‘Are you ready to hold your daughter?’ My eyes wide open, I nodded. After delivering my triplets, hours after my first child died, you took pictures of my sweet babies.’

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“It’s a place my family called home for nearly 4 months. The NICU can be a scary experience. Life is measured in hours, or even minutes; where life can change at a moment’s notice. For me, it’s a place where life and death collide.

Dear NICU nurses, thank you for being our miracle workers.

A day after delivering my triplets, just hours after my first child died, I woke up in an ICU bed. I was unable to see my two remaining babies due to my health, yet you took pictures of my sweet babies and brought them to my hospital bed. Thank you to the nurse who first introduced me to my children.

In those early days, the shock of staring at their translucent, one-pound bodies, consumed me. The guilt overwhelmed me as I looked at the machines keeping my children alive. Yet, there was no judgement from you, our nurse. Only comfort and kindness. Thank you to the nurses who gave me hope.

At one week old, you approached me with a smile. You looked at me and said, ‘Are you ready to hold your daughter?’ With my eyes wide open, I simply nodded, unable to get the words out of my mouth. Weighing just 16 ounces, I held my daughter for the first time; her miniature hands placed perfectly on my chest. Thank you to the nurse who gave me that first milestone. It’s a moment etched in my heart forever.

Intubated preemie lays in NICU with flower headband on their head
Courtesy of Stacey Skrysak

At five weeks old, my husband and I sat in a conference room, expecting a typical update on our children. Instead, we were given devastating news: our son suffered brain damage. As I looked from the doctor over to you, I saw the sadness and concern in your eyes. As we returned to their room, I broke down watching our beautiful Parker, his peaceful soul unaware of his grave setback. As the sobs poured out, you handed me a tissue as you silently gave me a hug. No words could help what we were feeling, but that simple gesture made a difference. To the nurse who was there on one of the worst days of our lives, thank you for providing the comfort I needed.

Two weeks later, on August 16, we watched as doctors removed every tube and wire from our son. I rocked sweet Parker as we said goodbye. And as we shared stories in his final moments of life, a team of you were there, both present and in spirit. From taking pictures, to calling in on your day off to check on our family, you were there. The gentle hand on the shoulder didn’t go unnoticed. Thank you to the nurses who allowed us to grieve and who grieved along with us.

As the weeks passed by, our lone survivor turned a corner. The laughs became more frequent as you snapped pictures of our child’s expressions, and the grins became full blown smiles as you dressed her in clothes. We looked forward to spending our days in the room, watching our daughter thrive while sharing stories of life outside of the NICU. Thank you to the nurses who gave me hope and a sense of normalcy during a time that was anything but normal.

Preemie on oxygen yawns as she lays in car seat with blanket over her
Courtesy of Stacey Skrysak

As we packed up our bags, a feeling of excitement and sadness swept over me. We were leaving a place that became our second-home. We were leaving our newfound friends, who became family during a critical time in our lives. The smiles and cheers as we left the hospital were heartfelt and genuine. You truly care about every single baby who comes through the NICU.

It’s not one single person who made a difference in our time there, it’s a family of nurses who changed our lives forever.  To the nurses who cared for our children, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for being a parent to our children when we couldn’t spend every hour of the day by their bed. Thank you for being that shoulder to lean on when we needed to vent, or laugh, or cry. You may just be doing your job, but you are touching lives with every family you meet. It takes a special person to become a NICU nurse. Thank you for being my children’s miracle worker.”

This story was written by Stacey Skrysak, an award winning television journalist based in Illinois. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more about Stacey’s triplets:

‘How are the kids?’ I gave her a puzzled look, wondering if I heard her correctly. My heart began to race and my breathing became faster. Tears erupted as my mind instantly flashed back to 3 years ago.’

‘I received a message. My entire body began shaking. To the woman who called me SICK for talking about my children who died, my heart hurts for you.’

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