The moment my son was born, he was taken from the doctor’s arms and promptly whisked away by the NICU team. It was that very moment that began my unending gratitude for the family we never asked for: our nurses.
First it was the labor and delivery nurse, who stuck around long after labor had ended and my room had been restored to normal. She kept dilly-dallying around as if she was apprehensive to leave me. About 10 minutes later, my body came out of the shock it had been in and I realized that I was totally alone, without my baby, without my support person, without any clue what was going on. When I broke down, she held me. She knew the crash was coming and she was there until my parents arrived to take her place.
Then there were the NICU nurses. The ones who held and knew my son more than I did in the first weeks of his life. The ones who rocked him throughout the night when I couldn’t be there. The ones who helped me fill the time and who held my hand as they took my 11 day old off to surgery.
Next came the PICU nurses, who witnessed our most terrifying moments. They were there when a cold almost took my son’s life. They were there to resuscitate him when he stopped breathing three different times after brain surgery the following year. They were the ones who came in with a smile on their face every morning and pretended they hadn’t heard me crying throughout the night. They were the ones who filled the silence with stories of their lives when I couldn’t stand to just sit and listen to machines anymore.
These days, it’s mostly that neurosciences nurses. The ones that know us like the back of their hand. The ones that excitedly greet us every time we arrive with that hug that perfectly conveys I am so sorry you are here again, but we are so happy to get to love on you both. The ones that have seen the full gamut of emotions that this disease has caused. They have laughed with me, cried with me, prayed with me, screamed with me. They “get” it in a way that most people don’t.
Throughout the last two years, our nurses have become an extension of our family. They don’t just take care of my Asher’s physical needs, they hold both of us up when we need it most. They don’t just pass through our lives, they are an important part of it. They go above and beyond to bring us comfort when it’s needed. They are the family we never asked for, and we are so thankful for them.