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

The Touch of a NICU Nurse

So I’m driving along and from my backseat hear, “You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. You make me happy. When skies are grey….” sung by the sweet little voice of my daughter Kate, born at 2 lbs., 1 oz. and 25 weeks, 6 days gestation in 2007.

I am instantly taken back to the NICU where nurse Linda would lovingly sing these same endearing lyrics to each fragile baby as she worked to heal them and grow them.

There was something extremely special about Linda that I know you’ll agree about most NICU nurses. This is not their job. This is their calling in life.

NICU Nurse Linda at Seton

Kate with Nurse Linda

What huge hearts. And the way they take care of parents like me at the same time….oh, I could go on and on.

So here I am having a PTSD moment, and I realize that it’s been a few years since we’ve given Nurse Linda an update and photo of Kate. I instantly pick up my cell phone and press “contacts” then “Kate.”  You see my husband programmed “Kate” into my phone nearly five years ago so that I could call the NICU to check on her in the middle of the night.

I hear the phone ringing and even this makes my throat tighten as I remember all the times I had called in summer of 2007. Someone answers and states that I’ve reached Neonatal Intensive Care and I tell her that I’m calling to see if Nurse Linda still works there and she says, “She’s actually standing right next to me. Would you like to speak to her?”

I am so glad to hear that she is still there but totally unprepared to have the phone handed off to her.

Sure enough, Linda answers in her sweet grandmotherly tone, she remembers exactly who Kate and I are and I just lose it.

I tell her about what hearing “You Are My Sunshine” did and will forever do to me. She is crying now too and says, “You have made my day. I really needed to hear this today.”

I ask her when she works next so I can bring her some goodies, a photo, and maybe even Kate for a quick reunion outside the NICU and we plan for next Wednesday.

When I hung up, Kate asked me why I was so sad. And it occurred to me that those were tears of JOY and GRATITUDE.

How can that be after an experience filled with so much fear, loss of control, and sadness?

That, my friend, is something only a preemie mom or dad can understand.

Babs Haller About Babs Haller

Babs (TX) is the mother of premature twins, Jack and Kate. Jack was delivered at 24 weeks following an umbilical cord accident and died. Kate, born two weeks later, spent 59 days in the NICU. From age 4, she has required occupational and vision therapy. Babs is passionate about supporting families affected by loss and prematurity, raising funds for prevention research, and serving as an awareness ambassador. Babs is proud to have been the first staff member of Hand to Hold. View a video about her experience or email her.

Comments

  1. We were at the same hospital and were lucky enough to have Linda when our primary nurse wasn’t working. She is amazing!!

  2. With tears in my eyes, I thank God for people like Linda and all those who devote their lives to NICU’s everywhere. What a special calling! And to my daughter, by some wierd circumstances, Babs, and her sweet husband, you are so strong and amazing. I share your loss of Jack, and I love you both and our sweet Kate. She is, you know, shared with us all!

  3. We didn’t have primary nurses, but we had a team of great nurses taking care of our twins. I do love going back to the NICU for visits to show the nurses how big our former 1-pound babies are now. I think they really like seeing their NICU graduates.

  4. Melissa Ayala says:

    I too can relate to both stories, we had 3 amazing primary nurses, nurse Sue, nurse Lynn and nurse Jen. From day one we found it was extremely important to have “2nd mothers” watching over our babies and advocating when we could not be there. I had twins at 23 weeks, Isabella and Elijah. Isabella survived for 11 days. Elijah continues to astonish us with how well he is progressing, he will be 1 year old on the 24th of this month. We know how fortunate we are to have met our angel nurses as they are the ones that helped our son survive.

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