When I first met London’s primary NICU nurses I did not know just how special they would become to Kate and I. In hindsight, that I would come to think of them as extended family in a way was inevitable. NICU parents have to get away from the unit for their own health, but for many other reasons as well. Life goes on. Jobs don’t wait. Other responsibilities don’t disappear just because you find yourself in this incredibly hard situation. So, when it comes time to leave the hospital, you leave your preemie first and foremost in the hands of your NICU nurse. Of course, there is other support, other nurses on the floor, nurse practitioners, residents, fellows, and attendings, but the one who is on the front lines, the first responder, is the primary nurse for your child.
London had four primaries. From the start they were the most comforting, knowledgable, and loving people. They were her first, and they will always be her best, babysitters. They taught Kate and I most of what we know about raising a preemie. They explained every twist and turn of London’s treatments. I could go on and on and write a long list of the many things they did for London and for Kate and I, but why should I when I can just write this: they ushered me into parenthood with such grace that when it was time to leave the NICU with London it was hardest to say goodbye to them.
As I continue to write about the experience of having a preemie, I will write more about London’s nurses. But for now, I will end this short post with this thought that I had long before London was discharged: London’s primaries are people who, no matter how well we stay in touch for years to come, I will treasure for the rest of my life because I will never forget the way London was introduced to this world and thus, I will never forget the people standing by her bed during that tumultuous beginning.