her cpap was removed. "I want her to look like a girl," she said. Sally also made a beautiful name tag for Elizabeth's bed. And when Elizabeth no longer needed the warming bed, Sally found this adorable quilt, made by Threads of Love, for Elizabeth's bassinette.

When we were struggling to get Elizabeth to eat enough either from a bottle or by nursing, another favorite nurse, Stacy, did everything she could to get Elizabeth to eat enough that she wouldn't have to be tube fed. Stacy knew that Elizabeth had nursed enough to not be hungry, but at that time the doctor still wanted Elizabeth to eat a certain amount from a bottle. If she didn't take it by mouth, we had to feed her by tube, which no one wanted to do. Stacy's efforts weren't successful, but I appreciated that she took the time to try.

One other nurse, Heidi, told B that she had been working in NICU for 15 years. Even though she had been working with babies for so long, you could tell that she still really loved the job just by the way she talked to the babies - even the teeniest ones.

Throughout Elizabeth's seven days there, NICU became a sort of refuge for me. It was always so calm and peaceful, despite the beeping monitors, and the nurses were a large part of it.

I need to call the hospital and get the name of the NICU director so that I can write a letter commending Sally and Stacy and Heidi and Mary Lou and Alida for their kindness and compassion. They all made a difficult situation bearable for us.

Happy Love Thursday.


Cathy said...

There's nothing like being reassured like that! I can definitely see how NICU could become a refuge. What a great tribute to those nurses.

Becca said...

that was lovely. I found the NICU nurses so nice as well. My son was full term but needed IV antibiotics for a week, and he was a bit of a favorite because the nurses said it was refreshing to see a baby full size and who just needed to be fed, no real specialized care. i would come in and find a nurse from across the room holding him or stroking his brow. It was nice.