Today is International Nurses Day. #IND2017
A day that I simply cannot let pass me by without saying a massive, heartfelt thank you to the NICU nurses who helped care for our twin girls when they were born six weeks early.
Following on from my post about Pampers Preemie Protection nappies, I wanted to take a moment to thank the nurses that helped our daughters, as well as my husband and I during the difficult time that our girls spent on the neonatal unit.
NICU nurses are truly amazing. Not only do they witness just how delicate life can be, they also witness how things don’t always have a happy ending. Whilst holding back their emotions, they provide a shoulder to cry on for parents, a hand to hold and a voice to talk to.
They provide unconditional care in neonatal units around the U.K. As mentioned above, today is International Nurses Day and I’m showing my support by using #aLittleThankYou to thank the nurses and hospitals that worked hard to help our very own little fighters. Pampers will be donating £1 to Bliss, which will go towards the nurses’ programme for every ‘Thank You’ message shared on social media using #aLittleThankYou.
Our Neonatal Story
Knowing that your children are going to be born early is a daunting prospect. Having never been inside a neonatal unit before I didn’t know what to expect.
Having only ever seen babies born at full term before I didn’t know what our babies would look like.
After my planned c-section, my husband carefully carried both of our children over to me one at a time so that I could get a quick glimpse of them and give them a kiss before they were taken to the neonatal unit.
I was still on the operating table and I’ll always remember the moment that one of the nurses held open the side room door so that I could hear my babies cry.
It was so bitter sweet.
I couldn’t see them. I couldn’t hold them, and I couldn’t tell them I was there. That everything would be ok.
Of course, I didn’t know how this was going to turn out. I’d never been in this situation before, but that’s what mums do isn’t it? They say everything will be ok.
After being wheeled into the recovery room, a lovely NICU nurse came to see me.
She helped to show me how to manually express colostrum (first milk) for our twins.
I would never have known how to do this without her. In fact I don’t think I would have done it all, but I’m so thankful for that nurse because that precious colostrum is so important to tiny babies. It was only a few drops, but it was just what our babies needed, packed full of the nutrients they’d need to help them grow strong. Our bodies are amazing like that!
My husband popped in and out to check on me and then he’d return to be by our girls sides. During that time the NICU nurses explained everything to my husband about the treatment our girls were receiving.
The NICU nurses took such good care of them, and treated them as though they were their own. They were gentle when changing their nappies, and also when administering medicine, but even more so when they needed to take blood from their tiny feet so that they could run some tests.
After a short while, a male NICU nurse brought me a photograph of our beautiful girls.
I balled my eyes out. It meant so much to me to be able to see them properly.
When my husband had brought them over to me on the operating table I couldn’t really see them properly because of all of the tears that had filled my eyes.
When I was finally able to go and see our girls, I was shocked by just how small they were. I mean I knew they’d be small, but at 2lb11 and 4lb3, it’s just so hard to imagine.
I studied them both so carefully.
I wanted to remember every detail about them.
Their wrinkly knees, the fine lanugo hair that covered their backs, legs and their ears!
Their tiny finger nails, my goodness I’d never seen fingernails so small before, and their eyes! Oh, their eyes. They were so dark. Like muddy lakes, but so beautiful.
I cried a lot over the next few days, weeks even, but the NICU nurses were amazing and so supportive.
They showed my husband and I how to hold them properly and they even let us hold the tubes that were connected to their NG tubes through their noses so that we could feed them.
I knew that when I wasn’t able to with them, they would be in safe hands with the NICU nurses, and that was so reassuring for both of us.
My husband and I stayed in a parents room alongside the neonatal unit and the nurses would come to get me so that I could try to breastfeed. They’d help me to express more milk, this time with a breast pump, but more importantly they were there for me at all hours.
At 3 in the morning when I couldn’t sleep, I’d get out of bed, wander over to the neonatal unit and sit with our girls. The nurses always came over to say hello and have a chat about our girls and how they were doing, but to also ask about how I was doing. That meant a lot to me.
The nurses also showed my husband and I how to do the girls ‘CARES’. This is what they called changing their nappies, washing them etc.
It’s amazing to think about it now, but the nappies we used at the time came up to the girls armpits!
Parents who have premature babies now can look to Pampers and NICU nurses as they worked together to help create Pampers’ smallest nappy yet.
The contoured fit that helps them grow without mobility challenges, the noiseless tapes help to protect tiny ears from stressful sounds when being changed and the breathable materials designed to protect their extra delicate skin.
Our girls spent 10 days in the hospital they were born in before being transferred back to our local hospital, where they remained for further 17 days.
27 days in total. Just short of a month where our lives were spent living in a hospital. I don’t think we could have done it without the NICU nurses, and it’s not just us who are grateful for those nurses. Pampers are too and that’s because NICU nurses shared their expertise and experience to help them design the Preemie Protection Nappy range to meet all of the specific needs of the tiniest fighters.
Pampers are also working with Bliss, the premature baby charity, to support premature babies, families and also NICU nurses, including neonatal training and education.