Monday, November 17, 2014

NICU Nurses

A sneaky view of the nurses taking care of Katie.
I've long thought that it takes a special person to be a nurse, but now I know that NICU nurses are a unique breed even among nurses. Not only do they take care of the smallest, most vulnerable patients, they care for their parents. They hug us when we need it, and provide that moment of comfort after the doctor delivers the clinical diagnosis. At our hospital the families have what they call "primary" nurses. These nurses are first to be scheduled with our family. You see them often, they know you, and you know them. I love all of our primary nurses. And I've discovered that each of them gives me a different style of nursing, and it seems just when I need it, the right nurse is assigned to us. I say us, because they truly take care of our entire family, not just the two babies who are technically their patients.

Linda was our nurse the very first night. She is the nurse who told Shawn that he could give the girls blessings when we hadn't even thought of it. She has been the most consistent nurse for our girls. We got to the point with Linda that we knew she was going to be with them every Sunday, so we decided that Sunday nights were going to be our nights at home with Eliza. I knew that they were in safe hands with Linda.  One night Linda was scheduled but had been bumped from our girls so another nurse who was training could have our girls. Linda did double duty that night as she made sure the new nurse knew exactly how we did things and checked on our girls as often as the nurse scheduled.  Linda is the one who makes things happen, who ensures we're talking to the OT when we need to. Linda loves our girls. And we love Linda. She will be "Auntie Linda" to the girls.

Joy showed up one day unexpectedly and we lost track of time just talking. That happened every time Joy was assigned to us, we just talked the entire time I was at the hospital. When I needed a friend at the hospital, someone to talk to, Joy showed up. She always brought me water and took care of me. Joy personifies her name.

Meagan is kind and quiet. She is a newer, young nurse, but is so incredibly competent, she acts like a nurse with decades of experience. Meagan and I have bonded on a deeper level, and have shared some of the harder struggles together. She makes signs for the girls birthdays and takes joy in putting them in their cutest outfits. We didn't see Meagan for about 3 weeks and I missed her terribly.

Pam is a very mothering type of nurse. She knows when to step in and help me, but also when to leave me to try to do things on my own.  She gently nudges me in the right direction and explains why we do things a certain way. Pam is the nurse who was there the first day I got to hold Katie after three weeks of waiting. She is the one who told me, and when I started to cry pulled me into her arms. She will always hold a special place in my heart.

Wendy is the nurse other nurses want as their mom. Wendy is that nurse that seems in charge because she just knows how things are done and all of the other nurses come to her for help. She is an incredible woman and mother. Any mother who gets to work with Wendy is blessed indeed. Wendy brings a calm knowledge to the storm that can be the NICU.

I will miss these women. I will want to call on them in the dark of night when the twins are crying. I will miss sharing my day with them. I will miss their knowledge and expertise. I've already tried to recruit Wendy as a babysitter. What is better than a babysitter with NICU experience? We love them all. They are all family now.

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