My mom always tried to stress the importance of a thank you card. I can remember being little and sitting down with her to write thank you cards after birthdays and holidays. As I grew older, she would hand me a stack of thank you cards and make sure I got them written.
I always wanted to be a really great thank you card writer, but most of the time my thank you cards get written and addressed only to be found a month late underneath a stack of who knows what, never mailed and way too late.
It is so easy to be too busy, too tired, or too whatever to offer up a thank you when necessary, especially when the thank you should go above and beyond spoken words in passing.
In some ways, I think the hardest thank yous to prioritize are the ones that need to be said the most.
The thank yous that are meant for gratitude and appreciation. The thank yous that take time to find the right words in order to truly convey how meaningful the act was.
As we approach the second birthday of my tiny humans, I am reminded that I could probably never fully express the gratitude and appreciation I have for a small group of people. The people who saw me at my most vulnerable and who protected and cared for my precious babies. They did all of the extra work without being asked and without complaint.
These people are our NICU nurses.
Before I went to nursing school, I didn’t even know the NICU existed. I never had a reason to know.
During my senior year of nursing school, I had the opportunity to spend some time in a NICU, learning how to care for our most vulnerable population. I worked along side some wonderful people and learned so much.
And for me, that’s where I thought it would end.
I never dreamed that two years later I would find myself pregnant with triplets and going into labor at 30 weeks.
I never could have imagined being on the other side, the patient’s mother. So when I found myself in this situation, I underestimated how difficult it would actually be.
But the people who made our time there bearable were our nurses. Here is my thank you to them.
Thank you for meeting me at my most vulnerable.
I remember being wheeled to the NICU after delivery in my giant hospital bed. I hadn’t been given the opportunity to meet my babies yet and this moment was set to be a big deal. There were several nurses and providers working on each of my babies and I could barely keep up. I had so many questions and not enough time to process them all.
But then you stepped in.
You answered questions I hadn’t even asked, and you provided comfort and reassurance in a way I didn’t even know I needed.
After our initial meeting, you continued to care for me, even though I wasn’t your patient. You made sure I had ample opportunities to hold my babies, and you helped me take care of myself, both physically and emotionally.
For that, I am forever thankful.
Thank you for caring for my precious babies.
You were their advocate.
Having a preemie baby is full of unknowns. Preemies don’t always act like a typical baby because there are so many parts of development that aren’t “developed” yet and there were too many things for me to keep track of.
But, you knew. And you taught me. And you advocated for them. And you helped me to advocate for them.
You taught me how to recognize their cues. You taught me how to bathe them and how to feed them; how to swaddle them with all of their cords.
You literally saved their lives.
You made the most abnormal situation feel normal.
And for that, I am forever thankful.
Thank you for going above and beyond without complaint.
You gave me things I didn’t even know I needed. You made our time in the NICU not just bearable, but special. Every milestone was documented, usually with a footprint. Every holiday was noted.
When you knew I was having a rough day, you remedied it my sending me updates throughout the night.
You made every little thing important. Every time a baby lost a piece of equipment, you celebrated it with us. Every minor setback, you encouraged us forward.
There are so many special things you did for us that there is no way I can cover them all. The keepsakes you gave us are treasured. Our time with you will always be treasured.
And for that, I am forever thankful.