Tiny babies with shiny, translucent skin lay dependent on a wired world while a musical rhythm of monitors and machines fills the air. Here, dim dark corners are lined with incubators in a perfect pattern all adorned with nametags in an attempt to bring some normalcy and personality to the stark hospital world.
This is the NICU
Where we celebrate new life and grasp for it all at the same time. It is a mostly happy place, mostly positive, and very inspiring but sometimes it can be intensely devastating as well. There is an immense responsibility that lies behind the doors of this world. If you don’t live it, you just won’t get it. It isn’t a job for anyone, for any nurse. It is a special unit where we dedicate not only our time, but our heart and our soul into a place that never closes. Where fragile babies and their parents depend on us for comfort, for care, for prayer, for answers, and for miracles.
Nurses are not only the face, but also the hands and heart of the NICU and the voice of so many vulnerable tiny patients. Even though it is a place nobody wants or expects to end up, it really is an amazing place. As nurses, it stamps our heart and feeds our soul. It is a reminder that there is magic even in the small moments and that the little things we do all add up to some pretty profound and life changing events.
These babies are pint-sized heroes. Tiny, fragile, yet courageous and brave, and one of the most amazing stories anyone can be part of. As a NICU nurse, I am in awe of their strength and resilience. I smile in admiration at their determination. I applaud and rejoice their parents, whom despite self-doubt an immense fear, perform their first diaper change even through all the tangled wires, cords, and tubes. I admire the commitment they have to their little ones, for the way they stand up and stand proud for them. I am speechless for the amount of patience they have and endless love that they give wanting nothing more than time and an ounce of hope in return.
The NICU can be a trying and tiring place to work, but even more, it’s an intensely scary and doubtful place start parenthood; often drenched in fear and uncertainty. It’s sometimes so hard to look beyond the wires and tubes to capture the moments of this journey that are special. But if you look, I mean really look, you will see that faith and love can conquer fear, that courage can rise from the tiniest of places, and that peace can exist even in the most chaotic of days. If you look into the eyes of these small souls you will see that sparkle called hope shining back at you, and you will know that despite all circumstances, despite all odds and statistics, that miracles can, and do happen.