Day 94: December 19 – Sam’s LAST NIGHT IN THE NICU!!!!

Ok- so I may be jinxing it… but… this should be Sam’s last night in Alta Bates hospital.  I am a shocked that we are finally here.  All the things we were going to do before Sam came home we have been trying to get done in one day.  Right now, Peter is painting Irene’s soon to be new bedroom a spectacular shade of pink.  The carpet installers will be here on Wednesday, and I have no doubt that Irene will want to move all of her stuff the moment they leave.

Knowing that tomorrow is my last day as  NICU mom, I want to take a little time to thank the wonderful people who have saved Sam’s life, and who have helped me along the way.  I figure, the more tears I shed now, the less I will shed tomorrow (HA!).

Dr. Amar Sandhu was with me from the begining.  He was the neonatologist in the delivery room with us, and he has been Sam’s primary doctor from day 1.  Dr. Sandhu is an amazing man.  He has such a calming effect on me and Peter.  He has shown great compassion and patience and has really been there for us and for Sam every single day.  I can not thank Dr. Sandhu enough.  I will always be indebted to him.  I look forward to seeing him over the years as I bring Sam around to show him off.

Theresa Procter is the Nurse Practitioner assigned to Sam.  Every day (except weekends and the couple of weeks she had the audacity to be at  Childrens Hospial) Theresa has been there for me, answering my questions, showing me test results, holding my hand and generally filling me with confidence that Sam was going to be alright.  Her guidance was invaluable.  I am so lucky to have had Theresa by my side for 94 days.  I always felt good knowing Sam was safe under her watchful eye.  I am looking forward to knowing Theresa for many years to come- because there is no way she can get rid of me!

Laura Rutherford is my rock.  She has spent more time watching my little man than any other person, and I am going to miss her so damn much.  Laura is first a fantastic nurse.  She tells it like it is, and that is something I really respect.  She has seen Sam – and me – through the worst and helped us to the other side.  I will never be able to find the words to thank Laura for everything.  Just thinking of all I want to tell her gets me bawling.  I am honored to have had her be Sam’s primary nurse and look forward to many many visits with her. I could go on and on about Laura… but I will leave it at this.

Gay was Sam’s primary nurse on weekends and I am so grateful for her.  She had such a calm way about her, it just made me feel safe and secure.  I was lucky enough to get to say goodbye to her today, and I am so blessed to have gotten to know Gay over these 3 months.  I am going to miss seeing her smile and fantastic holiday shirts/socks.

Pamela H. could talk me off a ledge faster than anyone I have ever met.  She was one of the evening primary nurses that Sam had the pleasure of spending time with.  I have never laughed so hard as I did when Pam was around.  That woman could make me smile and forget my troubles in no time.  Pam is an incredible woman and having her in Sam’s harem is a total blessing.  I know that when I need some sage advice or to be talked out of panic, Pam is my gal.

Rochelle was another of Sam’s evening primary nurses.  I felt a strong connection to Rochelle from the beginning as she was more than just a NICU nurse, she was also a NICU mom.  This gave Rochelle an amazing combination of nursing smarts and mom empathy. She was always calm, always even keeled, and always kind.  I always felt reassured leaving for the day knowing Sam was with Rochelle.  I think it is very fitting that Sam is going home on Rochelle’s birthday- what a way to celebrate!

Joanne rounded the trifecta of Sam’s evening primary nurses.  She was the nurse on duty the day the crash button had to be pushed, and, in way, I am so glad she is the one who was there.  The trust that I have in Joanne was solidified that day.  Not only did she do an amazing job with Sam, she stayed calm, and was even able to reassure me.  Joanne has such a great spirit and kind heart.

Misty is our social worker.  I am SO glad we were assigned to her team.  What a kind, supportive and wonderful person.  Every day, I would be greeted by Misty, and every day, she would just fill me with positive energy.  Even on the bad days, Misty was able to bring just the perfect mixture of concern and optimism to our conversations.  Her patience with our never ending questions is so appreciated.  I am so glad I had the chance to meet Misty’s parents one day so I could tell them what an amazing daughter they have.

Deborah is the on-staff lactation consultant.  As anyone who has read this blog knows, I have more milk than I know what to do with.  In many ways I thank Deborah for that (in a good way!).  I had terrible milk issues with Irene.  I shared these concerns with Deborah who patiently listened to me, and convinced me to let my fear go and let the milk be what it will be.  With her guidance, I perfected my pumping routine and started to produce enough for triplets!  If that was not enough of a gift, Deborah help Sam to latch on the breast at 29 weeks (unheard of) and has helped ensure that he is still latching.  She is just such an amazing woman who is so good at what she does.  My appreciation for her is unending- and each donation I make to the Milk Bank is because of her.

Laura C – Aka Short Laura – would take care of Sam on the days that Laura R was off.  Laura always made me feel confident and secure.  She did an amazing job of empowering me to feel like Sam’s mom despite the machines and incubator barrier.  I am very grateful for the way she watched after my little man, and the advice she imparted to me.

Alison B is not someone most mom’s get to know.  I am very luck to have gotten to know her, and look forward to continued contact through the Alta Bates Parent Council I have joined.  After Sam’s PDA surgery, when I had some health issues, it was Alison who really stepped in and took care of me.  Since that day, she has checked in on me almost daily, and I am so appreciative of her care and concern.  Alison does an amazing job keeping the NICU running- they are lucky to have her.

Blanca just made me giggle.  She is the other nurse practitioner in the NICU and never cared for Sam, but I feel like I got to know her a bit… and what I did get to know, I really liked.  She just has such a great attitude, and really could make me laugh- a lot!

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the people who have been a part of my life and who have had an impact on me.  Monica, Marget, Stacey, Cecilia, Phil, Teches (I know I spelled it wrong.. but oh well), Dr. Stacey Bennett, Nicole, Allison, Sonya, all the other front desk people, all the security guards, the nice lady at the cafeteria, and everyone I had managed to leave off by mistake…. THANK YOU.  You are an amazing bunch of people, and I am so grateful that I had all of you to help see me and Sam through it all.  Whatever ranking Alta Bates has, there is no question in my mind that this is the best NICU in the world – staffed with the most amazing people possible.  All of you should be proud of what you do.

With this, I bid everyone goodnight.   Tomorrow will be a new and exciting day filled with many firsts and a lot of tears.

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