When Gavin was born, we were thrown a major curve ball. We knew he was being delivered early - but not dangerously early. When they sent him to the NICU - and when we saw him for the first time - we were pretty shocked. Gavin ended up spending his first thirty days there. And so did we - practically holding a vigil by his bedside.
I will admit - those days were very difficult for me. I felt so prepared to be a Mom. Yet here I was watching other women care for my first child. It was devastating. I felt like a "part time Mommy" that first month.
Lucky for me - for us - and especially for Gavin - we had the best NICU nurses in the world. I still to this day remain grateful to them.
I've had those first days with Gavin on my mind a lot lately. I thought it would be a good time to pay them a visit with Brian and introduce them to Hope!
This is Cookie and Gavin. Cookie is the head nurse in the NICU and made me feel like I was her own daughter during our time there. I know I had at least one emotional breakdown on her shoulder. She encouraged me and Ed to do and learn as much as we could about caring for Gavin while we were there... and she let us do a lot, which I appreciated so much!
And here's Cookie meeting Hope...
Sharon was one of my favorites. I don't know why I don't have a photo of her with Gavin! I wasn't as good with the pictures back then. Every time I cut my children's nails - especially as babies - I think of Sharon. She taught me the easy way to cut them using cuticle scissors instead of nail clippers. You can get them rounder so there are no sharp edges... and it's easier to get close without worrying that you'll cut them! Gavin's crazy hair in this photo is courtesy of Sharon. Ed and I went to dinner and came back to find she had washed and styled his hair like this. Hilarious!
Here she is meeting Hope.
She noticed what I have all along - that Hope has some strawberry highlights in her hair - just like Gavin did!
I also don't have a photo of Jackie with Gavin! Of all the nurses, I felt like Jackie was the constant in the NICU. I don't think she ever went home! We learned a lot from her back then. She was the first to hold Hope today! Snatched her right out of my arms, she did! And I didn't even blink.
And then there was Kendra. One of the kindest women you'll ever meet. Some people are meant to be nurses... she is one.
This is her over six years later with Hope - even though she looks ten years younger!
These women - and several others that weren't there today - helped me get through those first days more than they probably realize. I left there with a confidence that I could meet any challenge with Gavin head-on. I had no way of knowing just how many challenges we would face - but I credit them with empowering me in many ways.
Some people effortlessly leave an indelible mark in your life. In your heart. Gavin's NICU nurses did just that. We will always consider them to be part of our family.