Saturday, February 11, 2012

Around the holidays our preemie group started to get a little glum so I asked everyone to share their happiest NICU memory. Even though it’s a hard place to be we all had good times, too!

We'd been there for a month or so when our bay had emptied out and the nurses were hanging out. I'd never seen them not zooming and it gave us time for lazy conversations about normal things like wedding table place settings and how one was in a band with her almost-DH. Cute! Their pamphlet had said "ask your nurses if you would ever like a hand or footprint and they will be happy to make them for you." I thought, well, it's been a while - I wonder if they'd help me do it?

The next day I brought in my baby books and paper and our primary brought out lots of ink pads and told me it was going to get messy - DS was a riot and covered in ink by the end. He didn't want to lay his hand flat (do they ever??) and so they came out looking like racoon prints! She was like 'I'm sorry they aren't perfect!' I told her they were - she'd given me the best gift of all - laughter. I'd never laughed with him or had a time when I felt so free


Despite all the "downs" we actually had a lot of fun in the NICU. Two of my fondest memories are Easter and Mothers Day.

The twins first Easter, they were able to wear clothes and I got the smallest size I could find, but they were still swimming in their outfits. But the true fun came when EVERY. SINGLE. nurse in the NICU that day set up a "photoshop" for us right their at their bedsides. It was unbelievable. They drapped sheets over the monitors and took off any wires they could. We laughed so hard because DD was less then amused and DS was making all these funny faces. The nurses found a basket to put them in and everything.

My first Mother's day, while very bittersweet, was AMAZING. One nurse has a tradition of making "footprints in seashells" each year for the moms and or dads. I had no clue until later that night when they handed me this little box. Truely amazing... and the NICU was super busy that day yet they still found time to think of us mom's, a moment I'll never forget.


I'll play! I have a couple:

- I distinctly remember the moment when we started talking about "when" our son was coming home, rather than "if." The nurse who told us it was okay to talk about our eventual homecoming was named Trish. I even have pictures of her that day.

- The first time my husband changed my son's diaper, he got Z's hand stuck in it. That was hysterical. And, the first time my husband changed Zach's clothes, it took him about 15 minutes. I was laughing so hard I was crying.

- After we'd been there awhile (sometime after the terror of the first days and before the excitement of the last days), a nurse from one of the other hospitals in the hospital system brought us a hat for Zach. It was crimson and grey - the colors of Ohio State. The joke was that, since we were from Michigan, home of University of Michigan (Ohio State's big rival), our son was "Born to be a Buckeye." This nurse from the other hospital had heard our story and had grabbed the hat to give to "The Michigan Family." It made me so happy that someone was thinking of us like that. I was so touched. Later, my sister got Z an Ohio State onesie that actually said "Born to be a Buckeye," so that completed the outfit.

- The day or so before discharge, one of the night nurses got a camera and got all of the staff together to take a bunch of pictures with Z. They got him all dressed in his Born to be a Buckeye stuff and did pics where the staff was all pretend crying to see him go. She mounted them on paperboard in a scrap booky way. It was so sweet, especially since we never met very many of the night nurses.

Thanks for posting this question! Makes more memories come back... Good ones for a change. ;-)


Hands down, for me it was the first day I walked in and the nurses had dressed the boys in the clothes I left. They looked soooo cute! And all the nurses make a big deal of telling me how cute they were.


When Henry was 3 days old we got to give him his first bath. They took off his CPAP and all his wires. The nurse told me to be quick because she wasn't sure how he'd tolerate it. He fussed at first but then as I sat him up to do his hair he got real quiet and just STARED at me- right in the eye! He was too cute and went cross eyed with all the effort. I knew then that he knew I was his momma and it was fun to see his whole face at once. The added bonus was that he did great off CPAP so they changed him to nasal cannula that night. We did every bath after that first one. They were always a lot of fun!

Here's a pic from that night:


When I got to hold LO for the very first time and the nurses took our first family picture...Only the baby was looking at the camera..we were both looking at him :)


This is a silly one:
Mine was one time when DH was changing DD's diaper. She was a few days old (and in an open crib), but her poop was still pretty dark and gross.

