Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Poems, Prayers, & Quotes For NICU Parents

A Few Inspirational Poems, Scriptures, and Quotes for you today...

You were born with wings 
wrapped translucent 
around your naked skin 
waiting to unfurl- 
to fly away 
though we ached to have you stay. 

You were born with wings 
so we tethered you with tubes 
IV's and ventilators 
NG tubes and oxygen 
labwork and broviacs 
surgeries and suctioning 
and finally blood... 
so much blood. 

You were born with wings 
and we tried to tear them off 
watching in horror 
the times they opened wide- 
holding tiny hands 
as though we held your soul 
sitting at your side. 

You were born with wings 
but at last you grew strong 
and when your wings slipped off, 
they whispered to the ground 
lost in a pile of cloudy x-rays, 
and we found it wasn't lines that kept you, 
but the hand of God himself.

                      -Elisabeth Snell

The Dirt Road
Cruising along an endless stretch of highway, pavement hard and smooth. 
People staring straight ahead, not taking their eyes off the road.
The lines whisk past as dots that hypnotise, so boring and routine. 
Without challenge, without change and such a waste of time. 
Then suddenly, without warning, a detour sign ahead. 
I turn the wheel, screech and skid, down a dirt road I know not where. 
Stones fly from under my tires as I struggle to gain control.

I must slow down and keep my head, try to stay on course.
Lost, frightened and all alone on some lonesome backwoods road. 
The bumps, ruts, twists and turns, will I ever make it through? 
I take a deep breath, cautiously, progress, for what's ahead I do not know. 
Yet as I go, I start to note the beauty along this road. 
Then here and there I begin to see some others travelling here too. 
They smile and nod with a knowing look, I no longer feel so alone.

There is a kinship here, an understanding too, that sets us apart from the rest. 
Our road has the same destination, just a slightly different route.
We've learned some lessons, gained some skills that could only be learned here. 
This road has taught us how rough life can be, but has made us much stronger indeed. 

Cynthia M. Bissell


Dear NICU Nurse...  "Dear NICU Nurse, To be honest, I never knew you existed. Back when our birth plan included a fat baby, balloons and a two-day celebratory hospital stay, I had never seen you. I had never seen a NICU. Most of the world hasn’t. There may have been a brief, “This is the Neonatal floor” whilst drudging by on a hospital tour. But no one really knows what happens behind those alarm-secured, no-window-gazing, doors of the NICU. Except me. And you.I didn’t know that you would be the one to hold and rock my baby when I wasn’t there.  I didn’t know that you would be the one to take care of him the first 5 months of his life as I sat bedside, watching and wishing that I was you. I didn’t know that you would be the one to hand him to me for the first time, 3 weeks after he was born. That you would know his signals, his faces, and his cries. Sometimes, better than me. I didn’t know you. I didn’t know how intertwined our lives would become. I know you now.  I’ll never be able to think of my child’s life, without thinking of you. I know that in the NICU, you really run things. That your opinions about my baby’s care often dictates the course and direction or treatment as you consult with the neonatologist every day. I know that you don’t hesitate to wake a sometimes sleeping doctor in the nearby call room because my baby’s blood gas number is bad. Or because his color is off. Or because he has had 4 bradys in the last 45 minutes. Or because there’s residual brown gunk in his OG tube.I know now that youare different from other nurses.I know that, at times, you are assigned to just one baby for 12 hours straight. You are assigned to him because he is the most critically sick and medically fragile baby in the unit.  I’ve seen you sit by that baby’s bedside for your entire shift. Working tirelessly to get him comfortable and stable. Forgoing breaks while you mentally will his numbers to improve. I’ve seen you cry with his family when he doesn’t make it. I’ve seen you cry alone.I’ve seen you, in an instant, come together as a team when chaos ensues. And let’s be honest, chaos and NICU are interchangeable words. When the beeper goes off signaling emergency 24 weeker triplets are incoming. When three babies in the same pod are crashing at the same time. When the power goes off and you’re working from generators. In those all too often chaotic moments, you know that time is more critical in this unit than any other, and you don’t waste it. You bond together instantly as a team, methodically resolving the crisis until the normal NICU rhythm is restored. Yes. I know you now.  I’ll never be able to give in return what you have given to me. Thank you for answering my endless questions, even when I had asked them before. Thank you for your skill, you are pretty great at what you do. Thank you for fighting for my baby. Thank you for pretending like it was normal when I handed you a vial of just pumped breast milk. Thank you for agreeing to play Beatles lullabies in my baby’s crib when I was gone. Thank you for waking the doctor. Thank you for texting me pictures of my sweet miracle, even when it was against hospital policy. Thank you for crying with me on the day we were discharged. Most of the world still doesn’t know what you do. They can’t understand how integral you are to the positive outcomes of these babies who started life so critically ill. But I do. I know you now. I will never forget you. In fact, our story can never be told without mentioning you. So the next time you wave your access card to enter the place that few eyes have seen, know that you are appreciated. I know you, and you are pretty amazing." Your fan forever, A NICU Mom

Saint Theresa's Prayer
May today there be peace within 
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. 
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. 
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. 
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us. 


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