Sunday, August 7, 2011

NICU Reunion time

Today is our annual NICU reunion party.  I always look forward to this day.  After spending several months with some families, it always is a bit sad when they go home and you don't get to talk to them any more.  I mean - it's a good thing that they get to go home, but the NICU becomes home for these families.  They usually end of leaving behind families and friends to stay for months with their baby.  We often become the friends and support network that some need.  And then they just leave, and sometimes the friendships continue - but often they just are seasonal friendships.  But the reunion gives us all a chance to see everyone again.
The reunion also gives us a glimpse into how these babies are doing.  I love seeing those that have made huge strides and are doing great in their home environment.  I love seeing how families are coping with the difficulties of having an extremely premature baby.  But there is always a sad story in there too.  A marriage that couldn't handle the turmoil.  A father who found a different family.  A mother who has left all behind for a different life.  A child who has passed away from complications of being extremely premature.  A baby who isn't doing as well as we had hoped.  A family who is beginning to realize what there new "norm" is and that the "norm" is not at all what they had envisioned.
It is a hard thing we do -taking care of preterm babies.  I wish everyone had a happy ending - and many do.  But there are some that just are heart breaking.  And all I can think of "is how could we have better prepared this family?"
But once a year - we get to celebrate that babies make it home.  And we celebrate the big steps and little steps that each of have achieved.  And we reunite with our friends.  And for one day - going to the hospital isn't a bad thing.

And we celebrate that our own NICU babies are doing well!

The Munchkin at birth

The Tank at birth

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