Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Dear NICU Nurse

Dear NICU Nurse,

Our 24 weeker, Tucker, with his primary nurses a few weeks before he was discharged.

Our 24 weeker, Tucker, with his primary nurses a few weeks before he was discharged.

To be honest, I never knew you existed. Back when our birth plan included a fat baby, balloons and a two-day celebratory hospital stay, I had never seen you. I had never seen a NICU. Most of the world hasn’t. There may have been a brief, “This is the Neonatal floor” whilst drudging by on a hospital tour. But no one really knows what happens behind those alarm-secured, no-window-gazing, doors of the NICU. Except me. And you.

I didn’t know that you would be the one to hold and rock my baby when I wasn’t there. I didn’t know that you would be the one to take care of him the first 5 months of his life as I sat bedside, watching and wishing that I was you. I didn’t know that you would be the one to hand him to me for the first time, 3 weeks after he was born. That you would know his signals, his faces, and his cries. Sometimes, better than me. I didn’t know you. I didn’t know how intertwined our lives would become.

I know you now. I’ll never be able to think of my child’s life, without thinking of you.

I know that in the NICU, you really run things. That your opinions about my baby’s care often dictates the course and direction or treatment as you consult with the neonatologist every day. I know that you don’t hesitate to wake a sometimes sleeping doctor in the nearby call room because my baby’s blood gas number is bad. Or because his color is off. Or because he has had 4 bradys in the last 45 minutes. Or because there’s residual brown gunk in his OG tube.

I know now that you are different from other nurses.

I know that, at times, you are assigned to just one baby for 12 hours straight. You are assigned to him because he is the most critically sick and medically fragile baby in the unit. I’ve seen you sit by that baby’s bedside for your entire shift. Working tirelessly to get him comfortable and stable. Forgoing breaks while you mentally will his numbers to improve. I’ve seen you cry with his family when he doesn’t make it. I’ve seen you cry alone.

I’ve seen you, in an instant, come together as a team when chaos ensues. And let’s be honest, chaos and NICU are interchangeable words. When the beeper goes off signaling emergency 24 weeker triplets are incoming. When three babies in the same pod are crashing at the same time. When the power goes off and you’re working from generators. In those all too often chaotic moments, you know that time is more critical in this unit than any other, and you don’t waste it. You bond together instantly as a team, methodically resolving the crisis until the normal NICU rhythm is restored.

Yes. I know you now. I’ll never be able to give in return what you have given to me. Thank you for answering my endless questions, even when I had asked them before. Thank you for your skill, you are pretty great at what you do. Thank you for fighting for my baby. Thank you for pretending like it was normal when I handed you a vial of just pumped breast milk. Thank you for agreeing to play Beatles lullabies in my baby’s crib when I was gone. Thank you for waking the doctor. Thank you for texting me pictures of my sweet miracle, even when it was against hospital policy. Thank you for crying with me on the day we were discharged.

Most of the world still doesn’t know what you do. They can’t understand how integral you are to the positive outcomes of these babies who started life so critically ill. But I do. I know you now. I will never forget you. In fact, our story can never be told without mentioning you. So the next time you wave your access card to enter the place that few eyes have seen, know that you are appreciated. I know you, and you are pretty amazing.

Your fan forever,

A NICU mom

Heather Hucks About Heather Hucks

Heather Hucks (NC) is the mother to a 24 weeker, Tucker, who weighed 1 lb 7oz at birth and spent 151 days in the NICU. She still balks at the sound of a fast food fry machine alarm that sounds eerily just like a brady alarm and has come to learn that Tucker’s NICU list of complications is somewhat mild when it comes to a 24 weeker. So far, he has no major issues from his prematurity. Heather has also learned to resist sneaking a peek at the playbook for life. She has seen through this experience that she isn’t the author and doesn’t write the plays. She works full time, blogs about her family, and tries to limit cupcakes to one a day. You can read about her parenting rookie stunts at Team Hucks or find her on Facebook.


  1. This was amazing.

  2. This was sent to me by a wonderful mom. I had the great privilege of taking care of her preemie and still feel bonded to this family. Now more tears. Thank you NICU moms.

    • Jackie C. NICU RN says:

      Thank you for sharing this letter. It brought me to tears! I love being a NICU nurse more than words can say! Being a NICU nurse is like no other nursing and by the sound of her letter she DOES KNOW YOU and ALL of US NICU nurses NOW:) Beautiful letter!

    • Heather HucksHeather Hucks says:

      You are why I wrote this letter. Thank you!

      • What a lovely way to express your love of all of them. So nice. On the wall once inside the main door to the unit is a picture of my daughter and grandson Garrett. He is doing well now and 5 years old.

      • Johanna Parrish says:

        Heather Hucks your letter is amazingly true, as soon as I started reading your letter I feel as if I immediately connected with you and started tearing up. I still have the same feelings and anxiety rush when I hear a strange buzzer go off. My Son Joseph was born at 25 weeks through a emergency c -section at 1 pound 13 oz. ( a little bigger then your son) but he struggled and had to fight hard to survive. He got multiple infections ( so many I would have to look back threw my journal to count them) including a stomache or intestine infection, as well as have mutiple brady’s because he would have milk flowing back up his throut and choak. He spent 116 days in the NICU and I completely identify with you. I love and appreciate all of the NICU nurses so much because they are dedicated to save every life, not just some, but every single one! Sometime they try to save a life but God has already decided to call that baby to Heaven. NICU nurse are truly God’s Angels on E

    • This brought tears to my eyes and brought back so many memories that are never far away. Watching my baby’s life hang in the balance and not being able to do anything – not even hold her hand – broke my heart. But for the support of all the nurses I’m not sure how I would have coped. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  3. Dear NICU mom,
    Thank you for this lovely post. I am a NICU nurse and I love taking care of babies like yours. I hope your little peanut is doing well and thriving. I am glad to read we are appreciated! Take care.

    NICU nurse 🙂

  4. Thank you. I’m printing this and putting it on My fridge, for the days when Moms make feel hated so I can remember there are Moms like you 🙂 congrats on your baby!!!!!

  5. Patricia Murphy says:

    Heather, I have not had the pleasure of following your child through his rollercoaster ride of preemiehood but I have had many more in my 25 yrs of nursing in the NICU. I Thank you for your insight of how a parent feels when then realized our paths need to merge for help. And you have now have given me a gift in your words to share with my daughter who has studied hard in High School and been accepted in to the General and Integrity Children’s Nursing Course. People say nurses are unappreciated and she is doubting it as a profession. So with your permission I would like to give this to her to understand this is why we work hard and give up social events.

    • Heather HucksHeather Hucks says:

      Of course, Patricia! Good luck to your daughter, nurses are very very special.

    • Patricia: I am NOT a nurse, nor anything else in the medical field. My blood boils when I hear ANYBODY refer to “just a nurse”! Nurses are the very backbone of the medical field, usually overworked, and always underpaid! Some of us, who are mere patients, have extreme respect for the nursing staff.

  6. Your very diligent observations of the work we do, put so well now into words, is more than this one NICU nurse could ever ask for. Thank you so very much for this.

    • Heather HucksHeather Hucks says:

      You are welcome, thank you for all you do for these babies.

      • Heather,
        What a wonderful article and so true. My daughter sent it to me, and it instantly took me back in time and place. My 28 weekers (boy/girl twins 2 lb 12 oz,/2 lb 14 oz respectively) are now 28 years old. As a trauma nurse myself, NICU nurses are the best, the perfect blend of technical astuteness and compassion.
        A benefit of being a preemie mommy is that you never take your kids for granted. 28 yrs later, they are still a gift that I wonder at, appreciate, cherish and love every day. It never gets old, even thru terrible twos, threes, brat attacks, teen angst, etc, nothing was or will be as bad as it would have been without them.
        To answer one of your earlier posts, NO, you never stop worrying, what you worry about changes. If I can give you any advice, don’t measure their milestones against anyone else, as long as they move along their own curve, they are fine. I took my daughter to the dentist because she didn’t have any teeth at 9 mos, at 10 mos. she got 8 teeth at once. They hit the “official” line on the chart at 6 yrs old.

        Some of the good things for me w/premies were, they stayed little longer, they were potty trained before they outgrew medium diapers, the bigger the diaper the fewer there are, they got to wear all the clothes they were given, I kept the stroller a nice long time, it’s the best package holder ever.

        Enjoy the journey.

  7. My NICU baby turned 32 years old this year. She was born full term but developed a pneumothorax at birth and was rushed to the NICU where she stayed for 5 days. I can’t imagine how hard it is to have a child there for months and commend the strength and courage NICU parents endure. Yes, NICU nurses are special. Their patients are someone’s precious miracle – and they fight so hard to see them grow and watch you take them home… Even after 32 years – I am still thankful that the hospital where I worked and where my daughter was born had a NICU and am greatful for the tender loving care my daughter and I received while she was there.

  8. Thank you. From one NICU parent to another. Thank you for writing this. I couldn’t have said it more pefectly.

    Mother of 30 week triplets. 8 weeks in the NICU.

  9. Chris Steffen says:

    I can’t thank the doctor’s and nurses in the Neenah WI, NICU enough for the job they did saving my son. My wife’s water broke at 13 weeks 5 days and we were told he would never live. He was born at 28 weeks and by the grace of God and the work of the NICU doctor’s and nurses, he came home after 12 weeks. He is almost 3 years old now and has no issues. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

  10. I love, love, love my NICU nurse. No one can ever really understand the relationship that you form as a mother and a preemie nurse. It’s the moment in your life that you are the most vulnerable. Where you wear your emotions right on your sleeve. Where you realize being the mother or two means that you have no choice in leaving. To be able to trust someone to take care of your tiny, critically ill child when you can’t be right by their side- you just truly cannot understand it if you have never been there. I would not have survived the first 11 days of Josh’s life had it not been for Andrea Todd, our NICU nurse.

    I really, honestly, almost refused to leave the hospital when they released me, but my family and friends had my back for two weeks while I was at CMC and i knew I had to go home. But I met a young nurse the night I left who told me that she was Josh’s nurse. And she was from Hudson, Ohio- a town right next to the one I grew up in. And she was the only reason I could breathe when I wasn’t at the hospital. I love this article. Thank you so much for sharing it.

    • Heather HucksHeather Hucks says:

      Thank you for reading! And I know what you mean about being scared to death to leave the hospital. These nurses are something special no doubt!

  11. Kristin, NICU RN, IBCLC, CPST : ) says:

    Thank you for this. I cried reading it. As a NICU nurse, you never really know what parents are thinking. It’s such a surreal place, but to me it’s home.
    It’s nice to know we are appreciated.
    I love my job, I don’t ever want to work anywhere else. it’s just.. HOME. My coworkers are my other family. My babies are my other babies.
    I have gone up to the NICU on my day off and sat with families that I was close to when their babies didn’t make it. I was at the funerals. I was in the pictures in the slideshow of the babies life. I’m mentioned in the obituary. (Yes, that was a family I illegally texted pictures to the mom all the time because she couldn’t be there. I laughed out loud at your comment about that!)
    People don’t get it. My husband doesn’t get it. They just can’t.
    You get it.

  12. What a wonderful letter. I work in a NICU, I am a respiratory therapist. This letter hit so home. I hope and pray that all that I do makes families feel loved and thought of. I love what I do, and could never imagine doing anything else. And you so beautifully expressed all that goes on inside NICU. It’s an amazing place in so many ways.

  13. So Sweet…I’m a NICU nurse and can’t say that I’ve ready something so sweet about us nurses. This is part of the reason I love what I do! Good luck to your family and your precious gift, Tucker!

  14. Beautifully written and so true!

    Mom of a 26 weeker (and a 35 weeker, too.)

  15. karen mcbrayer RN says:

    Thank you from a NICU Nurse – very nicely said.

  16. Though I didn’t have a NICU baby I know way too many that have and this seems like a lovely tribute to NICU nurses.

  17. On behalf of my sister-in-law and other NICU nurses, thanks for showing your appreciation. I know how dedicated she is, and has told me countless stories of babies going home and babies going to Heaven. These nurses are truly God’s blessings to others. My youngest spent a week in NICU even though she wasn’t a preemie and I knew I never had to worry because those nurses would love her as their own. Thanks again for acknowledging them!!!