Just as he took it off, she let out an explosive poop that went EVERYWHERE! Luckily, it missed DH, but it splattered on lots of medical equipment and the floor. I was laughing so hard, I could barely tell the nurse outside what had just happened.


We actually had some good times in the NICU - one of our closest friends is a NICU nurse and she was a godsend more times then I can count from the day DD was born until our rooming in "sleepover" - She works nights so she would dress up DD and put her in funny positions and places and take pictures and send them to me - I would be up pumping and get a photo of DD doing something hilarious! it would make my night at 4 am! I loved the first time DH got to hold her - or the time she pooped and it shot across her isolette and hit the plastic!!! they had to give her a whole new isolette! lol She was fiesty from day one and even at 24-26 weeks she was a comedian - she would pull everything and move everything in her isolette - especially the stickers with the day to change stuff - we would come in and find her with a sticker on her bum that said change thursday!


Shortly after birth we were told that C had a congenital brain defect. They told us she would probably never walk, never talk, never do much at all. We were devastated to say the least. We were told that she would need an MRI at term to categorize the severity of the defect. We waited three months to do the MRI. The MRI came back showing her brain was normal - no defects. The day I got the results was not only the best time I had in the NICU but it was also the happiest day of my life!


I had some happy times in NICU...

1) When DH changed DS dirty diaper for the first time. He kept saying are you sure this isn't tatooed on. LOL

2) The first time I was able to hold him. It was so amazing.

3) Also the 1st time he was able to eat

4) Then the day we were able to take him home it was so special and amazing.


I have a couple:

-The day I was able to hold them BOTH at the same time. I was over the moon that day!

-When we walked in one morning to see them both out of their isolettes and in open cribs. What a fun surprise!


1. The first hold.

2. The fact that our primary and secondary nurses got to know us beyond just DH and I being Owen's parents. Our primary had a magazine addiction and would always leave them at his bedside for me to read when she was done.

3. When our primary would work the night shift I come in after lunch and stay until midnight. It was always so quiet after dinner so it would give me time to have an actual conversation with her, whether about Owen or what happened on tv the night before.

4. Towards the end of Owen's stay he was the only baby in his bay so we got our own nurse. I loved coming in in the morning and seeing all of his clothes arranged nicely and the furniture in his room moved all around.

5. From day one Owen LOVES to be held in an upright position while your standing. When he was stable enough the nurses would let us unhook him and go for a walk around the halls of the NICU. The first time he looked out a window was priceless. It was a bright sunny day and he tried to do everything in his power to close his eyes and look away from the bright light.


We always try to stay positive and in the last few weeks we've had many happy times: both boys being moved into big boy cribs, Ryan getting off oxygen, Aiden finally getting extubated. I go on and on. But these few moments really stood out:

1. When the boys were born they were so unstable that I wasn't able to hold them at all. All I remember was saying that I can't wait to hold my babies and hear them cry. One night, when Ryan was just a few weeks old, the nurse was giving him his bath and he began crying. She stopped and let us listen. She even let my husband record his cry on his Iphone. I will cherish that moment forever, and to this day I cherish his cry.

2. Both boys have managed to poop on me an my husband during diaper changes. For some reason, they only pee on me though.

3. I love when the nurses have regular conversations with us, not only about our boys. There is one nurse who is always singing and is cheerful and joking around with the other nurses. Makes me feel like we are in a 'normal' setting.

I'm sure there are more moments that I am forgetting.


Great idea, Urbanflowerpot! (Your story made me laugh because we had a similar experience trying to get DS's prints for a wall hanging.)

We had a happy experience one night after about a month. We had a nurse and respiratory therapist we'd never had before.

My husband and I have a bad habit of randomly quoting our favorite movies and shows, which are often fairly obscure. We were doing a little back and forth quoting, when the baby's nurse jumped in with a quote from the same movie. It turned out we liked a lot of the same obscure stuff, and we spent most of the evening and other times she was our nurse talking about our favorite movies. (It really took our minds off our troubles.)

The RT, had a really uncommon, eastern-european first and last name. But she was planning her wedding for the fall. She was marrying a man with a very common last name, that happens to also be my maiden name. She was telling us how her family had started teasing her that she was going to be too plain-named after the wedding and calling her by a very common first name as well. The first and last name were my grandmother's name. We took it as a sign that my grandma (deceased for more than a decade) was watching out for our son.


