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Friday, February 8, 2013

Flashback Friday: In Good Hands

Jack, in a nurse's hands, just before he was placed into mine for the first time. 
We had to leave Jack, for 112 days, in someone else's hands.  It was heart-wrenching.  Hearing from other's that he was "in good hands" did not alleviate my anxiety; it only made me want to shout, "But he should be in MY hands."  But what did soften the trauma, just a tiny bit, was knowing that many of the nurses who did care for him, well, their hands were the next best thing.  I was browsing through old NICU photos for Flashback Friday, and I noticed in many of our photos of Jack, there was usually a pair of hands touching him.  Often they were mine or Jeff's, but many were a nurse's hands.  
Hands, removing his mask to allow us to see Jack's whole face. 
And strangely enough, I can identify the nurse 90% of the time, just by her hands alone.  If you ever talk with a NICU mom, they will undoubtedly tell you that a nurse can make or break your day.  Each nurse connects differently with each baby and family, and some were better suited for our family than others.  Those parents will also go on to tell you how special many of those nurses are and how they feel like family.  We feel the same. 
The hands of one our most beloved nurses, who took special care of Jack in his early days and beyond.

I even wrote a letter to the NICU nurse manager after Jack's stay, expressing that very sentiment: 

 "I know while Jack was in the NICU, we came to you with our many concerns.  But we often forgot to acknowledge the wonderful nurses we met during his stay.  Although memories of a NICU stay, in any hospital I imagine, are fraught with fear, anxiety, and all the other “rollercoaster” emotions, our memories also include how blessed we were to develop these relationships with Jack’s special nurses.  A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about one or all of these ladies and I always remind Jack of his “girlfriends.”  While I know they were all doing their job, and extremely well at that, and they interact with many patients and families, to us they felt like family.  Especially because they were with Jack, and us, for the first four months of his life.  I realized early on that the nurse Jack had each day really affected my mood and my anxiety level.  Apparently this happens to most parents, as I had many a conversation in the “pumping room” about how certain nurses mesh well with certain families.  That is not to say that one nurse is better or worse, but that certain styles and personalities will either mesh or clash.  While we didn’t really clash with any one, there were definitely some nurses who eased my anxiety and calmed our fears on many a day in our 4-month stay."   

Another set of special hands, Jack's OT. 
 I went on to give specifics about some of Jack's very special nurses and therapists.  I won't name them publicly here, because they'd be horribly embarrassed, for they are just "doing their job."  But what a special job it is.  They take care of the most fragile little ones and their often more fragile parents, devastated by this unexpected turn of events.  In those early, fragile days, their hands touched him more often than ours.  His first nurses always made sure that I was doing okay, in those days when I didn't know whether to feel elated or defeated, joyful or distraught.  They put tiny, tiny clothes on our little boy, just to give us a sense of normalcy.  They made sure we always felt like Jack's parents, even though we really were just guests who had to drive many miles, park in a parking garage, sign in, scrub our hands, and gown up just to see our baby.  They apologized for grabbing him from my arms, after he stopped breathing, even though we were just grateful that those hands that grabbed also saved him.  Their hands comforted him, comforted us, placed him in our arms for the first time, and captured special moments on camera.  Their hands secured him in his boppy, so he could get a better view of the NICU and inked his tiny feet for his first footprints.  Hands that taught us containment and infant massage and hands that encouraged us during first "real" baths.  Hands that made me feel like I could leave the NICU to get lunch or even take the afternoon "off."  Hands that dialed the phone to let us know Jack was okay, after a particularly rough "goodbye" one night.  And just when my NICU crazy really started to kick in, we were blessed with a nurse whose hands took care of many issues, both major and minor, that made our lengthy stay bearable. 

In a nurse's hands, for one of the many NICU firsts. 

We couldn't have survived without their guidance and care during a very traumatic time for our family.  We are more than grateful and I know this post does not do justice to our appreciation.  Guess we were "in good hands" after all.  


  1. Very beautifully written! I can relate so much! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Alicia - Thanks for reading! I'm so glad you could's the reason I blog about Jack's journey :)

  2. What a wonderful tribute! I am an ER RN and meet most people on the worst day of their life. I know we provided great care, but those patients are often so sick they have no recollection of their interactions with us. Thank you for saying it so well.