  18. This brought tears to my eyes! As a NICU nurse there are a lot of times that we aren’t shown a lot of appreciation for the job we do. This blog entry makes up for a lot of that despite never meeting you or taking care of your child. Thank you 🙂

  19. Lenore Califano says:

    What a wonderful picture of life as a NICU nurse. I didn’t have the privilege if taking care of Tucker. I think he was born after I left. However, I know all of his primary nurses and they are a terrific group. Best of luck to you!

  20. From Primary Nursing to Transporting a 24 weeker my life is an adventure! I love every moment of my rewarding and challenging job! Thank you to all those parents that have entrusted me to care for their most precious loved one!

  21. Crystal (Gracie's mom) says:

    I, as a fellow NICU mom am in tears after reading this. I think that you have put into words the feelings of so many moms. I have often told our nurses that I can’t thank them enough and this is a good explanation as to why! NICU nurses (and doctors, and RTs and staff) have and always will have a special place in our hearts. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  22. cora blancio says:

    what a beautiful letter..brought tears in my eyes…i am a registered nurse myself but the last time i’ve worked in NICU was in 1978 when i was stationed in CLARK AIR BASE USAF…theses NICU nurses I give respect and hats off..i salute you all for performing such an outstanding job..i am proud to be a nurse…
    and thank you so much Heather for this letter of appreciation to our NICU nurses..the surely owned your love for them…gb

  23. Bravo! I couldn’t have said it better. After having 25 weeker twins, I truly believe that NICU Nurses are the toughest of the tough and the most highly skilled of them all.

  24. Kristen Taylor says:

    This is so exact to how I feel. Thanks for summing it up. I will forever be grateful to the NICU and CCN nurses, you guys are the reason my son is here. I love you all from the bottom of my heart.

  25. Jessica (Sj's Mom) says:

    This was sent to me by a fellow NICU Mom, her son was born at 35 weeks. I went into preterm labor at 28 and was on complete bed rest till I delivered my son at 34 weeks. Although he was only 5 pounds 6 ounces he was on the less critical side and my husband or myself were always there. But that didnt stop you from tending to his every need. Even when you had 2 other babies who’s parents could not be there 24-7. I cannot thank the NICU nurses enough for everything they did for my son through his 13 day stay. My son is now 9 weeks and thriving! You guys are THE BEST IF THE BEST and will FOREVER be appreciated by this mommy.

  26. Absolutely, NICU nurses deserve so much credit! After-all my daughter would not be here without them… 3 years ago we were blessed with a beautiful 1 pound 13 ounce baby girl…. today she is a beautiful, rambunctious, loud, and extremely mouthy 42 pound girl… They are truly superheros in my book

  27. Dearest nurses,

    As the grandmother of a child who spent the first five months of his life in the Dell Children’s NICU, thank you for the love, patience, and support you gave his parents as they adjusted to the rather terrifying roller coaster of surgeries, breathing problems (trach), feeding problems etc. Your teaching of nursing skills and simple kindness meant the world to all of us. He will be six this November and his survival and thriving are due to the team that embraced him from the day he was born.

  28. Paula Fulford says:

    And THIS is why I do what I do! Precious, thank you.

  29. You are right NICU nurses are a special kind of person kindhearted, loving and passionate about their jobs. They give the babies love, attention and warm-hearted smiles they need to grow and overcome the situations they are experiencing. Without that, who knows where these precious lives would be. We love each one of you…My fiancée and I did 12 hour shifts to provide my son’s care and comfort holding him using the 5 S’s and a Ton of love. The weeks of pain turned out to be only 4 days of mild discomfort…My son is now closing in on his first birthday. He’s in the high 90% percentile of all stages of development and we are told constantly by people that they have never seen a happier baby…Thank you to all the wonderful people at Franklin Square NICU and most nurses at all the NICU units around the country. You are all angels on earth. The world would suffer without your compassion and the love you give so freely and the level of care and compassion you show these to these new lives GOD gives us as if each was your own. Thank you each and everyone of you.

  30. i too am a nicu nurse and this touched my heart and made me cry. we have the best job ever! thank you!

  31. What a beautiful story! Premmie & NICU stories always tears me up. 🙁

    We could never thank our NICU nurses enough for what they did for our twins. We’re still great friends with some of them and couldn’t imagine where our twins would have been without them.

    Mum to 29 weeker twins. x

  32. Beautiful, accurate, exquisite, and affirmed. My wife Kristen, our 3 near-“10″month old miracles Elle, Lianna, and Nicholas – and I – echo these words, and the sincere gratitude behind them. Thanks for saying it for us, and so damn well.

  33. Christine P. says:

    Dear NICU Mom (s),

    This article moved me to tears. I am a NICU RN and I pride myself in the work I do and the care I deliver. Like you, I too did not have an appreciation for the work and business of the NICU until I walked through the door and began my career as a NICU Nurse. I care for and adore my patients as I would expect my very own baby to be cared for if the roles were reversed. I have shared moments of elation and moments of sadness with families. I have witnessed great miracles and even some tragedies that have wounded my heart. With each of these successful moments and even the not successful moments, the one thing I know is that I wouldn’t change it for anything. I love caring for your babies and I love to care for you! I am privileged and honored to be entrusted with the care of your most prized joy, your child. Thank you for allowing me to show you the depth of my care and compassion and thank you for seeing me as not simply a nurse but also someone who cares. I wish you great joy and happiness along with great successes in life. I will always afford a shoulder to cry on, a shin to kick, an ear to listen to as well as offering you my care and compassion, my humor and playfulness, my professionalism and my education as well as simply my heart. I Love being a NICU nurse and I love being part of a team that helps so many little lives progress successfully as well healthy! May you experience a life of joy and love always!
    Most sincerely and adoringly,
    An NYC NICU nurse!

  34. Been a NICU nurse and NP for 25 years now, also a mother of 3 preemies who spent their time in the NICU that I worked in. This is a great letter, thank you for letting us care for all your babies.

  35. My NICU baby turned 12 last Friday. I had forgotten about giving the “normal” pumped milk to the nurse. What a feeling of remembrance. Thank you!

  36. This was put so beautifully. I have a former 27 weeker and never included the NICU in my birth plan either. During our 74 day stay, we got to know those NICU nurses so well. To this day I am so very thankful for all that they did for my son, me and my family. Thank you for being able to express what I couldn’t put into words.

  37. Angela Sauve (Liam n Logan's mom) says:

    Thank you for share words that we were never able to express. My 28 weekers have a very large family. Our NICU became a second family to us. I never knew I could be that strong until I had Liam and Logan. NICU nurses are Heroes in my book. We love our Yakima Memorial Hospital NICU family!

  38. NICU mom, you summed it up perfectly! I don’t know how I would have survived the months that my twins were in the NICU if it wasn’t for the loving, caring, hardworking nurses. They loved on my babies as if they were their own and watched over them like a momma bear watches over her cubs. Thank you again NICU nurses for all that you do!!

  39. It is so nice to see we as NICU nurses are remembered long after our time in the preemie’s life, and the life of their parents. It seems normal for us to do and feel the way we do, and I don’t think any of us wear a uniform of SUPER NURSE under our scrubs, despite what parents think.
    Thank You all for appreciating what we do everyday.
    NICU TRAVEL NURSE from Florida

  40. Omg… This literally took my breath away and brought me back to those exact minutes, every experience mentioned I have seen. Everything the NICU nurses did to keep us at bay… Asking repetitive questions and getting upset. And the Brady’s….. Oh the Brady’s. not fun but the NICU nurses always knew what to do… Even what not to do ( at times not being able to hold or speak to your baby boy) allowing me to put my foot down when I so adamantly wanted to breast feed him and NOT nipple train him! Allowing me to succeed as a mommy, doing everything for our little people when you think your the only one that can care for them( cause he’s my baby) they know! They just always know… They surprised me at every turn. Boy did I have the most amazing primary nurse… Shelly:) it was like he got mad if she was off work… He would have episodes when she wasn’t there to coach him 🙂 it made me feel like I made the absolute best choice possible. I mean come on, when your new born 1 pound 5 ounce baby agrees that she’s awesome. You know you did:) and my goodness did we have an INCREDIBLE neonatologist! What a Wonder Woman 🙂 we had the very best team for my little mans care 🙂 so recap… My son was born 25 weeks at 1 pound 5 ounces…. And fought through everything!!! He is a fighter:) and got discharged after a 100 day stay at lovely Loma Linda Medical Center. And now !!!!! He’s 25 pounds 18 months old! In 18 month clothes 🙂 running!! Climbing!!! Talking!!! (Biting) lol with zero set backs! I owe it to my team! The NICU is not my favorite place in the world but it does have a soft spot because of all of you:):) thank you NICU nurses:) you change more lives then you’ll ever know.

  41. Thank you for your post it was such a similar story but 28weekers x2 …lots of tears, fears, questions and happiness knowing my babies were in good hands with their 2nd mommas . We don’t know what or where we would be with out them 🙂 This brought me to tears , completely right you never really know what the Nicu really is until your the one going threw those doors everyday until your babies come home.

  42. And, for a slightly different perspective- to the Russian NICU nurses and doctors who were the only human beings that touched my child for his first four months- thank you. We don’t know why his birth mother left him on the day that he was born 9 weeks early- but I suspect it was because she didn’t think he’d survive and she wasn’t sure she could handle it if she did. I don’t blame her- you all see some scary, sad things. But- the good news is that that crazy Russian baby that you all took care of for those precious four months before turning him over to the orphanage- he’s awesome. He’s 9, he’s smart, he’s funny and he’s all ours. Thank you.

  43. Absolutely Beautiful. And well deserved

  44. i must say this is the best tribute i have seen to these wonderful people. i also had a baby she was in neonatal for 4 weeks and all the wonderful staff put my mind at ease. my lil girl was only 3weeks early but due to unforseen complications she was born weighing just 3lb 2oz and i must say these wonderful nusrses took brilliant care of her and got her weight up and taught her to feed so quickly. i owe them so much. my daughter will be 2 next month and would have never made it rthis far without these wonderful people. bless u all

  45. So well written. I’m still crying. We think of our NICU nurses every day. My son was a 32-weeker who will be one in just 11 days. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this.

  46. Brittney Williams says:

    WOW!!! My eyes are flooded with tears….. You just explained my 5 month experience in Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My beautiful daughter Blayke Leigh was born at 24 weeks 1 day weighing in at 16oz and dropping to 14 oz. Words can not explain or repay the workers in the NICU! Our family would not be the same or fulfilled without them!!! Thank you for sharing your story!

  47. Susan Ferrell says:

    I have been a NICU nurse for the last 39 years of my life and this column pretty much sums it up to one degree or another. Very well put. I have personally been on both sides of the fence as a NICU nurse and a NICU mom and to the unfortunate point of losing that NICU child. I do consider my job more than just a job but a ministry and keep in touch with many of my babies long after they leave. One I revisited accidentlly when he himself was visiting a friends baby in our NICU. He was 18 yrs at the time and now is married. Wow how time flies. I plan to retire in 2 yrs and Lord willing will carry these memories with me for a long time.

  48. This brought back a lot of memories….I had a 34 weeker who spent 3 weeks in the NICU at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center. He had full blown hilar membrane disease and spent a couple of weeks on the ventilator and had bilateral chest tubes. He had the advantage of weighing in at 5 lbs. 8 oz. at birth. He just turned 32 this year. I can not remember any of the names of the nurses who took care of him, but I do know I am very grateful for all they did 24 hours a day 7 days a week for all the little ones in their care. My son and his wife had a NICU baby also (Lubbock, TX). He weighed in at about 8 lbs. and was full term but needed antibiotics thru an umbilical artery catheter. It sure brought back a lot of memories walking past all those little ones to reach our grandson’s side. He looked like a football linebacker compared to those little ones. He is 4 now and doing wonderful also. Thanks to all the NICU nurses everywhere for all you do!

