‘I stared at their translucent, 1 pound bodies. Guilt overwhelmed me. Yet, there was no judgement from you, our NICU nurse.’

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It’s a world only a few will ever witness; a place where the sickest babies are given a fighting chance at life. Dear NICU nurse, thank you for being our miracle worker.

A day after delivering my triplets, and just hours after losing our first child, I woke up in an ICU bed. I was unable to see my two remaining babies, yet you took pictures and brought them to my room, allowing me to see the miracle of life. Thank you to the nurse who first introduced me to my children.

Mother smiles while touching newborn in NICU
Courtesy of Stacey Skrysak

In those early days, I stared at their translucent, one pound bodies. Guilt overwhelmed me. My body failed me. Babies are not expected to survive when they’re born more than 17 weeks premature. Yet, there was no judgement from you, our nurse. Only comfort and kindness as you reminded me that Peyton and Parker were in good hands. Thank you to the nurses who gave me hope.

At one week old, you approached me with a smile. “Are you ready to hold your daughter,” you asked. With my eyes wide open, I simply nodded, unable to get the words out of my mouth. Weighing just 16 ounces, I held my child for the first time. Thank you to the nurse who gave me that first milestone. It’s a moment etched in my heart forever.

Hand with blue glove on holding preemie baby in NICU who has flower headband on
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. We returned to their room and I broke down. 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, we watched as doctors removed every tube and wire from our son. We rocked our sweet son as he passed away. A team of you were there, both present and in spirit. From taking pictures, to calling in on your day off to check on us, 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.

Wife smiles behind chair husband sits in with their newborns sleeping on his bare chest
Courtesy of Stacey Skrysak

Eventually, 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. Thank you to the nurses who gave me hope and a sense of normalcy during a time that was anything but normal.

As we packed up our bags and gathered our many nurse-made signs, 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 for being a parent to our children when we couldn’t spend every minute by their side. 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.

Preemie baby sleeping in stroller with pink blanket on her who finally gets to go home
Courtesy of Stacey Skrysak

This story was written by Stacey Skrysak, in honor of  NICU awareness month. Skrysak is an award winning television journalist based in Illinois. You can follow her on Facebook. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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