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To the NICU Parents: I See You

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This is for all the NICU parents…

You handed your baby over to me, to the NICU team. We promised to update you as soon as we could.

Maybe all of this was happening way earlier than you planned. Or maybe you weren’t expecting the NICU to be part of your story at all, but complications arose.

I see you standing there to the side or lying in the labor bed as we walk away. I see the cascading emotions pour over you.

I see you, the mom, the next day, doing everything you can to squeeze a few drops of colostrum from your breast. I see you, the dad, looking lost and confused at the desk syringes of breast milk in your hand, the ones you brought so the mother of your baby can recover in bed.

I see you as the weeks go on. Taking multiple trips to the hospital. Sleeping in chairs or on cots at bedside. Pumping around the clock. I hear your tears as you kiss them goodbye at the end of the day, leaving them in my care.

I see you scrub and scrub again at the sink, dispelling all germs. I see you come night after night for the night shift. We pull out the extra cot or the coloring books when you have to bring a twin or siblings.

I offer to get you water or warm a scone from Made by Momma because I see how hard you are working, and I wish I could do more for you. I answer your questions over and over.

To those parents with us for months, I see you the most. I see you glance at the monitor. I laugh as you joke that you wish you could take a nurse with you, too. I remind you that you’ve got this… because you do.

To the NICU parents I’ve had the honor of working with, of partnering with, I want you to know I see you. Even when I’m busy and I seem rushed. Even on the days where I’m tired and answer questions with bare basics. I see your tears. I cuddle your babies when you aren’t here. I hold them and tell them how much their parents love them.

To those parents who have had to say goodbye too early and forever, I remember your babies, too. I cry for them in the quiet of the night. I see. I remember.

I have learned so much about the human spirit from NICU parents.

To all NICU parents: You encourage me with your gratitude and trust for the work I do. You make me want to be a better nurse and a better mom.

Your NICU nurse

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Image via Thinkstock Images

Originally published: November 27, 2016
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