  49. Lori Fernald says:


    I’ve read this letter, easily 8 times in the last 12 hours, and I’ve cried every time. Your words are so beautifully written and so true. I too am a NICU mom, of 29 week, twin boys, who are starting preschool on Monday. I am having such a hard time sending them “out into the world”, especially after starting their lives with a 3 month vigil, praying for them to just survive. Thanks to this amazing NICU nurse crew, they not only survive, but thrive! Thank you so much for putting these thoughts and words on “paper”so that I can send and share them with our amazing NICU team. This is a club that you would never, in your worst nightmare, think of, but thank God for them!!! I hope you and Tucker have a wonderful weekend!!

  50. As a Grandmother of a 2lb 4oz baby boy, I really appreciate all nurses that work in the NICU units. They are true angels and that little boy is a 14yrs old healthy 6′ young man. Thanks for your letter. All of it is truly how our family feels. May God bless all nurses and also your family!

  51. I love this letter it really does touch to what NICU parents deal with. I absolutely loved all of our NICU nurses! Mom of a 29 weeker!

  52. Heart NICU Momma says:

    This brought tears to my eyes and made me remember how much those doctors and nurses (best thing about that place) did for my daughter and my husband. My daughter was born with a CHD and was flown to a hospital 2 hours away from where I was to stay for a night. My husband drove there threw the night and when he got there the nurses had her stable and comfortable. Then they made him comfortable and answered all his questions. They were there for my family when I couldn’t be and I don’t know what I would have done without them. Thank you NICU and regular nurses for everything you do!!!!

  53. Thank you for such beautiful words! You literally made me cry!
    I love love love being a NICU nurse! And yes we are like our own little society in there! Thank you for taking the time to thank us! I am going to print it out and share it with my co-workers!

  54. victoria drapp says:

    That was amazing. My sweet little 25 weeker weighing in at a wopping 1lb 9oz is turning 4 this coming up febuary. When i read this it was like you wrote about my daughters nicu stay. As i was reading that i had flashbacks of our 6month nicu stay, from a nurse accepting my breast milk like it was normal to allowing me to snap a quick picture of my sweet baby witb
    my phone before covering her isolette with a blanket so the light wouldnt over stimulate her. There are no words to describe what the nurses, doctors, rt’s, feeding specialist etc do for our little miracles. Its not possibe to think of her scarey delivery without thinking of every single person who with the help of god getting our babies and us ready for the most scarey but longed for date to walk through those secured doors holding so very carefully our little miracles who fought harder than anyone to get to this moment. I have only good things to say about the mercy nicu team. They go out of there ways to make sure not only are our babies taken care of but so are us parents. For example judy perry an amzing nurse took our clothes to her home and washed them for us because we were living in an rv with no transpertation to get to a laundry mat and our home was an hour and a half away from the hospital. Needless to say to be apart of the nicu team your heart and your desire to do what you do is why your there its not just for the paycheck because there is no amount of money to pay you for what you do for the parents and families of our precious premies and for doing everything you can possibley do to nurse these tiny bundles of joy to health. Even tho i was jeleaous of all you amazing people because of wanting to be the one to get my baby to where she needed to it took less than a couple days to realize theres no way possible that my little girl would be doing as well as she is today without you, god guiding you with your knowledge and experiance to take care of her correctly. Thank you. One last thing, after waiting exactly 1 month to hold my daughter the feeling of having her fragile body placed on your bare chest(kangaroo care) is the only feeling i have no words to describe. The excitement of knowing you will get to cuddle your baby for a couple hours due to the fact of getting them out snd situated and thn just a few minutes later putting them in there bed would be to much for them to handle. The only way i got to hold and was able to continue to hold my baby was if her temretature was good and if her heart rate and oxygen sats were good. I could go on and on so i better say thank you once again to everyone in the mercy nicu team and good luck to all families entering the emotion filled roller coaster ride of being a proud nicu parent

  55. Working in a labor and delivery unit that rarely saw preemies or distressed babies, we still had a ‘baby nurse’ from Childrens Hospital in every delivery. If babies conspired to make simultaneous entrances into this world, our ‘baby nurses’ had almost perfected the practice of being in two places at one time. As support staff, I took incredible comfort in just seeing her walk into the room as each sweet little soul was about to join us. I can only imagine what it must feel like to be a parent who is clinging to every hope for her child. NICU nurses probably have wings stashed somewhere.

  56. Heather , Thanks so much for a beautifully written letter, I’ve been clocking in at the NICU for 19 years now and sometimes you lose site of, not why you started working NICU but why you “stayed”, now I teach new nurses to do the job and I’m going to print and make them read your letter to better stress two things I always tell young nurses, if that screeming little booger don’t scare the crap out of you, you shouldn’t be here, your fear makes you vigilant, and you need to remember that no matter how tired you are or what else is going on at the moment in the world that scary little person is THE most important thing in the world to a few people, one of which needs to be you. Thank you Heather

  57. This is beautiful and perfect. It brought me right back to the days when my 32 weeker was in the NICU. All of the NICU nurses were critical to saving his life (and mine in some less-literal ways). My son was born the day before mother’s day and one NICU nurse stayed after her shift to make a hand-made mother’s day cards for me and delivered it to my room in the middle of the night so it would be there when I woke. Another watched from a different NICU pod as I tried to bottle feed him for the first time, and saw it fail. Then tried again throughout the night because she had the same faith in him that I did and used some special NICU Nurse tricks to help him succeed – then called me to come in as soon as I could so she could teach me too. And another called me daily for our first week home just to check in. None of them have to do any of this. But they do it because they are some of the most amazing people on this earth. Thanks for writing this!

  58. This brought me to tears, Heather. Thank you. I’m a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner for almost 20 years now and these moments are so special. It’s clear we do what we do because we love our job and are committed to giving families the life that has been put in jeopardy for many reasons. I have held babies as they took their first breath and their last and to be able to be in that position is the greatest gift. I had a surgeon friend once tell me “you’re keeping things alive that shouldn’t be kept alive.” I asked him, “who are you to decide? I’m giving them their one and only shot at a life you are privileged to have.” I appreciate your letter so much. Hugs to you & your wonderful family!

  59. I also has a preemie 26 weeks now 1 1/2 and perfectly fine. Yay!! This touched me in so many ways. I couldn’t even read a paragraph to my husband without crying! Thanks for saying what I’ve said all along! They are for sure some amazing people! Great story!!!

    • Heather HucksHeather Hucks says:

      Congrats on your miracle! Thank you for reading. You understand!

      • Dear Heather,
        Your letter to the NICU nurse is amazing. I cried during the entire letter. I am a mother of a preemie baby girl. Born at 28 weeks, 2 pounds, she is now a thriving, beautiful, vibrant, athletic and amazing human being. 15 years old! I brag soooo much about her NICU nurses when I talk about my daughters birth and hospital stay. And everything you wrote about rang true for myself as well. NICU nurses are simply the most amazing human beings to me. For me there was nothing more exciting than being a new mother. Then being faced with my baby having to stay in the NICU was sooooooo freightning. My baby girl was beyond my touch. My angels, Beverly, Lisa and Ann, were more than I could have ever prayed for. Just as you mentioned, they not only nutured my baby, they were all just as caring towards me and my husband. I will never, ever forget the amazing battle these angels fought for my little girl. She is my only child. And she is most certainly more than I could have dreamed of having. And I know will all my being, that without the knowledge, skill, care and LOVE that her nurses and doctors from the NICU gave her, she would not be with me today. We kept in touch with her nurses for years. And we still see one (the other two have retired) of them from time to time and it’s always a rush of emotion for me when I see her. I wish there was some way I could repay all of them for the gratitude that I have for them. But there just isn’t a measure for how much I thank them. And I honestly don’t think they could ever be monetarily compensated for what they do at work day in and day out. Simply, remarkable!! To NICU’s all around this world, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! You are heaven sent.

      • Dear Heather

        It Is so good to see your preciuos Baby is doing well being the father of two 29 week old twin boys i can feel your pain. My ex wife and i were amazed at the job the nicu nurses did with our boys. One of the boys weighed two pounds and the other weighed two pounds 8 oz. They are Doing great but with a few delays developmentally but adjusting well to seventh grade. check us out on facebook Under Luis Andrew Pierce. Good luck and god bless you and your Family.

  60. As a two time NICU mom (my son was born at 35 weeks with multiple birth defects and was in the NICU until his death at 10 months and my daughter was born at 35 weeks, healthy, but small, at 3 lbs 5 oz. She only had to stay a month and she is now an energetic almost 19 month old.), I absolutely can not say how much this touched me. I teared up when I read it because it is everything I wish I could have said to both my son’s NICU nurses and my daughter’s. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Heather HucksHeather Hucks says:

      Jill, you know better than anyone how special these nurses are. Thank you for reading.

      • I read your story. Yes those NICU nurses are amazing. My grandson was born six weeks early and Drs. said he wouldnt make it, because he had fluid on his brain, buit hes 2 and doing well. He had to have heart surgery when he was a month old. He spent 4 weeks in the Nicu unit. I was really greatful for those nurses in this unit. Most of all i thank GOD for my miracle grandson. GOD BLESS you and family.

  61. Thank you for writing this. There are angels in the NICU who will always hold a special place in my heart.

    Another NICU mom 🙂

  62. Heather Calderone says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. It’s ironic to me that I’m reading this 2 weeks shy of my NICU baby girl turning 13. She spent the first two weeks of her life in the NICU because of a bilateral pneumothorax. It’s unbelievable the bond you develop in such a short period of time. Not a birthday goes by that I don’t remember the first scary days of her life and the guardian angel that took care of her. Our daughter is a dancer and every time she performs I get a little teary-eyed thinking of her start in life and where she is now. Our story didn’t end when we left the hospital with our NICU nurse….we asked her to be our daughter’s Godmother and she was also present in the delivery room for our next child.

  63. I have been an NICU nurse for over 20 years. I wouldn’t dream of doing anything else. Your letter is beautiful and oh so very true. Your baby, while in the NICU, is our baby. We take care of him/her as if he/she were our own. Many times, especially the ones who stay with us for months, we grow to truly love. And that includes the mom and dad. Thank you for sharing your story. So many times nurses never really know how we have touch someone’s life.

  64. such wonderful and true insight. i love that you wrote this. i feel the same!- mom of a 27 weeker

  65. Thank you for this post! It took me back 21 years ago where my beautiful daughter was born at 29 wks. weighing only 2lb 4oz. I never thought I’d take her home, when I first saw her. But I loved her so much. I could never thank the NICU nurses at Cleveland Metro Hospital (Cleveland Ohio) for all their loving care for my Tera. She had some touch and go moments that without them I swear I would have crumbled. I was at my daughters beside every day from 6pm to 6am, they were there 24-7!! They answered all my tireless questions with such respect for me, who knew nothing. I came to love those nurses with all my heart and would sit by my premies cubicle praying for them and their families. They are a wonderful, dedicated, amazing group of nurses, doctors, and all NICU staff. You spoke for so many parents when you wrote this. My daughter is a healthy, happy 21yr old with her own 14 mo. Thank you God and NICU ward of Cleveand Metro!!!

  66. One more reason why I love my bride! Not only does she wear this hat, but she also has worn the long term pediatric ICU momma hat too!

  67. Thank you for this 🙂
    Downers Grove, IL

  68. I wish every dedicated NICU nurse could see this; Christi, I’m just sayin’… What a difference you make in SO MANY lives… One by one. And there are never enough thank-yous, for the ones you hold and must gently Kiss good-bye as they find their on way back to Heaven, thank you for providing comfort and hospice to their pain-full LITTLE life here in competent, dedicated,
    ministry. THANK YOU for your servant’s heart!

  69. What an absolutely beautiful tribute to these precious men and women who tirelessly care for these precious and fragile lives. Thank you for taking the time to write this and share it with your readers.

  70. Eight years later and your post brings back the still vivid memories of the 7 months my wife and I spent in the NICU with our son. Module 5 at Riley Children’s Hospital was our son’s first home and his NICU nurses were the first to touch him, feed him, cuddle him, bathe him, etc.

