NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) is a place you don’t want to be because it means your baby needs critical care, even though it’s filled with everyday heroes.
I remember the first week of the twins stay where I cried every single day. I blubbed into the sink while washing my hands, wiped away tears as I approached their cribs and, upon leaving, tried as hard as possible to hold it together until I got back to my hospital bed or our car.
However, towards the end of our stay it had become normal. I had a routine, I was greeted when entering and I was familiar with staff and other parents.
I wouldn’t say it was a pleasurable experience however what made it more than bearable was the staff. The ordinary people simply doing their job. The everyday heroes that worked 24/7 to keep the girls alive and I haven’t been able to put into words my gratitude that I will feel forever.
From those early hours after the birth where nurses and a paediatrician frantically stabilised the girls. The nurses, oh the nurses: To the ones that diligently conducted cares and feeds and thoughtfully kept and wrapped keepsakes. Being able to collect such things meant the world to me. To the nurses who informed us that they had argued at the beginning of their shift as to who would look after the girls. Regardless of whether this was simple banter it filled me with such pride. To the nurse who took excited pleasure in finding matching dresses for them. My heart swelled when I’d arrive in the morning and I could tell you’d been on night shift. To the nurse who confided in me her own fairly recent NICU experience with her own child. You were my inspiration.
There were many others I can’t thank enough. Like the lactation consultant that helped establish our breastfeeding. Or the nurse who insisted I get my phone out and took photos of me giving Fen her first bottle. The Neonatologists that spoke to us in such a kind way, every day about the health care plan. The paediatrician who apologised for the multiple times it took him to get a cannula into Naomi’s tiny vein. I couldn’t believe it! Saving my daughters life and apologising? The ward manager who came to see us in the early days and after exclaiming how beautiful the girls were said “do you know what? There are two kinds of people in this world. Redheads and those who want to be redheads”.
Words still escape me now. My heart brims with this feeling of never being able to repay them. Of admiration that they’re “just doing their job”. Every time I try my eyes fill with tears and I come to realise that even though I may never be able to verbalise my thanks, my daughters will know about every single one of them.