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

NICU Nurses: The Definition of a Hero

How do you say thank you to the people who saved your child’s life? Finding words to honor their dedication, compassion, kindness, brilliance, and love is an impossibly difficult task. I’ve heard lots of people say that their NICU nurses became like family to them, but it’s so much more than that. Spend 160 of the hardest days of your life with your family. Days when you’re sleep deprived, hurting, emotionally drained, scared out of your mind, questioning everything, and tell me how many family members are still speaking. NICU nurses see us at our worst for days and days on end. They experience every high and low with us. They answer the same questions over and over again. They fight for each baby with everything they have. Through it all they remain kind, respectful, and compassionate. Their hearts are evident in everything they do. It’s a powerful bond, completely different from anything I’ve experienced before.

nicu nurseThank you is not nearly enough, but it is all I have for now. So, thank you. Thank you for loving my child and caring for him like he was your own. Thank you for learning what each movement and sound meant so you could teach me what he needed. Thank you for comforting my son when I didn’t know how. Thank you for holding him when I couldn’t be there.

Thank you for fighting for my child. Thank you for never, ever giving up on him. Thank you knowing him better than anyone. Thank you for being the first to know each time something was wrong, and for being the first to take action. Thank you for advocating for him to his doctors and therapists. Thank you for doing everything in your power to give him the best possible chance.

Thank you for the compassion and kindness you showed me every single day, even when you were tired and hurting. Thank you for understanding when all I could do was cry on the bad days and for giving me reasons to smile and laugh on the good days.  Thank you for becoming my teacher, my guide, my lifeline in the NICU.

Thank you for showing me the beauty of the NICU. Thank you for encouraging me to touch my baby. Thank you for teaching me about Kangaroo Care. Thank you for encouraging me to read and sing to my sweet baby boy.

Thank you for giving me moments like this:

NICU Moments

And this:

Kangaroo Care

And this:

Developmental Bath - NICU

I know, without a doubt, that one of biggest reasons my son is here today is because of the care he received from his NICU nurses. Their incredible knowledge, experience, and love helped to sustain him and give him strength. I cannot explain what a comfort they were to me. I knew he was in the best possible hands, and when your baby is critically ill, that knowledge provides an amazing sense of peace even through the most chaotic moments. I am grateful every single day for each one of his nurses, and will never forget the life changing impact they had on me, and on the life of my amazing little boy. They are the definition of a hero, and will be in my heart forever.

Alison Epps About Alison Epps

Alison (TX) has one child, James. He was delivered by emergency c-section at 22 weeks 6 days gestation, he weighed 15oz. and was 10 ½ inches long. He endured a 160-day NICU stay with 4 surgeries and multiple complications. He is now an active 5 year old who recently started Kindergarten! You may connect with her on her personal blog, Facebook or email, 22w6d@gmail.com. She hopes to encourage change in hospital policy so babies born at less than 23 weeks gestation will be given a chance at life.


  1. Susan Hundley says:

    Loved every word of this article! As the grandmother to 26 week twin preemies, I can not begin to say “Thank you” to the NICU nurses for our twins 96 day stay. Having never experienced the NICU journey before, my daughter, son-in-law and I were thrust into a scary, second by second, heart pounding life. I stayed the entire 96 days with my daughter, since her husband needed to leave for work and returned every chance he could. As the “normal” (if there is such a thing) NICU journey continued, we experience the good days and the hard days. The nurses were our rocks throughout. Working 12 hour shifts, they knew each baby so well. A slight change in skin color, a difference in awake sleep times, anything “slightly different” they immediately acted upon. Then, their was the compassion they showed when we needed it the most. I remember on day 4 of my geanddaughter’s lives, when we almost lost the more fragile twin. After they were able to stabilize her, I left their room and went to the private elevator, used by staff and family only, and cried, as I just kept pushing the button to go up and down. Soon, one of the their nurses, who was on her 15 minute break, came on the elevator and just held me and comforted me, rather than eat the sandwich she had in her hand. There of course so many memories of the scary and the celebrations, but also the quiet times of watching each nurse attend to my granddaughters with such sweetness, whispering endearing sentiments, as they went about their work. It meant the world to us, that each nurse we had loved our girls and were their biggest advocates. Thank you doesn’t begin to express what we feel, especially watching two beautiful and perfect 23 month old miracles enjoy life each day. Our twins wake up by saying “I’m happy” – that is there way of anouncing that they are awake. So from our true gifts from God, these happy little girls, their grateful Nana and Mommy and Daddy, we say ‘Thank you” and “God Bless You” to all NICU nurses – we will never forget you!!

  2. Susan Hundley says:

    sorry for the typos, wrote this with tears…

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