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

Grandpa to the Rescue

Unless one goes through the journey themselves, one will never understand the experience of NICU parents. Add an hour and a half drive to see your child and no siblings being allowed in, and it makes it that much harder of a journey.

The girls were born in May. Brooke came home in August, and in October we got the news that there was nothing more they could do for Kendall, so she was transferred to another hospital an hour and a half away from our home. It was flu/RSV season, which meant we couldn’t take Brooke to the hospital with us.

grandpa, NICU, father's day

When we got the news she was being transferred, it was a huge transition for us. My husband, Matt, was working third shift at the time, I did not drive, and we had a child that couldn’t come to the hospital with us. We only got to see Kendall on weekends.

There is one person in my life that definitely needs a pat on the back, a million dollars, the biggest hugs you can come up with, anything that he could ever want. My dad has always played a huge role in my life, and I have all the love in the world for him. All the love I have for him as a daughter grew substantially after I had my girls.

Kendall’s struggles were happening at every turn you can imagine, and it was breaking our hearts that we couldn’t be there for every second of every day with her. During this difficult time, my dad would go to the hospital before or after his ten-hour work shift and spend an hour or two with her in the hospital.  He would read to her, do tummy time with her, hold her, pray for her, and feed her. He stepped up when he didn’t have to and took over a parental role that we couldn’t fulfill. He did not have to go to the hospital as much as he did, but he wanted to, which makes him the best dad and grandpa out there.

grandpa, NICU, father's day

I know not everyone has this option, but at our weakest moment in the girls’ history, wondering every day if our daughter was going to survive or die, it was amazing to have a dad that stepped up and did the things I could not do. I couldn’t have asked for a better role model and hero in my dad.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, step-dads, grandpas, uncles, and father figures out there!

Want to hear more from NICU dads? Listen to NICU Now Episode 9: The Father’s Perspective.
Melissa McMurchy About Melissa McMurchy

Melissa McMurchy (OH) is the mother of twin daughters, Brooklynn and Kendall, born three months early, weighing 1.4 and 2.7 pounds. Brooklynn coasted through all milestones and is currently only behind in speech. Kendall, with an eleven-month hospital stay, is a bit spunkier with three broken bones, multiple blood transfusions and six surgeries under her belt. The journey has been long, but the lessons many. Melissa is a lover of sports, the smell of rain and miracles. You can follow her on Twitter or on her personal blog, Two Miracles.


  1. Susan Hundley Sullivan says:

    So happy your Dad could be there to help when you could not. As the grandmother to 26 week twin girls, I can say with absolute certainty that there was no other place your Dad would have wanted to be. My granddaughters were in a hospital two hours from home, so I also spent as much time as possible at the NICU. Not only when my daughter and son-in-law could not, but also when my daughter was there alone. I operate my own business, so I had the opportunity to delegate most of my work to others. Grandparents have an unique position when we have a grandchild or grandchildren in the NICU. We have our focus not only on our grandchild / grandchildren, but also our own child. Our hearts are concerned on so many levels. Yet, I knew I had to be the “strong” one, my daughter was already experiencing more stress than any parent should ever have to. I always said the NICU nurses “hid their wings under their uniforms” because they were true Angels and I remember one day this was proven to me in a huge way. My daughter was out of the twin’s room to pump and our more fragile twin coded during an attempt to get her off the ventilator. I sat in terror as the doctors were able to stabilize her, then my daughter returned and before she could be informed of what happened by the medical staff, she looked at both babies and asked me if our more fragile twin twin had “died.” I didn’t quite know how to answer her, so before I answered her the nurse was at our side and explained the doctor was going to explain what had happened and told my daughter that her daughter’s numbers were now much better. Then, I told my daughter I needed to make a few business related calls and would need to leave for 15 minutes. I went to the private elevator used by family and medical staff and just kept going up and down crying my heart out. Soon, one of the twin’s nurses came on and just held me as I cried. She convinced me to get off and sat with me in the private family area as I composed myself. Your Dad is a great man who loves you so much and his granddaughters so much, that his heart would only allow him to be with his granddaughter – he is such a blessing to all of you!!

    • Susan … your words spoke right to my heart. Going through the NICU is a hard journey for everyone. Thank you for your kind words. I am so grateful that my dad (and mom) were there as much as they could be to help out with whatever they could and whatever we needed. I am so happy that you were able to be that rock and person for your grandbabies and hope they are doing well now!

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