One of my absolute favorite days in the NICU was the day Michaela went off her oxygen and DH and I were able to bring her into a parent room for an hour. It was the first time since she was born that just the three of us could hang out -- no nurses, no doctors, just us.

I also loved the first night her primary said we could put her in clothes! It was so unexpected, so I hadn't brought any of her clothes with me, but we got to go through the ISCU stash of outfits and pick out a cute one. Then the nurse took a family photo for us. Will never forget that night!

I also laughed alot every time Michaela would poop or spit-up on me or DH. It was such a "normal" baby thing during such a stressful time when nothing in life seemed normal anymore.


Our happiest NICU day was the day we were all reunited as a family... July 1, 2011, after 11 days of being apart, the twins were erunited in side-by-side isolettes, in the same NICU room.

After birth, both were in the NICU, but on two different sides of the walls (each room has 4 "walls" with babies on both sides...) Will was on wall 1, and Erin was on wall 4, making us split up to see them. 5 days later, Erin was moved to the intermediary care unit, but Will had to stay in the NICU as he still had a PICC line in. When they removed the PICC line, 5 days later, we were all reunited! Our primary even reserved two window spots so that the twins were side-by-side, and we had a private window space just for them.

Best NICU day ever!


Ours were kind of spread out.

While I was bummed that I missed Santa, we had an awesome surprise waiting for us before Christmas: Santa visited the NICU, J got an adorable stuffed bear wearing a shirt that said "You are Loved," and she had her first picture with Santa! I was so happy that she was off humidity by that point, because they were able to pop her top and drop the sides of the isolette to get a good picture.

One of the nurses is a hobby photographer, and she always takes pictures of the babies for the holidays. She'll bring in props and will make a scrapbook page to display on the supply cart/white board by each baby's bed. I was always excited to see J's new page as a holiday approached!


I'll play!

Best night ever was when we started quoting Princess Bride at like 10pm with me, hubby, and two of the nurses. I was laughing so hard I was crying. Then I realized the pump reminded me of The Machine from the movie, and started laughing again. It was great to just joke around and form those friendships.


I'll play: 1. The day we were told LO didn't need a shunt. 2. After a month of being intubated, we hear the tiniest little cry. Baby didn't cry at birth, so DH and I cried as if she had just been born. 3. Baby was born with eyes fused shut, after about a week she opened them. I swear she looked straight into my heart, they were so piercing and huge!!!


A few stand out to me as I read over everyone else's replies:

1. Soon after he moved to CPAP (he was on the ventilator for just over the first month) I got to spend a morning helping give him a bath. I had done baths a few times before that, but I was always so tense, and since he was vented it was a very quick wipe down. This time, we took our time (it was still just a sponge bath), took pictures, and laughed at his funny expressions. The nurse took off his CPAP to change it out, and it was the first time I got pictures of his entire face.

2. The day he moved to the nasal cannual. He was just over 2 months old, and eariler in the day had a completely scary desat when he needed to be bagged and his oxygenization went down to single digits. It sucked. (I was there). Got a call a few hours later from the nurse who said they switched him to the cannula. What the what?!?!? They suspected (correctly) that he was just fighting the CPAP and that he was clamping down and stoping breathing. Stubborn little guy. Well, a few hours later when we went back in it was like there was a party in the NICU. All the nurses were thrilled to take him out of the isolette and pose with him. And one of them took pictures of the whole transistion from CPAP to cannula which I will always treasure.

3. Probably a no-brainer, but the day we brought him home...the nurse let us disconnect his wires and it was the first time (besides a few baths) that we held him wire free. Knowing we were leaving what had become our second home for the past 4.5 months was a mixture of pure happiness and sadness to leave all the nurses and doctors and staff that we grew to love over those months.


We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary in the hospital. We MADE ourselves go out to dinner and when we got back the nurse had set up a little table she set up with a cake (she stole part of a sheet cake from somewhere, LOL). There was also a card "from Gabe" in there too that she made. It was really touching.



Precious and priceless so lovable too, the world’s sweetest littlest miracle is, a baby like you.

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