Saturday, 17 November 2012

Dear NICU Nurse

This post was inspired by chat I had on Twitter this morning with A Party of Seven a wonderful blogger who just so happens to be a NICU nurse.

Dear NICU Nurse,

I am in awe of you. As I watch your fingers dance over my baby's tiny body, deftly moving between the wires and the tubes, I give thanks for your skill and your expertise. Ignoring the beeps, watching intently the movements my baby makes, the colour of his skin, you make sure my baby is safe. As you silently, carefully measure such tiny amounts of medication, checking each one off with a colleague, I marvel at how calm and methodical you are.

I appreciate when you come to me in the morning to give me an update. When you quietly whisper in my ear that the consultant is considering a medication change, a procedure, the addition of fortifier, giving me a heads up to the discussion that is to come. When you leave me a little note on a piece of hand towel, or a leaflet about a complication. 

I thank you for the way you carefully teach me to give breastmilk to my baby in a syringe. You teach me how to wash his impossibly small eyes with a cotton wool ball that in comparison looks like a giant cumulonimbus cloud. You show me how to lift his bottom up to change his nappy, but not too far lest some sausage like poo should shoot across the incubator hitting the perspex barrier to the outside world.

You patiently teach me about developmental care, explaining why you must cover his incubator with this giant cloth. You keep the nicest sheets, the ones with cat and the fiddle on them, tucked away so that I can make his cot look homely. You make sure his clothes are kept separate and not mixed with the hospital laundry, never to be seen again.

But I resent you. Try as I might to appreciate your skill, your kindness, your empathy, your experience, there are times when I could push you out of the way and scratch your eyes out. You are not trying to do my job, my logical self knows I am my baby's mother, but my heart sees you as competition. You are standing between me and my baby. You tell me when I can touch and I cannot. When I can see him and when I cannot. When I can hold him and when I cannot. You are the gatekeeper.

Today, though, you have come to me. You have touched my shoulder and whispered in my ear. Today, you see, you have given me the news I have been waiting for. It's time. It's time for my baby to come home. He will not be yours anymore, but you know that he has never been yours, you have done your work until the time that he becomes ready to be mine, to be ours, to be at home with us, his family.

And I see you now, for the caring professional that you are. You were never trying to be me. You were being you.

And I thank you.



  1. Can totally relate. great post as ever x

    1. My son was premature as well and I'd love for you to follow me on twitter @MeganDittrich I don't know any other premature mums my fb is also megan mimi Dittrich xx

  2. Yes, I can for the admiration and resentment part. Admiration for the times they knew what was causing discomfort, distress or de-sats, and resentment that they knew and not me, and that they would be the ones to take action. Also resentment and a strong (usually temporary) dislike when they told me I wouldn't get to hold my baby today.

    As for the coming home part - for that I thank the Doctor who decided it, even when the lead nurse would rather have waited another week or so. But that day finally came - 3 years ago this Tuesday!!!!! :D

  3. thats almost had me in tears kylie:'(. ive asked my mum you know, and its odd, i say odd because she told me she never felt resentment towards them it never even occured to her. they touched me almost as little as my parents were allowed to. my paerents just saw them as a support, huge lifeline and grateful to the care and love they gave me certainly becoming family by the time i left. How nicu care has moved on ...the incubator was see through at all times, no covers over the top. what does it do? they didnt know about that sort of thing 30yrs ago. now, im constantly cold and struggling majorly with circulation and body temp problems (this they did warn my mum of) have done since i was little but its got worse the older ive got. really is such as lovely post :) id love to be able to say thank you to mine in person but tey are scattered all over the uk :( 1 in read, Lancs.

  4. This was a beautiful read. I have tears streaming down my face.

  5. Beautiful and my grandma was a NICU nurse. However, she passed away before my daughter was born. But I know she would of been proud of my 28 week miracle!

  6. So right about "the heart sees you as competition". Now we are home I can see them for who they are and their amazing work. We are lucky enough to keep in close contact with one of our NICU nurses and it is the best thing being able to show off Alice as she grows and see how proud our nurse still is as the little scrap she would care for on shifts is growing up. She still remembers everyones name, story, circumstance, medical details, relations' names and is still there to support and share with parents years down the line. Truly special.

  7. Fantastic post. I remember the poos which covered the inside of the incubator! Nice. I can also totally understand. As a mother, it must be so hard to see someone else caring for your baby, even though you know the reasons why they have to.

  8. What a lovely post. I can relate a lot to the gratitude of someone who knows how to do everything and looks after your baby so wonderfully and carefully but also the jealousy (is that the right word?) that it isn't you x

  9. Aw, this was lovely. *wipes away a tear*

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