October 13, 2010

A Snapshot of the NICU (part 1)

When A was born, she was placed in the NICU at Children's Hospital due to numerous medical complications present from birth. She was hospitalized for almost 12 weeks. I was there every day---every single morning, and almost every night. I would have been there every afternoon, as well, except that my son, D, was 2 at the time and also needed his mama. Because I was there all the time, I got to know a lot of the babies and parents.

One baby girl was brought in sometime during A's stay. I don't know exactly what her medical diagnosis was, but she had some sort of red hemangioma covering over half her face. She was a beautiful girl, so tiny. Her parents couldn't have been older than 25; my guess is that they were much younger than that. Whatever her diagnosis, it didn't appear to be good. The father told me that the doctors were in fact writing a paper about her, as they had never seen her presentation before.

"But we have hope", he told me. "Her vitals are good. Blood pressure, temperature, heart rate...they all look good".

That was the extent of the conversation I ever had with the parents, and they were soon transferred out of A's room. I never saw them again, and have no idea what became of their daughter. I can only hope and pray that she survived, and in fact is now a thriving four-year-old, much the way my own miracle baby is. But I'll never know.

What struck me about that exchange was how fervently he clung to his daughter's vital signs. It was the only good news he had; doctors were writing a paper about his daughter, and not because it was a good diagnosis! But there was a shred of hope, and that's what he was focusing on. When you are in the NICU, or ICU, or heck, in any bad situation in life, you need to focus on whatever positive, whatever good news you can find. It keeps you sane, it gives you the will to carry on day by day, when all other feedback is negative and it's easy to give up hope.

I hope those young parents are in a better place now, and that their little girl is doing fine---with good vitals and all.


  1. That was a short exchange, and I think you interpreted it correctly. I hope the same.

  2. I can't imagine what it feels like to watch your child in the NICU. I'm so glad that your daughter is doing so well now and that you can look back and think about all you learned in the NICU.

    I hope the other little girl is doing well too!

    I also loved your story about A being a flower girl. What a perfect event to celebrate how far she has come this summer and how much you have to look forward to.


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