    NICU Dad

  71. What a beautiful letter…your words resonate for me as the Grandmother of a 28 week preemie who also spent many months in the NICU….we are now blessed with a beautiful 14 month old, firecracker of a boy.. those nurses are gifts from above to watch over little ones who just couldn’t wait to come out and join this great big world.
    They are the angels that protect them when their Moms can’t…
    Thank you for this beautiful and true letter and thank you to all those who work in the NICU…you are more than appreciated…you to are a gift from above.

  72. Carole Moeller says:

    Thank you for the loving care and educational support you gave to my grandchildren. Our oldest is now in college and another one is turning 11. All very healthy. Thank you

  73. My daughter was born at 25.5 weeks and weighed 1 lb., 12 oz.; she was in NICU for nearly 3 months. I believe that her primary care nurse, Paula Jackson, LOVED my baby to good health—she sang gospel hymns to her, rocked her, and was there for her when I had to be home with my 4-year-old son. I don’t know where she is now—I heard she left the hospital where my Laura was born—but I will never, ever forget what she did for my precious daughter, nor can I ever repay her. Laura turned 30 last April and you’d never know she had such a shaky start in life. I give thanks for her every day. Thank YOU, Heather, for a sweet reminder of what Paula did for my daughter—saying a prayer for her and all NICU nurses right now!

  74. As a mom of a newly graduated NICU nurse I was touched to read this. It helps me to understand what she goes through in her 12 hour shifts. It takes a very special person to do what they do. Thanks for sharing.

  75. Orlando Avila says:

    You all will never know the positive impact you have made to the life our little guy. Your care and attention has allowed him to grow big and strong. Lil Sebastian says hello.

  76. Heather:
    Thank you for appreciating NICU nurses. I have been an NICU nurse for 40 years. I worked in a level 11 in Canada and then travelled to the U.S. for 20 years with my husband working in level 111’s. I never loved my work more when I worked in the level 111 with little peanuts. It was a team effort, my parents, my baby (and yes I called them my baby too) and myself. I have laughed and cried and appreciated the nurses that I worked with that helped me get “my baby” through another night. When I returned to Canada, the nurses in the level 11 (where I use to work) are awesome, and many times it is their knowledge that makes the difference in a split second. We all care for the little “peanuts” in our life whether they are in a level 1, 11, or 111 and we all make a difference in their life. We all miss breaks, lunches, family birthdays, Christmas etc. but at the end of a busy shift, the feeling of what you have accomplished during your shift, is worth more than gold. Thank you for appreciating our work.

  77. Jeannie Bledsoe Young says:

    Thank you! Someone really does know us in NICU! We wouldn’t be there if we didn’t love what we do and our co-workers!

  78. This is a beautiful letter. Our preemie who was born 2 months early is now 19 and spent 2 weeks in the NICU. The nurses there were amazing. When we would get alarmed about things, they would always be calm. They answered any questions we had and nothing was ever a bother. Our daughter had an amazing start in her first two weeks, with all the love and attention she was shown by so many. She is a beautiful healthy 19 year old college sophomore. We are still thankful for all the nurses in the NICU who do what they do. God bless them all!

  79. Thank you for your kind words and insight into the world of the NICU. I have been a Respiratory Therapist in the NICU since 1987. This patient population is and always will be my favorite. The team work involved in these tiny babies in incomprehensible. The dedication of the nurses and support they give to their parents and babies day in and day out, is outstanding. The love the NICU team shares is deep and wide. The caring team approach to each baby is especially designed for your child’s personal needs. The nurses are like mother bears; if any other staff come near “their” /(your) baby they better have a good reason for it.
    The greatest joy I have had as a therapist is: assisting the nurse with your preemie and adjusting all that tubing and supportive equipment, to allow you to finally hold your baby for the first time. The look on a your face is priceless, and to finally be able to hold that wee one, in spite of the ventilator and I.V.’s is the most precious thing to me. Knowing I have had just one part of helping you bond and get closer to your baby, still melts me after all these years.
    We all have our hand in supporting, nurturing, and monitoring your baby until that day arrives when you all go home. The NICU team is a well knit group of dedicated and specialized individuals that come together to make sure your premature babies transition into the world is successful.

  80. NICU_Secretary says:

    This was an amazing letter. I was a NICU, Unit Secretary for 6 years. Although I didnt get to do hands on care for the babies, the parents and families KNEW I was a presence in their journey. I knew the 1st and last name of almost every (60+) baby in our unit, and chances are, I knew mom and dads name as well. I would be arranging your visit with your baby, when I saw you STEP off of the elevator. I asked you at least 2 times a day how your baby was, and I genuinely cared, and I listened to every word. I was happy for you, mom and dad, when you were happy, and I cried when you were hurting. I hugged you, held your hand, and even prayed with you. I advocated for you if I thought I could make things go smoother for you, I made name pictures for your babys room, I found a way to get you extra food if you were starving. I even gave you money of my own, because you couldnt afford to get to the hospital, or eat, or because your toddlers meals werent covered by breastfeeding moms benefits. I went so far as babysitting your kids for short periods of time, so you could use the restroom in peace, or go give you baby a kiss goodbye. I did all of this and sooo much more. (Composing poems just for your baby, if your angel didnt make it, gave you a ride home, held your baby at your request, brought gifts for your baby, attending your angels funeral and speaking at it, saying a babies last prayer before passing, bringing you food from my home, staying late after work just so you can cry it out on my shoulder, loving you all as if you were MY family and so on..) But why was I so invested? Because years and years prior to working in this NICU 2 of my daughters were preemies, and one was even in the very NICU I worked in. I understood, I felt what you felt. I knew what you were experiencing. I had a unyielding need to make everyone there feel welcomed and comfortable as possible in their new “home away from home”. I was and still am invested in you and your child or children. I look and marvel at your babys pictures and progress, even 8 years later. I care about you and your family. No, I wasnt a nurse, I got a better deal, I was a NICU secretary. I knew and helped everyone, not just one, or two families. But all of them. At a reunion I was fortunate to have attended, I was the only one who walked into the room and knew 90% of the people. I had people rushing up to me, babies in tow, passing them into my arms and I finally got my chamce to love on your beautiful perfect baby. Thats what it was all about. That made it all worth while. Thank you NICU families, for making me a part of YOUR journey, a part of your family and best yet, a lifelong friend. (Oh, by the way, I may be unique, as I dont know if all secretaries would do or care like I did. This is just my story and my passion. I cherish those days, and forever will remember every family that I worked with. I loved you all.)

  81. This was absolutely beautiful! It brought tears to my eyes. As a NICU mom as well, I know what it is like to go through this journey and not knowing what to expect. The doctors and nurses in the NICU in London Ontario were there for me and my miracle baby, Zakarie. He was born at 27.2 weeks and only 2lbs 4oz at birth. It was the most horrific experience I have ever had to go through, but I didn’t go through it alone, that’s for sure! Thank you so much for sharing this with the world because I know that every NICU deserves to hear words that comes from the heart from people like us!
    Take care!!

  82. This letter really hit home for me and allowed me to let out a much needed cry. I am a Labor and Delivery nurse so when I became pregnant I understood that there could be complications but I fully expected a full term, happy, healthy baby. What I got instead was a transfer from my small town hospital to a larger hospital and an emergency cesarean at 34 weeks. I didn’t even see him before he was rushed to the NICU to be resuscitated and wasn’t allowed to see him for 4 long hours after he was born. He was in supra-ventricular tachycardia and had a condition called hydrops fetalis and nearly didn’t make it. We spent 12 loooong days in the NICU, including a transfer to an even larger hospital’s NICU in the middle of the night. I have tried to express my gratitude through letters I’ve written to the hospitals but this letter hit it on the head… NICU nurses truly are gifts from God.

  83. May God bless your little Tucker with the best health and happiness all his life. Thank you for showing us NICU nurses appreciation.

  84. Stevi Padilla says:

    Thank you for writing this… coming from a mom with triplets in the NICU. And which I lost 2 of my 3. This is everything i have ever felt or wanted to say. Thank You!

  85. My once 22 weeker is now a 14 year old mess of a teenager boy 🙂 He has cerebral palsy and has his hard moments but I am forever grateful to those NICU nurses for their love and care of my boy. And you are soooo right, still, 14 years later, hardly a day goes by that I don’t think of his nurses, Della and Lisa among many, many others. God blesses them with amazing strength and compassion. Wonderful post, thank you so much!

  86. Wow, I had tears in my eyes, goose bumps all over and a lump in my throat while reading this. Ours wasn’t a preemie but 37+1 weeks all the same… Pre-eclampsia and hellp syndrome meant a week’s stay on the mat unit. A week is nothing in comparison, I know. I felt very close to the amazingly fantastic, committed staff during our stay. Our little girl is nearly 4 and we’re still so very grateful…. 🙂 oh and I still balk at the sound of a bp machine Velcro ripping… Thanks so much for sharing.

  87. I loved your letter! I am a NICU mom and hope to someday be a NICU nurse so I can see this from both sides of the coin. It was because of the 8 months we spent in the NICU with one of my twins that inspired me to become a nurse. No one really knows what it is like unless you have been there.

    I am now a medical/surgical/oncology nurse but hope to get into a residency in the NICU where my twins were born in the coming Spring. My experience would come full circle then and I would be doing what I truelly believe God wants me to do.

  88. I had a baby at 29 weeks this story brings back memories from just yesterday it seems and my son will be two in two weeks.

  89. From one NICU mommy to another,
    Thank you for this amazing letter. My little boy started Kindergarten this week. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of his first days and the most amazing nurse he had at University of Michigan who held my hand thru the darkest hours of my life. I always like to tell her that she is just as much her baby as he is mine.

  90. NICU nurses are true angels living on earth. They are by far the most talented of all the nurses. I will forever be in awe of their talent and compassion.

    ~Mom to a 27 weeker, 90 days in the NICU

  91. My little 36 weeker was in the ICN (level 2 NICU) for 5 days. He was healthy but small 4lb 12oz and passed his car seat test at 12 hours old. He stayed due to jaundice. As he was in an area of “healthier” babies I did not see the heartache that some of the other parents went through with their babies. We had no ups and downs to scare us, my health was bad and so I could not spend as much time in the nursery as I wanted but I knew his nurses were there loving him. They made him a special name card for his incubator and did not mind my phone calls at all hours of the day and night. The nurses who look after these precious little ones are truly angels. My son is now 8 years old, still on the skinny side but other then a few gross and fine motor delays he is a typical little boy.

  92. I absolutely love this post. I also have a 24 weeker who spent 93 days in the NICU. People often think of the NICU as a happy place where babies are rocked and fed until they’re big enough to go home… but when you have a micropreemie, you realize the NICU can be a very scary place as you watch your 1 pounder being intubated or bagged. Our NICU nurses were AMAZING, and they saved my daughter’s life more times than I’d like to count. My daughter is now a happy, healthy 2 year old, and I still think about our NICU “angels” each and everyday!

  93. Cindy Herlihy says:

    My nicu. baby turned 21 this past January. Born at 28.5 weeks 1lb. 7 1/2 ounces!!! I was told he was the smallest of small!!! He is still small in stature but so very large in personality!!! He was born January 9th and came home may 5th!!! He defied all odds and the only residual effect was school was not always easy. Spent all of his schooling in special Ed classes but graduated with a high school diploma. Tried college not a good fit so…. Completed CNA course and is now working at a nursing home. He had been told many times by staff members that if they ever find themselves in a nursing home they hope someone like him takes care of them. I think his COMPASSION and GENTLE NATURE and KINDNESS comes from his start in life!!! He was nursed back to health by KIND,GENTLE,COMPASSIONATE NICU NURSES!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

  94. I thank God everyday for the wonderful nurses and staff at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, MO. They took care of my grandson for the first three and half months of his life. They also took care of his parents, explaining and talking to them every step of the way. As they were 20 and 22 first time parents, 3 1/2 hours away from home. The Nurses were made to do what they do. I believe that God gave them the grace and compassion to love and nurture these children, no matter how much family they have. The world needs more people like them!

