A letter to the NICU Nurse who took care of me.
Such a wonderful story about the true gifts, NICU Nurses and all they do to help make miracles happen with these extraordinary little babies we call preemies!
When I was born 30 years ago, I weighed only 2 lbs., 2 oz. My mom isn't entirely sure exactly how far along she was with me when I was born, but based on my size, she was probably just beginning her third trimester when she went into labor. Growing up, I saw the photos and heard the stories my family would tell about that time — about how small I was, about how I spent three months in the hospital after I was born, about the way they struggled to find clothes small enough to actually bring me home in when it was time — but, for the most part, it meant nothing to me. How could it? I had zero recollection of it and nothing tethering me to that experience other than other people's memories. But now, well, now being a preemie mom definitely means something to me.
When I gave birth to my own children, fraternal twins born at exactly 25 weeks and five days gestation, they weighed even less than I did, and were in much worse condition. They needed full ventilatory support to breathe for what seemed like an eternity, and we spent over 100 days in the NICU, riding a rollercoaster of ups and downs, of setbacks and surgeries, before we could bring them home. We made it through in part because of the incredible, heartfelt care we received from the doctors and nurses, the people whose job it was to keep sick, tiny babies like mine alive each time they came on shift. And seeing that care, seeing that dedication to my (and everyone else's) children made me realize that, once upon a time, someone had done all of that for me as well. I have no idea who it was that looked after me when I was the baby in the incubator, and I'll probably never find out. But there are so many things I wish I could say to the NICU nurse who took care of me, now that I'm a preemie mom myself...
Author, Alana Romain