Preemie Graduation

The other day, as I walked into the break room at work before my shift, one of the other nurses called my name and said, “Hannah, your favorite baby went home this morning!”

My eyes went wide.  She was referring to a special little boy that I have had the honor of caring for over the last several months.  I was on his care team, and was assigned to him more often than not.

And he finally got to go home.

He was discharged earlier that morning, before I came in for my shift.  I didn’t even know he was going home so soon.  There had been several “false starts” where we thought he was going home, but at the last minute he did something silly with his breathing or heart rate that held him back.

But he finally got his act together and got his discharge order / eviction notice / walking papers (whatever you want to call it).

When the charge nurses broke the news to the whole evening shift crew at the start of the shift, we all cheered.

Mixed emotions.  Happy for him and his family.  Sad to not be able to hold him every evening at work.  I first met this little boy when he was a 20-something weeker and weighed less than two pounds (1lb 4oz, I think?)  He weighed 7lb 7oz when he went home.  Didn’t even look like the same baby.  Does he still have issues to overcome?  Yes.  But considering how far he’s come, I have no doubt that he will live a strong and happy life.  God has blessed this child with a family who love him fiercely, and will do whatever it takes to keep him healthy and safe.

As a NICU nurse, it’s hard when a long-time patient finally goes home.  Most of the time you grow so attached to them, and it can feel something like watching your child graduate high school and leave home (at least I imagine it does – I don’t have kids).  Such a feeling of love and pride, seeing those tiny peanuts survive and thrive!

Way to go, kiddo!  We’ll miss you.  Come back and visit soon!

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