  95. Thank you for a touching & heartfelt letter. I thank ALL NICU NURSES for all you do. My beautiful cousin Patricia W. is a NICU nurse & has loved doing her job for over 25 years. My beautiful & smart niece Ciera was a premie & is now a wonderful adult!

  96. This is one NICU mom that thinks exactly as you. I didn’t know what a NICU was let alone a NICU Nurse until I had my 4th daughter.. and you are right.. I cry as I read this because it makes me think of the time I was in the NICU with my baby.. and it brought back all those memories and long sits with my baby and the NICU Nurse answering all of my questions over and over again

  97. Thank you! I’m a dad of a 23 week preemie who is the love of my life. Thank you NICU angels for looking after my angel Emma. I will never forget your love and will in helping Emma out.

  98. It was my favorite job in the whole world, along with the emergency room. I felt I was helping, saving, not just a precious baby but a helping a family deal and learn a whole different life than what they expected the best part is that they all adapted well. The NICU experience is a process not just a hospital stay.

  99. This make me cry. I’m a NICU nurse and I was one that before became a NICU RN didn’t even know about it. But thank you, thank you for trust in us, when we say we care , we truly do, but see them going home is a big satisfaction.

  100. I knew my sister had an important job in the NICU, but never realized how much I would be in awe of her until my son was transferred there. The delivery nurses thought they heard a heart murmur and off he was rushed to the NICU. Here was my son, only have been born hours earlier, with tubes and lines coming from (it seemed) everywhere on his body. What an incredibly scary time. The nurses in the NICU were so patient and kind, explaining the different lines and monitors he was on. I will never forget our experience there and am incredibly thankful for the people in the NICU for what they do everyday. I look at my son everyday and am so very thankful.

  101. LOVE!!! I am a nicu nurse myself thank you so much for posting and sharing.

  102. Dear Heather,
    You brought tears to my eyes while sitting here @ the library browsing the internet.
    I have been lucky enough to not have a preemie, but to have a first daughter who grew up to be a NICU nurse. I have never been more proud of her than I am right now. Thank you for posting this.
    A Mom of 3 girls

  103. My daughter is a NICU nurse and I occasionally hear these stories after that fact and not in great detail. She honors her HIPA restrictions. But I know her heart, so I know what she gives to the career she has dedicated herself to. God bless her and her co-workers – they truly are guardian angels!!!

  104. wyatt thompson says:

    Thanks to the folks in the NICU I have been able to call my GMAN “Stinkpot” and he has in turn called me PAPA. That is the greatest gift ever. Thanks You PAPA

  105. Thanks for sharing this letter.
    I’m a neonatologist and a daily witness of what you have described so well… NICU nurses are just amazing and supernatural human beings!

  106. Linda Hamlet says:

    Heather, Your letter beautifully expresses the sentiments of anyone who has experienced the NICU. I have been both a mom and a grandmother of a NICU baby. It is difficult to explain the plethora of emotions that wash over you when you have a critically ill newborn. I, too, am ever grateful for the NICU team who cared for my preemie when I was in ICU myself, both struggling for our lives. Thankfully, 10 days after Benjamin’s birth we were reunited and he went home 90 days after that. He is now a handsome young man. Never does a birthday go by that I don’t think of those first precarious hours and days and the many NICU staff that kept watch over him as if he was their own. Thanks to all who do their jobs so very well and with such compassion.
    ….by the way, is there a story behind the beads that are draped around the NICU nurses in the photograph?

  107. Thank you so much for your beautiful letter. My miracle is a 27 weeker and she was born weighing 1 lb 10 oz. She turned 7 in June and she is my heart and soul. She spent two and a half months at Magee Womens hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. and then was transfered to a transitional infant care hospital for another month To see her now you would never know that her skin was basically see through and the days and nights of not knowing if she would make it. Each and every person- from the front desk to the nurses never once hesitated to answer questions-
    repeatedly! The NICU nurses are angels and have been blessed with a true calling. My family will NEVER forget their patience and kindness.

  108. You put my thoughts into words. I too have a 24 weeker who is now 6. Like yours, no major issues and I know how lucky we are. My nurses were amazing and we are still in contact. You form a bond with people that you see every day, whose hands you are entrusting a precious life. Thank you for saying this from all preemie moms out here!

  109. The mom of a NICU nurse says:

    My daughter Julie is a NICU nurse and thru a post on her FB page I was drawn to this beautiful writing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts for all to read. It’s often difficult to share personal stories such as this one but you have done so in such a beautiful and meaningful way. it takes a very special person to chose this type of profession and I am blessed and proud to say my daughter is a NICU nurse. We are so proud of all that she and her coworkers do. God bless you and your family with health wealth and happiness.

  110. Liberty M. Abelido says:

    Happy Neonatal Nurses Day to all NICU Nurses who made a big difference to the lives of the parents and babies in the NICU!

  111. Its been a year and nine months since I learned just what my sister did as a NICU nurse. How much of a pain they have to be when all we want to do is hold our kid. How they bend (but never to the breaking point) both the rules and their own inner strengths with each moment that passes inside of those door.
    How we learn what (who) is really important.
    It’s amazing how much comes rushing back hearing another parent talk about what it was like.
    Thank you for that. 🙂

  112. I’m the mom of 2 NICU kids who are 9 and 10 years old now. I cried when I read this letter, because I have said these very same things! Our daughter spent 3 1/2 months in the NICU – she was born at 26 weeks; our son spent a month – he was born at 30 weeks. The nurses who took care of our daughter stayed past their shifts when our son was born so they would be there to check him in. NICU nurses are the most selfless healthcare providers – they take care of our babies who are too sick to be cared for by anyone else and treat them as if they were their own. We still keep in touch with the NICU unit and consider them extended family, for without them, we wouldn’t have our children. ‘Thank you’ will never be enough!

  113. This post is amazing and so profoundly true! Any NICU mom can relate to this post as there were so many moments while reading when I got goosebumps when something resonated with me. Not only would our precious son not have made it in his first months of life without his NICU nurse, but my husband and I would not have made it without her. Her warmth, compassion and understanding were always comforting; her professionalism and innate knowledge always constant. Although it will never be enough – thank you NICU nurses for all you do. You are gifted nurses, teachers and nurturers!

  114. Thank you! Much appreciated! This was better than any raise my boss has given me!

  115. Wow. That is beautifully written. As a 19 yr veteran of the NICU I appreciate the families that take the time to say thank you. We all know not every situation and not every nurse is the same, but there are so many nurses out there fighting hard for all “our” NICU babies! We advocate, we push, we trial, we trial again, we trust our gut and we burst with joy when that baby that “won’t make it” does. I have been asked a hundred million times “how can you do that job?” And this is why. Because I can touch the lives of moms and dads out there who have found themselves in their darkest moments. I can make a difference. There are not many accolades in this job, but that doesn’t deter most of us. We just look to our NICU coworkers for internal support and we push forward again. And again. No matter how many admissions or how many emergencies. We push. Thank you for sharing your words. You touched many more than you know.

  116. Wow! Thank YOU for this post. You are so strong. Back in 1976, I was a 26 weeker, was told by the doctors that I won’t live past 24hrs, was baptized straight away. I weighed 1 pound 12 ounces. I was born Oct 6, and I believe didn’t get to go home till the middle of Dec.

    I now speak on many topics one of them about having being being a preemie, and choosing to live even as a preemie way back then, and letting others help me (in that case the doctors and nurses). Wonder if there are places that I could speak, to inspire, give hope to families going through the same situation. Thank YOU.

  117. Maine NICU Nurse says:

    Thank you very much for writing such a beautiful and accurate letter of thanks! Every day when I go to work my hope is that I touch one family in the way you have described. There isn’t a day I go to work that I don’t look forward to taking care of those tiny miracles. Thank you again for what you wrote!


  118. Was just thinking it was ironic that I read this while having a baby in the NICU, we are quickly approaching being here for a month, and this momma is very thankful for all the NICU nurses. Being a nurse myself, I watch these nurses and wonder how they do it everyday… takes a very special person to be a nurse let alone a NICU nurse.

  119. Beautifully written letter which, I am sure, speaks for a lot of Mom’s. My first preemie is now 6’2″ tall and the Daddy of his own little man! The NICU nurses took such good care of him that he was the first baby in the history of that very historical hospital to ever leave it under 5 lbs. We brought him home in perfect health at 4 lb, 12 oz! My second preemie had a few more complications, but due to her excellent care has also gone on to become a happy, healthy, six foot, 21 year old beauty! Thank you NICU nurses everywhere!

  120. Lisa Phillips says:

    I to am a NICU mom. My beautiful daughter was born 17 years ago, at 25 weeks, weighing 1 lb 11oz. I know how you feel. I spent many days and many nights in that rocking chair just watching her sleep. When her alarms were going off, it was usually A’s & B’s and I would just touch her and the alarm would go off and everything would be back to “normal”. NICU nurses are one of a kind. They are angels from heaven put on this earth to take care of our tiny babies. Thank you is never enough for what they have given me. My daughter is a healthy, stubborn senior this year with a 3,7 GPA. She is going to college and high school at the same time. If not for them and their love for her I don’t think she would be here today.

  121. From one NICU mom to another, thank you! My now 5 month old, 34 week preemie, was lucky to spend only 15 days in the NICU. However, those 15 days would have felt like an eternity had it not been for the remarkable care we received from the amazing NICU nurses! No matter what the circumstances, the NICU is a very unique and at times frightening place, but I will forever be grateful for our experience and all that we have learned from it.

  122. This is a beautiful, As the mom of a preemie who just celebrated her sweet 16, you are so right the nurses in the NICU are the most loving, caring, wonderful people I have ever had the honor of befriending. After a very long two months in the NICU we were able to take our miracle home. They are part of your family forever after 16 years have past they never forget and they love your child like she/he were their own. They are there to answer your question no matter what time of the day or night it is. They are there to hold you when you just feel like you can’t breathe anymore. From the bottom of my heart thank you to all of the men and women of the NICU you are truly the BEST OF THE BEST. God Bless you always.

  123. Mary V Forlano says:

    What a beautiful story and thank you for sharing it. I am in awe of the NICU nurses, and how wonderful they are. Reading this brought tears to my eyes and an immediate prayer of thanksgiving, as I was blessed with two healthy babies who have grown into healthy adults. I also have been blessed with two healthy grandchildren and I thank God everyday for them. You truly are the angels that walk amongst us. God Bless You.

  124. Dear NICU Mom
    Thank You for your wonderful letter. It’s nice being known and appreciated some times it s great hearing those words as our job is hard, difficult, fun, gratifying and sad. .. Thanks for your kind letter. ….NICU Nurse

  125. This is just beautiful! Five months is a LONG time to have a baby in the NICU! I’m so glad that Tucker did well!

    I had a NICU baby, too. We were in Germany at the time. I had no idea I was going to have a baby to adopt until he was three days old and the social worker called and asked if we wanted to adopt him. There had been another family planning to adopt him. But, things didn’t go as planned.

    Following a very difficult delivery, he didn’t breath. The doctor handed him over to a med-tech and asked him to “bag” him to get him to breath. Soon, they said that he was in cardiac arrest and CPR was performed. The pediatrician on call didn’t get there for 30 minutes. When he did, he found that they had misdiagnosed the problem. He was not in cardiac arrest. He had bilateral pneumothoraces. The tech had squeezed the bag too hard and popped both lungs. He was rushed to the NICU at Landstuhl Army Medical Center.

    The head nurse there later told me that she didn’t think he would live through that first night. The next two days, there were additional concerns. But, by the end of the first week, he was improving nicely and they thought he would survive. However, no one could say what permanent damage may have been done by the lack of oxygen during his first half hour. The family that was going to adopt him backed out.

