I tell her all the time. And she tries to understand, but she can't.
Because she sees many during the course of a day...or in the course of a month. Most of the time, our faces run together...because we are not her patients...our babies are.
But for us?
We memorize her name. We watch her eyes, listen to each word, and study her face...looking for even the smallest flicker of hope.
I tell her all the time, but she doesn't know...because she hasn't lived it.
The sounds of the alarms and monitors make us jump...every time.
But not her.
She monitors, assesses, and records with a sure and quiet confidence. It's what she's been trained to do.
And while our emotions bounce all over the place...she is a rock.
In the NICU, we are not at our best. We are exhausted from days or weeks or months of little sleep. We are stressed from weeks or months of bed-rest. We are weak from surgery, or other health concerns that have affected our pregnancy. We are separated from the rest of our family. We are worried about our other kids at home. We are scared for the life of our baby.
We are afraid we might lose our jobs.
We are married. We are single. We are the breadwinners in our families.
We've been thrown into a situation we didn't plan for, with people speaking a "language" we don't understand.
She's our 4th baby. He's our first.
He's our foster baby. She's the only baby we've delivered that has survived this long.
He's our only chance at having a biological child.
He wasn't planned. We've been waiting on her forever. He is our last shot.
Please save my baby.
I can't handle another child.
We had good medical care. Our lifestyles have put our babies at risk. We are at every visit. We come when we can. We are angry. We feel helpless. We question everything. We question HER.
We want to know everything. We don't want to follow the rules. We appreciate everything. We think only of ourselves. We respect the ones taking care of our child. We are going to try and ruin your day.
No. We are not our best when we are in the NICU...but SHE is.
Professional, knowledgeable, calm, direct, gentle, firm, protective, caring.
Every patient, every time.
Then, at the end of her shift, she drives home, and cares for her own family.
I wrote this with my daughter in mind, but it can apply to any nurse. As "nurses week" winds to a close, I want to honor the men and women who serve and care for us when we are at our most vulnerable.
"You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had." Philippians 2: 3-5