Yes, there are many, MANY things I will NOT miss about the NICU, but I thought I should reflect on those that I will miss while we’re still there 🙂
1. The nurses. If you’ve seen my posts about their sweet notes, cards and hugs, you know why.
2. The camaraderie with other parents. I must say, this has been the most unexpected. You go in thinking that the experience is all about you and your family and then you realize that you just joined a much larger family. One that isn’t nearly as annoying as your Uncle Lou.
3. The compassion. Really, this is from everyone up there – docs, nurses, housekeeping, you name it. They know just when to open their mouth and just when to shut it. If not, that’s why God makes charge nurses to make it all go away 🙂
4. The handwashing stations. Weird, right? I’ve become a horribly neurotic germaphobe and I’m really going to miss being able to clean my hands every five steps. Next time you come to the house don’t be surprised if we make you scrub in.
5. Seeing a baby go home. There is just no greater joy. For them. Tough on those of us still there, but I know we’ll join those ranks soon.
6. The uninterrupted time with Luke. I’m sure when we get home I’ll get my time with him, but it will be sprinkled with, “Anna-Laura stop pulling on Clare’s hair.” “John Paul, stop chasing Anna-Laura.” “Clare, quit putting your germy hands in Luke’s face.” “Will, thank you for listening.”
7. The grunt work. When else can you love on your baby, dress them up all cute and then hand them over to someone else to bathe, change diapers and rock them when they’re out-of-control fussy? I’m thinking I’ll REALLY miss that around 2am.
8. Lunches that I don’t have to fix. No more calling down to the cafeteria with my lunch order. I will soon be the lunch lady.
9. The access to answers. Anytime we have a question or a freak-out moment and need a doctor or nurses’ opinion, it’s just a call button away. Good thing I have that NICU number on my speed dial.
10. The quiet Masses. I don’t ever get to go to Mass, without children and during the week. That has been some pretty precious, and much-needed prayer time, with the Big Man. Really going to miss that solitude.
11. (yes I can count, but I’m adding another one!) The conversations. During the night shift, there is a different mood in the NICU. Little slower, little quieter. We’ve had some really amazing, heartfelt chats with our neonatologists and our nurses during those hours. There’s just something about a dark room, the hum of the monitors and the slower pace that allows people to open up and let you see a different side. We saw them as human beings, not just our caretakers. Absolutely precious time.
Perhaps next week I can share what I won’t miss…I’m thinking that could be a top 100. I’ll post the status update later this evening…this is just bonus Wednesday 🙂