    Because of the laws there, I was not permitted to be with my son in the NICU, unless a social worker from our county was willing to make the 90 minute drive with me. Because of that, I only saw him twice while he was there, for an hour each time. I was very concerned about that, because I knew how important nurturing is for babies and that the lack of it could cause permanent problems even for a baby who was born healthy. The day I first saw him, I knew that I didn’t need to worry. I could see that the nurses had showered attention on him since he first got there. They were all happy to meet me and had some kind of story to tell me about him. They had taken a stack of polaroid pictures of him, and even had a nickname for him-Butch! At 8lbs 6oz, he looked like a giant, compared to most of their patients!

    He came home, at 15 days old, and he did very well, from the start! I took him back to Landstuhl every month or so, for developmental testing, due to the high risk that his brain had been permanently damaged. He never tested below average on anything, and was above average on most things. I always stopped by the NICU to visit the nurses and tell them about how well he had done on whatever tests he’d just had, and they were always thrilled to see him!

    The last time I was there before we came back to the states, we were talking to the perinatologist, when a mother, who looked quite shaken, walked by. He caught her attention pointed out my son and said, “Her baby was just as sick as yours is, when he was here.” I hoped that seeing my smiling, babbling, precious ball of energy gave her some comfort and that her baby did as well!

    Although the adoption was originally a close one, the laws there gave me something that I didn’t get with my first two children, and that was the name of his birth mother. She was very young when he was born, and really didn’t have a choice but to give him up. We were told that she didn’t want to maintain any contact, but I had a strong feeling, from the very beginning, that I needed to find her one day. I found her, 19 years later. We have all become family, since then. I got the link to your article from Facebook and she is the one who posted it. She has a special interest in it, because she is a NICU nurse, herself! So, a future NICU nurse gave birth to my (our) son, and some great NICU nurses helped him survive and gave him the love and affection he needed when neither of his mothers could be there. He is now grown, with a beautiful little family of his own!

  126. As a 30+ year PICU nurse I appreciate your letter because 2 of my 3 children spent time in the NICU where I worked. My now 22 year old son was born at 35 weeks after I bled with a placenta previa almost costing both of us our lives. He spent 2 weeks in NICU and many years dealing with reflux and asthma issues. But today he is a healthy young man due to graduate from college magna cum laude even though I have spent much of the past 22 years worrying about what happened that scary night back in 1991. He was also able to participate in 3 sports in high school. I thank God for the wonderful care he and I received that night and the days and years following that gave him his life and a very normal childhood. I also believe my NICU experiences made me a better Pediatric nurse.

  127. This article was amazing. I read this to my mom who, 26 years ago, was a NICU mom. These words hold true. My mom will never forget the amazing nurses who helped her hold this together, when her baby girl (me) only had a 10% chance of survival. She remembers the comforting words when I was rushed to surgery, the kind soothing words when she felt that things weren’t going in my favor. She remembers how wonderful and helpful they were to my big sister who, at the age of 4, couldn’t understand why I had to stay. They would sit and colour with her as she drew pictures for all the babies who were in the unit with me. .( To this day my sister remembers that specific memory with clarity, as if it happen yesterday) She remembers the cheers of glee when a tube was removed, and when I “graduated” to a regular bed. She will never forget the smiling faces when after 5 long months, they were able to take me home. These nurses helped my family in ways that only a few people would understand. They are truly the guardian angels we needed to help us pull through.

  128. My eyes filled with tears as I read this and reflected on my 24 weeker who is now 6 years old and just started kindergarten. Just like you…I gave birth to a 1 lb 7oz baby…I remember giving the bags of milk like yesterday and just how “normal” life became in the middle of the chaos…that was just how days went. Thank God for the NICU nurses who kept cool in the chaos…fought tooth and nail for each baby…celebrated all of the NICU milestones (each ounce gained, getting rid of temp probes, wearing clothes, getting rid of feeding tubes, taking a bottle, coming off of the cpap, moving out of the incubator, passing the car seat test, going Home)…each and every milestone…NICU nurses are truly special and thank you for writing this blog!! May God bless you and your son.

  129. Lovely. My 24w5d twin girls will be 4 years old in two months and the NICU is a distant memory but your post resonated with me deeply. Your words reminded me of the nurses that cared for my girls and saved their lives on a daily basis, who loved and held them when we could not and who did so with a deep passion for their work. We are still close with one of our primary care nurses, I saw this because she posted this on her wall and my girls still know that letter “T is for Tina”. It was the longest 5 months of my life but without those nurses there may never have even been those 5 months. Thank you to them and to you for writing this post.

  130. I was a NICU mom 23 yrs ago and have since gone on to become a NICU nurse. Thank you for your lovely letter. I have written one to my daughter’s nurses to thank them for inspiring me to carry on their legacy. I cannot thank them enough for their daily encouragement and gentle guidance that helped me to take my daughter home with her special needs and all her equipment. They taught me to take care of her just as they did in the hospital and we kept her at home for almost three years before losing her. Which was 2 1/2 years longer than the neos thought she’d live! All because of the nurses in the NICU. And for that, I’m forever grateful.
    Continued blessings on you and your little One.

  131. A good friend of mine (Mike) once described NICU nurses as the Navy Seals of nursing…I agree!

  132. OMGosh, thank you for writing this! It brought back some hard memories and made me cry, but I know all too well the path you have walked. My twin boys were born 10 weeks early and my smallest, Jack, who was only 1 lb 14 oz at birth, spent 5 1/2 months in the NICU with some pretty amazing NICU nurses that I also will never forget. We are so blessed to have both boys with us today and those incredible nurses are the reason. Thank you for giving voice to my heart and reminding me about these wonderful, selfless souls who give so wholly of themselves every day in such heart-wrenching circumstances and chaotic surroundings.
    Many blessings to you and your beautiful family!

  133. Great letter, Heather. Power to the Preemies!

  134. <3 this!!

  135. Caroline Annfield says:

    What a beautiful article my first baby was born at 25 weeks and I never knew – now I know how amazing the SCBU teams are x

  136. Stacy Lawson says:

    Same goes for the PICU nurses – just spent 3 weeks there.

  137. A Cooper mom says:

    I’m a proud NICU mommy of an almost 18 year old beautiful young adult, that I couldnt even imagine one single day without! Thank you NICU nurses for being there for us and keeping me positive through that super emotional rollor coaster of a time that seems not so long ago! You are and always will be very much one of my nearest and dearest heros…

  138. NICU nurses are amazing…our preemie is now 21 years old and an honors student but to the NICU nurses who re-weighed him when his dad didn’t believe he had lost weight (he hadn’t) and coaxed me through being terrified of causing another session of apnea….thank you so very much…..


  140. The NICU is a different world. One where everyone is cheering for everyone and when it is time for carseat challenge we all sit and watch the numbers together. And then rejoice when baby passes and gets to go home or when another tube is taken away etc… The nurses in there are amazing and I am so grateful for them.

  141. I have had the privilege of being an i.c.u nurse for 20+ yrs and was blessed during that time with incredible patients, dr.s and the best group of nurses god ever created.our daughters 1st baby was 6 wks premature and there is no doubt in my mind or hers that the nice nurses at methodist hops.. in dallas saved my grandsons life. he was 3 lbs 14 oz at birth…16 yrs later he is tall and healthy and so precious to us and only because of their calling in life…god gave them a special gift and we are so thankful to them all. god bless all us nurses and parents that cross paths in life. god blessYa’ll and your families. have a good sunday and most of all god bless tucker!!!

  142. Pamela DeWitt says:

    As a grandmother of a 33 weeker and a frequent visitor of the NICU at Mt. Sinai in NYC, I, too, thank all of the NICU nurses and staff! What a wonderful group of dedicated people. Baby Odin is now 13 months and is walking and doing great! The NICU nurses were OUR lifeline to what was going on with Odin. Thank you SO much!

  143. NICU Nurse Husband says:

    From a NICU Nurse Husband:
    My wife of 40 years is a NICU nurse in the unit where Tucker was at and I have been in the NICU and watched in amazement the professionalism and care that each and every Nurse, Doctor and respiratory Therapist have that staff this unit as they go about the daily routine.
    I have had the Honor of meeting and making friends with most all of the staff over the years and I am Proud to say that each and every one have a special gift to work with these special babies and educate and hold the parents hands.

    I hear the stories and never cease to be amazed when we talk about her day, and I have seen her cry when the Lord had other plans and the Joy when one finally gets to go home.
    Rest assured that they are the best you will ever meet.

    NICU Nurse Husband

  144. JoEllen Weatherhead says:

    Wow this post is amazing. My little man was only in there for 8 days but 8 days too many. I agree these nurses are amazing and three years later we still pray for them and thank them every night for what they did for us!!

  145. rebecca sinclair says:

    My son had a 2 month stay in the NICU almost 13 years ago. I will never forget the faces of the amazing NICU nurses who took care of him. One of my nurses pestered the gastroenterologist for days to get permission for me to breast feed my son. It worked! That day she paraded all through the NICU cheering for me as my son latched on without trouble for the very first time at 1 month of age! Another nurse took extra special care for my son, and even came to my home bearing gifts after we had been discharged. I owe these ladies a debt of gratitude that I will never really be able to repay. To all NICU nurses who read this post, and these comments…you are appreciated and loved! I wish I had expressed that to my nurses more during our time in the hospital!

  146. Holly Thompson says:

    I cried when I read your letter No truer words were ever spoken. We are so thankful for our little miracle grandson. 1lb 3 oz 24 weeks. Turned 3 in May and is one of the greatest blessings in my life. The Doctors and Nurses at the NICU are truly the most amazing people in the world. God bless you for your letter. I hope your life and your families lives continue to be blessed, just as ours has.

  147. This brought tears to my eyes and brought up some memories (that are never buried too deeply)! I had triplets that were 28 weekers nine (almost 10!!!) years ago. They stayed for over two months and it was the longest period of my life! I swear that I owe my children’s lives to the NICU nurses. They were their first and often BEST advocate. They knew my babies better than I did. They fought with the doctors to allow me to kangaroo my babies, even when the doctors didn’t feel they were ready yet. They called and gave me regular updates when they knew I couldn’t make it in. They called and warned me when one of my daughters was getting a blood transfusion and the only viable vein they could find was in her head, so don’t freak out when I come in and see that first. They became some of my closest friends because we spent so much time together, day in and day out, often for 18+ hours at a time. I would not be, and my children would not be, where we are now, if not for the NICU nurses and staff. We try and visit at least once a year to see all our old friends there. They LOVE it when we come back. They can hardly believe my little two and three pound babies are so grown up now! Thank you for recognizing the hard work and heart and soul they put into each and every baby there!

  148. I’ve been NICU nurse for over 35 years mostly in leadership but I am truly amazed everyday at the profound impact we can have on a family. I have personally been visited by pts I cared for over 20 years ago. Thank you for so completely describing the very essence of our work. I am honored today to call myself a NICU nurse.

  149. This is a fabulous post and I couldn’t have written it any better, no matter how hard I tried! Thank you for putting into words, how I feel about NICU nurses and all NICU staff. Just beautiful 🙂 I am forever grateful to them for looking after my lil 29 week darling.

  150. Hooray for this article. All three of my previous babies have been NICU nurses and I’m gearing up for another one, born in two weeks. I have never had a bad experience with a NICU nurse, I have loved them all. Some of the smartest, most capable, kind and supportive women. If it weren’t for my baby not being healthy, I’d be looking forward to seeing them all.

  151. I am so proud of my NICU she is my daughter Ashleigh. I know she loving gives 110% to nursing those babies back to health. I understand exactly what these nurses do to save babies lives, Ashleigh’s brother was born with a maloration of the bowel 23 yrs ago! And without the team of doctors and nurses that cared for him for 2 weeks he would not be here today. This piece of writing captured exacly what it feels like to be a mother on the ward…. I wonder about this miracle called life every day. Love you Ash

  152. I am another NICU nurse brought to tears by your letter. Thank you. Your insight is amazing. I have printed and hung the letter on my unit for Neonatal Nurses Week to remind the staff why we do what we do.

  153. Ashley Soriano NNP says:

    Thank you for this letter. We love what we do!

  154. Thank you to all NICU nurses. It really takes a special nurse to do what they do. I don’t know how we would have gotten threw it without one incredible nurse. Thank you nurse Janna.

