NICU nurses are some of the most hard-working and emotionally grounded professionals around, and they don’t often get the credit they deserve. These nurses work long shifts with babies whose lives hang in the balance every single day, and those of us who haven’t had a child in the NICU truly just don’t get it. That’s why I love this Facebook post from NICU nurse Brittany Denise. Brittany’s beautiful post gives us a heart-wrenching glimpse inside the trying days and nights of these loving nurses, and it’s something ALL parents need to read. In her post of a photo of her holding a baby who has recently passed away, she says:
“Most everyone knows I am a nurse! A NICU Nurse. Many people think this means feeding and rocking babies, which occasionally I get the privilege to do smile emoticon…But my job entails so much more.
I take care of babies born months too early to live without modern medicine…Placed on ventilators with central lines and life saving medications.
I assess them, care for them, draw labs, start IVs, and give medications.
I teach a new dad how to change his fragile baby’s diaper for the first time.
I place this baby on their [mom’s] chest (often with many tubes and wires attached) after she has not yet been able to hold them for days sometimes weeks.
I comfort that momma as she watches her tiny fragile baby go through more pokes, prods, and procedures than most of us will ever even know.
I celebrate with parents every milestone: every good blood gas, gram gained, tube removed.
I rejoice in the day parents get to bring their baby home after spending months inside the walls of the NICU.
I witness miracles. I get to see little lives come back and beat insurmountable odds. But sometimes I don’t…
I help to resuscitate babies when their hearts stop and little bodies simply can’t take any more.
I beat myself up trying to think what we could have done better or different when all medical options have been exhausted.
I hand those sweet little lives to their parents as they take their last breaths when science and medicine is no longer enough.
I give them medication to make them comfortable in their last moments here on earth.
I help make molds and keepsakes that their family will cherish forever.
I share memories with the family and we laugh and cry in the midst of it all. The NICU becomes their home.
I hug their family members as they walk away from their baby’s room for the last time, hoping my words brought them some comfort.
I sometimes cry in the car on my way home, in the shower or as I try to fall asleep before going into work to take care of other little lives.
I lean on my coworkers. Those other NICU nurses I’m so blessed to work besides. I look to them for knowledge, wisdom, and support.
Yes, my “job” is a NICU Nurse. But it proves time and time again to be so much more.
***this picture was most definitely shared with this momma’s permission as she loves to share her son’s journey and the fighter that he was! This picture was taken after he left us here on earth and it was such a blessing to be there with him in these moments. I know his other NICU nurses in the background feel the same way!
I don’t know about you, moms and dads, but this post was an eye-opener for me. God bless these nurses who put their hearts on the line every day for babies whose lives are on the line. Our local children’s hospital and the hospital where I gave birth both have great NICU’s and I am going to be praying for those nurses!
Did you have a baby in the NICU? Leave a comment about the care the nurses gave your little ones!