  155. Roberta Napoli says:

    I am a retired NICU nurse. I really enjoyed and understood your story, cried many tears, felt much joy in my job, and nurses like I was need to hear once in awhile words of encouragement that they are doing the right thing for the families. I spent many nights in isolation with babies one on one nursing them back to health, some made it some didn’t. It isn’t an easy unit. It was my unit of choice, I always wanted to work with the smallest infants. Great letter. Thank you!

  156. Linda Mendoza says:

    I am a retired Labor and delivery nurse and often looked to the NICU nurses to come to our aid. My daughter-in-law is a NNP and my hero. Thank you for all you do.

  157. Like many others, you brought me to tears. My youngest daughter was born full term, but had aspirated meconium and spent 5 weeks in NICU. I rushed away from my wife’s side to NICU. I witnessed the choreography as they hooked her up to so many different machines – during a shift change. I witnessed nurses caring for me, my wife, and the rest of our family as much as they did for our youngest. I witnessed a primary-care NICU nurse save our daughter’s life when, not assigned to our daughter’s care, stopped in for a visit and called the doctor because her tracings just “weren’t quite right”. I witnessed NICU nurses calling in on their day off, just to see if our daughter was doing well after her surgery to put her on ECMO. I witnessed NICU nurses reminding me to take care of myself too, even if that involved telling an Irishman to leave hospital for a few hours on St. Patrick’s Day to go enjoy a pint with his mates.

    I love our NICU nurses… two of them are our daughter “Godparents”. They were the witnesses for our middle-of-the night baptism when she was three-and-a-half days old and no one was sure if she would survive the night.

    A NICU Dad

  158. I am a NICU mom! My darling daughter, Karys, stayed for a week in a NICU in Dallas, Texas. Our NICU Nurse was Janine! I think of her often. She was my rock when I needed one. She traded shifts just so she could work with our baby and she was the one who wheeled us out to say goodbye. As she hugged me, she whispered that it was so nice to be able to celebrate this day with us. She was heaven-sent and we will be forever grateful that she was there when we needed her.

  159. This was so beautiful. My daughter was born at 37 weeks 1 day weighing 4lbs. 5oz. She was IUGR because of a tear in my placenta and a cyst that developed on the umbilical cord. She was in the NICU for 2 weeks. I had 3 healthy boys before and was not prepared to leave my child at the hospital without me. I wanted to do it all, feed her change her….hold her. The nurses in the NICU are pure angels. They made my husband and I feel so comfortable leaving her there and she was so content. I thank God everyday for her being here for the outcome could have been so different and thank God for the wisdom and care of those nurses who helped my daughter through those precious first weeks of her life. Thank you for writing something so wonderful to express all of our gratitude.

  160. Buffy Rackley says:

    Awesome letter. I remember the morning we checked into the hospital the day our son was born, we were taken upstairs by escort. We entered the elevator, he pressed the correct floor but for some unknown (at that time) reason, the elevator stopped on the wrong floor. The doors opened and we quickly realized we were on the NICU floor. The staff member commented that that was weird to stop on the wrong floor and we moved on. I remember commenting to my husband that I didn’t want to come back there. Little did I know that just 12 short hours later, I would not only come back to that floor, I would come to know it and the way to my room well. I feel very blessed that my son would only spend, compared to many others, only 8 (but they felt like eternity) days there. His nurses were amazing and patient (not only with our son, but with his very nervous and scare mother). Today, he is a thriving 9 month old who very quickly put those first days behind him. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us feel.

  161. Marilyn Bennett says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. You really got it.
    It has made my day and reminded me how proud I am to be a NICU nurse.

  162. Another thank you from a retired NICU RN. Next to being a mother, it was the best job I ever had and I would do it again in a heart beat. What better way to spend your life than helping the precious babies that come from God. Thank you for blessing us.

  163. My oldest son (now almost 3) was in the NICU for three days and to this day I still remember my NICU nurse, the very woman who taught me and my husband to change his diaper and the best way to feed and hold him! Who gave me so much encouragement, and didn’t mind that I was down there every three hours to feed him and didn’t mind every time I forgot to wash my hands, and the million and one questions I asked her!

  164. Larry Anderson says:

    I am the grandfather of two beautiful children that spent their first 4 months in a NICU. I got to see first hand what goes on in a NICU. The one thing I want to say about them is that they are TOTALLY AWESOME!!!

  165. This was a beautiful letter to NICU nurses. I am a NICU nurse, 13 years next month. What a wonderful tribute. We don’t always get to hear what the parents think or how much we are appreciated. Sometimes we only hear the negatives. But for every negative, there are countless positives. The NICU is a strange world for most people, something that the majority of people will never experience, Thank God. But for those parents who do, please know that the nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, social workers and so many others, we are there for your babies, we watch over them and love them and snuggle them when you can’t, we will never replace you but we will be their champions and their advocates, we fight tirelessly and fearlessly for your babies. I love what I do, I see miracles all the time in my job. Seeing the babies go home is the best reward ever. We don’t do this for recognition or glory, we do this because we care. I don’t know if myself or my colleagues would ever consider ourselves heros, I think we do what needs to be done. But know that when I am at work I am taking the best care of your little one as I can. I talk to them, I touch them, I snuggle them when you can’t, I tell them when you call and I let them know how much you love them. I am as proud of every milestone that they meet as you are. When they go out the door of my unit on their way home, my heart is happy because I know my colleagues and myself have in some way helped you to get to this day. There is no better day, than the day that YOU take your baby home. Sometimes we push you and push them, not because we are mean but because we know you and your little one can do it. To take care of your baby is an honour for me and I will give all I have to make sure that your baby goes home because that is just what I and my colleagues do. It is not an easy journey and there can be many setbacks along the way but know that the NICU nurses are working for and with you and cheering you on. I don’t have any children of my own (it wasn’t God’s plan) but I love the babies I take care of. My sister once said to me that “all the love you would have given your own children you now have to give the babies you care for.” This is the best job I have ever had. It is joyful, it is sad at times, it is humbling and it is one of the few places that you truely see miracles. I am blessed to be a NICU nurse.
    Thank you for this letter, it makes everything my fellow NICU nurses and myself do feel appreciated.

  166. This represents so perfectly both experiences that hopefully blend together to bring everyone esp.the little one through a life altering experience.
    You sense how scary & frustrating things can be for the family but if you all hang in there, it can be such an awesome, empowering experience with a new life to enjoy. When things don’t go well, you have people who share your loss & your sorrow.
    Thank you for the kind words!

  167. Awesome! Just awesome! 11 years later and I broke out in tears! I will share on my FB and all my other pages! Thank you for writing this!

    Bo Mattias 29 week 3.3lbs now 11 years & 114lbs!

  168. Donna Scarlett says:

    I know these nurses… I know their heart.. my son is now 10 and I couldn’t think of his life without thinking about that 1 nurse… my son was so attached to her… sometimes I was jealous. .. we cried together. . She never got frustrated with my endless phone calls n middle of night just to make sure he was ok after a bad nightmare. … I will never get my nurse… my son survived becuz of her fight, her touch and the love to make him fight… I thank all of u NICU nurses for ur unbelievable heart…. Tate’s mom ♥♥

  169. Fred Martinez says:

    So blessed to have NICU nurses. I have a healthy 16 year old that was taken care of at Primaries in S.L.C. Utah. I know angels are present with the nurses at all times.
    Thank you for the blog.

  170. Hi there you don’t know me. I just wanted to say that this is very well written and so true. They are amazing people. As we are getting ready to welcome our forth baby into this world in 10 short weeks I am a little more emotional than usual. I was crying reading this. I have been behind those doors a couple times not for near as long as that but I have been there. You are also amazing and you deserve credit too. It is not easy to not be able to just hold your baby and do all the other little things that most new parents all too quickly take for granted or pass off as their daily routine. Congrats to you and your family. I wish you all the best. Enjoy your tiny miracle.

  171. It’s pretty great to not only read your article but all of the comments that come after it. I was lucky enough to have two full term baby boys (now 23 and 21) but I was at the NICU in BC producing the telethon to raise money for the hospital. There I saw the smallest baby – just over 2 pounds – but he was doing ok. He was fighting and he was going to make it. And I saw a big beautiful 9 pound chubby little boy, and I couldn’t understand why he was in the NICU. It turned out he had swallowed meconium while he was being born, and two days later he died. NICU holds the most special people, the babies and the incredibly nurses who literally have seen it all and try hard to save them all. And they put their own feelings on hold to help the parents when their babies can’t be saved. I was there 20 years ago, and I’ll never forget a moment of it. Blessings to you all who spend time in the NICU.

  172. That was beautiful! Thank god for those hands of God!

  173. This is exactly how I feel even though my son was only their for 15 days. Love this.

  174. Thank you for sharing such a touching tribute!

  175. I am a mom to a 26 weeker. This post spoke to my heart, I feel the same way. You really captured the experience, the emotion and the relationship well. Thank you for writing it! I wish you and your family a lifetime of happiness.

  176. Erica Firlit says:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this letter! It is so true and it is a world that does not exist to most. My 26 weeker spent almost 7 months in the hospital and had so many issues that are still ongoing. This letter had me in tears and so much of it applied to my daughter. I am still close to my daughter’s primary nurses. It bring me no greater feeling in the world when I bring my daughter back to her NICU to show her off to the staff. EVERYONE loves it. Brings tears to eyes all over again everytime. I could never be able to thank the nurses for giving me my little angel. So thank you for a beautiful letter. Love my NICU nurses at Christ Hospital Oak Lawn, IL and Children’s Memorial Hospital.

  177. I’m a NICU nurse and Heather, handing us a vial of freshly pumped milk IS normal, and is the healing serum they desperately need. Pumping designer milk for your baby is the MOST important job Mommies can do when their baby is in the NICU!
    And yes, NICU nurses love their patients (whom we call “our babies” because saying “our patient” seems too impersonal for the important job we have taken on…. watching over your precious miracle!)

  178. Rosa Borrelli says:

    This is so true nobody knows what goes on behind those double doors. You may see it on tv and the unthinkable happens your little ones are behind those doors fighting for their lives and the nurses are 10 steps ahead all the time and for that we are thankful for everything they have done even when we needed a shoulder to cry on

  179. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to the smallest people in the world. My grandson was 2lbs 4 oz. and is very happy and healthy. I do not know such tiny miracles could survive.

  180. My daughter, Kaitlin is a NICU nurse and tells me that she has her “dream career”!! Sometimes before she goes to work she’ll ask me to pray for her baby as he/she is “very sick”. Of course, before I do anything else prayers are going up for this little one, their family members and their caretakers including my Kaitlin. She truly loves her babies and glows when she talks about how well they’re doing or gets misty eyed if they are experiencing struggles and facing hurdles. I am SO very proud of her and the love, care and compassion she shows every day!! God bless you Kaitlin and all NICU nurses!! XO

  181. We were luck and all of our children were full term and fine, but have had several friends and family members that have had to spend some time in NICU. This was very moving and I am sure that your words mean the most to those that you have written too. It might sometimes be the hardest thing to do but saying THANK YOU is the biggest thing you can give someone. It shows that you value what they do and gives them PRIDE in doing it.

  182. So beautifully written and such a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it! God bless you, your family, and your NICU nurse.

  183. heather myers says:

    My son was born in respiratory distress and spent 7days in the NICU at MCV in Virginia. We always joke with him that he started talking before he was born and hasn’t stopped! It was devastating to have to leave him there when I was discharged, but now he is a healthy, wonderful 20 year old. The care he received at the NICU at MCV was awesome. Thank you all so much. You made a difference in my sons life and in my family.

  184. This was true even 26 years ago when my daughter Morgan was born at 26 weeks In Albany Med…her nurse, Marie, was our life line..and she is still helping parents today. NICU nurses are a unique breed, and we are truly lucky that they are. Thank you Marie Ahkao for loving our daughter as much as we did. Morgan is who she is today in large part because of the care you gave her.

  185. Kelly, RN NICU says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a beautiful letter. It makes what I do every day even that much more special. I feel truly blessed and honored to be able to care for these sweet babies and their families. Thank You!

  186. Amy Goodwater says:

    I am a NICU mom as well. My son was born at 31 weeks and 2 days, which doesn’t sound really early compared to others, but he still spent 5 weeks in the NICU before he was able to come home. This letter is so true and it takes a special person, in my opinion, to be a NICU nurse. I lived in the NICU with my son for two weeks prior to his discharge and got to know his primary nurses very well during that time. They helped me through days when I thought it was never going to end, through happy milestones and tearful days. Their strength, support and positive motivation got me and my son through a lot. Thank you for writing this letter from one NICU mom to another.

  187. Like so many others, I feel compelled to add my thanks for sharing the gratitude that is imbued in every moment of a preemie parent’s life. I dealt with infertility and pregnancy loss and as my pregnancy reached its third trimester, I had every reason to believe a healthy, full-term birth was finally in my future. It wasn’t. My son was born at 34 weeks, just barely making it into the late-term preemie category and because I was breastfeeding him, I was granted a boarder room in the NICU which meant I never had to leave the hospital without him. It also meant that I had a round-the-clock view of these super-human individuals. 5.5 months after our stay at the NICU Hilton, I remain awed and humbled by everything I experienced and witnessed.
    I’m also grateful to see so many preemie parents whose kids are healthy and grown comment here. It confirms my suspicion that I will never take for granted every milestone or achievement he experiences.
    Jane, Angie, Michelle, and others, you not only maintained the professionalism to care for my son’s medical needs, you offered me comfort and loaned me your strength when I so desperately needed it. ‘Thank you’ can’t begin to express my feelings for you as I sit here, watching my son sleep peacefully and healthfully, but it’s all I know how to say.
    Thank you.

  188. Thank you for this post! I have the hardest time sharing in words how important our NICU nurses are to our family. My daughter is a 25 weeker born 1lb 11oz and spent 106 days in the NICU. She had five primary nurses on her team: Christine, Jenna, Katie, Lillian and Nancy (alphabetical by first name). I think of them every day. She had a PDA, has a grade 4 brain bleed and went home on oxygen. She is amazing the world with how strong she is and fills my heart with joy! I saw parents ‘break up’ with their NICU nurses while we were living at the NICU and it broke my heart. I couldn’t understand because I knew how much the nurses cared for their primary. I love seeing so many people who loved their nurses as much as we do. Thank you for sharing this. It is beautiful 🙂

  189. My girlfriend is a NICU nurse in Saudi Arabia. she takes pride in her work. for her, seeing a baby grow and get better from its premature state gives her great satisfaction. and appreciative parents like you makes her heart melt. thank you for appreciating NICU nurses. this makes me love my girlfriend more. she’s a hero on her own way.

  190. chelsi couey says:

    I never knew the duties of the nicu until I to was there. My son was born with premature lungs and it scared me to have him sent to wolfsons the night he was born. My first son was born healthy so that was new to me. No one is a more caring and loving person than those nurses. We all appreciate what you do on such a high level. I will always thank you all from the bottom of my heart for taking such wonderful care of my baby and making me feel at home while I was losing sleep And losing days just trying to stay by my sons side. you will all be forever remember and loved.

  191. Twelve years ago my son was in the NICU born at 1lb 2.4oz. and he spent 4 months there. I still thank God for the NICU doctors (like Dr. Sandy), PA’s (like Vicki) who bought my son first Easter outfit and all the other Angels. God Bless the all. He came home on Mother’s Day which was on of the BEST days or lives.

  192. A very big thankyou from around the world! A NICU nurse from Australia. Bought tears to my eyes and a reminder of what it is like on the other side of the incubator. LOVE my job… couldnt imagine working anywhere other than the NICU. Love our babies and LOVE sending them home! I hope everyone’s bubbas are doing amazing! xx

  193. I found this post shared via facebook on my sister-in-law’s page! I absolutely love NICU nurses and know that they need all the support we can give them. My company works closely with these professionals and I am so glad I’ve gotten to know many loving nurses. Tiny Tips can help preserve any memories you may have of your child and is owned and operated by caring women who donate their time and effort to make keepsakes possible for those who are in need. Please contact me if you’re interested in joining forces. My website is http://www.tinytipme.com. You can reach me via email at kbusry@gmail.com or FB as tinytipme (https://www.facebook.com/tinytipme) Thanks to ALL NICU nurses for loving our babies and the families that need you. It is truly a wonderful talent and heart you all have.

  194. This is great! As a NICU mom of a 31 weeker with Downs Syndrome, I can relate. I still keep in contact with Hope’s Nurses. They are true hero’s, though they take no credit. LOVE LOVE LOVE Hope’s NICU Nurses and as a nurse myself, I can honestly say nursing and NICU nursing are two different worlds!

  195. Thank you for writing this. My twin girls spent two months in the very same NICU. It was all very overwhelming and I still don’t have the words to articulate how much some of those nurses meant to me! Hope everything is going well for you, your family, and most importantly, for your beautiful son 🙂

  196. This is absolutely beautiful. I shed tears and my heart melted as I read your words. Thank you so much for sharing. I was fortunate to take my 2 babies home a couple days after they were born and life as a new mom was difficult and challenging enough with no health problems to worry about. Thank you for sharing your story. I admire your strength and courage. Wishing you and your family a healthy and blessed future. Hugs and praise to all the NICU nurses out there. Thank you for doing what you do! xo

  197. Beautiful, heartbreaking… I cried for this one, and the thousand others just like it!

  198. Thank you from the mother of a new NICU nurse. As I watch my compassionate and skilled 22 yr old daughter cross the street in her scrubs with hospital ID’s dangling from the lanyard around her neck, I still the little girl in the ballerina tutu smiling up at me and saying I want to be a nurse when I grow up mommy. Now I watch as she learns to deal with every emotional aspect of being a NICU nurse and I worry about how she will handle the very real stress of life and death of our most precious gifts. What eases my worry, is knowing there are mom’s out there like you, taking care of my baby. Thank you <3

  199. Nancy Campbell says:

    Heather…thank you for speaking my mind!! My daughter was a full term baby but due to VERY low blood sugar and lungs issues due to meconium inhalation before birth she wound up in the NICU…she was the BIGGEST baby in there at 9 lbs 7 oz…she had some of the best nurses I have EVER encountered in my life…they took the best care of my baby girl and this weepy, over-emotional new mom…I’ll never forget them…they all especially Elisabeth R.N., holds a special place in my heart forever…THANK YOU!!!

  200. A very heart warming story, that most people have no idea about.I’m so glad that you shared your story with me…..God Bless you all….

  201. Katherine Thomson says:

    This brings back memories. My daughter was a 29 weeker almost 41 years ago. She weighted 3 pounds 4 ounces. things were a lot different back then. It is amazing to see how far we have came. Now my daughter is a NICU nurse in Michigan. I hope she was one of the nurse who helped care for you bundles of love.

  202. Jenn Findlay says:

    Very well said, my sweet Izak was born at 23 6/7 weighing only 720 grams. That was September 1st. We now have just started his discharge to come home within If next month or so. I do know all of what you’ve spoke about and Then some. And there is absolutely no way that we would be where we are today without his nurses. I couldn’t thank them enough. They themselves make miracles happen. Seeing this post just inspired me to begin preparing something wonderful for Izak’s nurses as a thank you from us. Thank you and congratulations on your precious baby.Xxoo

  203. They are so awesome!!!I remember being in the hospital,my baby crying non-stop,I didn’t get good sleep for days and this nice lady comes over and holds him,rocks him…that was the first time I actually got some sleep and some peace.Those were the hardest days of my life and this nice lady gave me hope and a lot of help.thank you

  204. Amber Cornell says:

    I was a NICU mom, twice, and it’s because of my experience and the nurses that I’m now persuading a career in nursing and hope to one day be a NICU Nurse. My oldest who was 8 weeks early and was 2 lbs is now 15 and is going to go into nursing as well. Thank you for your letter it was so touching, I will never forget my NICU nurses and all they have done for my children and for me

  205. VanessaMiller says:

    I LOVE THIS!! I couldn’t have said it any better myself! My daughter was born 6 weeks early on October 15, 2013, a little more than one month after this was posted. I would have NEVER guessed that I would have been one of those mothers having to visit their beautiful and precious Angel in the NICU. We are very blessed to say that she has no problems and it was those unbelievable and caring nurses who helped my daughter, husband and myself through this scary adventure. My daughter turns 1 next week, I can’t believe it, and we plan to visit these wonderful nurses on her birthday to thank them for everything they did, and bring them some cupcakes of course 😉 This was beautifully written, I am going to print this! XO

  206. Dawn Dillon says:

    Wow this was truly inspirational and so true. Thank you for sharing this. Im going to have to share it with the NICU nurses where my twin girls are.

  207. Beth Ann Senderak says:

    Wow, that brought the tears to this NICU nurse! Thanks so much for writing this. We are blessed to have you in our lives, more than you know!

  208. I love this rendition, I am a picu mom. My son was born with half a heart and the picu had a better trained nurses for heart babies up there (and do now, since we are still here lol!) i wrote a PICU version similar to this!


  209. John Goodell says:

    NICU Nurses,
    I am the father of a NICU mom, who had twin girls, I have forgotten how long these precious little girls were in the NICU as they are now 4 years old, perfectly healthy and beautiful little girls, due in large part to the special care given by the NICU nurses, there will always be a special place in my heart for these very exceptional nurses.

  210. NICU DAD says:

    Dear NICU Nurse,

    Tomorrow is my daughter’s 5th birthday. Autumn was born at 28 week’s and 1 day she weighed 2 pounds 8 ounces 13 inches long. She had a bowel resection at 6 hours old and was in the NICU for 2 1/2 months , I know that may not be as long as some but it felt like an eternity to us. Thanks to all the NICU nurses that worked with her she is now going to be a beautiful, smart, tall 5 year old. Because of you, I get to spend the rest of my life loving and taking care of my daughter. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing my baby back me.
    Sincerely Yours, NICU Dad

  211. I am the Nana of a 2 lb. 3 oz. preemie and I can’t say enough and will never be able to thank the NICU and SCU nurses for taking care of our Precious McKinley for 108 days at Vadant Medical Center in Greenville, NC. They are INCREDIBLE. Thank you for sharing your story. NICU is a place of heartbreak and a place of some of the biggest Blessings I have ever seen. The things God allows those nurses to to are sometimes unbelievable, But I thoroughly believe…..”With God, ALL things are possible”……

  212. Frankie Guinle says:

    20 years after my grandson lay in a coma in an NICU he stared through a glass at the remaining live twin daughter in another NICU. two different NICU experiences, same wonderful nurses, no matter where they are. As my grandson lay unconscious the NICU nurse and I stood by his crib as tears rolled. We could not speak. But all of a sudden his big toe made a brief move. We shouted and hugged and I ran like crazy to get his mother who had been sedated. After days in a coma, in 15 minutes he was yelling like crazy. Those nurses (and doctors) were really miracle workers. Thank you, no matter who you are or where you are. You are an angel sent from heaven. Now his 27 week daughter is 3 years old, thanks to the care given by those miracle workers.

  213. God bless all nurses especially those such as nicu who deal with life and death on a daily basis . Being a nurse is special bread of person , I thank god I’ve been able to share this with my sister & niece . God bless all nurses 💕🌹



  2. […] This post originally appeared on Preemie Babies 101. Healthy Living – The Huffington Post […]

  3. […] **Read this inspiring tribute to NICU nurses. […]

  4. […] This letter was originally published here on Preemie Babies 101 […]

  5. […] And speaking of amazing NICU nurses, be sure to check out this gorgeous letter written to a NICU nurse. The post was so popular it was picked up by the Huffington Post!  http://www.preemiebabies101.com/2013/09/dear-nicu-nurse/ […]

  6. […] a look at this touching letter written by a NICU […]

  7. […] to care for her baby. In light of this week’s celebration, we’re including a link to the post here. If you have a friend or a loved one who works as a neonatal nurse, be sure to thank them this week […]

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