Our birth story was less than ideal. I gave birth via emergency C-section after a 2-week hospital bed rest stay to 24-week twins. Both babies weighed less than 1.5 lbs and were intubated for over 6 weeks. The twins spent 3.5 months in the NICU, so I am well acquainted with the NICU staff. That being said, I strongly feel that Alysse deserves to be recognized as an exceptional nurse, an attentive caregiver, and person with great sensitivity to the difficulty of the NICU experience.
Alysse was the primary nurse for the twins on day shift, so we spent a lot of time together when I visited. She did an excellent job of mirroring our emotions during the babies’ stay. She was appropriately somber in the early stages when we were still coping with the grief of giving birth too soon and the terror of watching our tiny babies intubated and hooked up to countless machines. As they got stronger, she celebrated their accomplishments and helped us see that every milestone is special. She was the rare nurse that struck the perfect balance of seriousness while still being upbeat when we needed a boost of positivity. When the twins were struggling with breast milk feeding and reflux, they were switched to a special formula. As a mom whose only job at the time was to provide food, that was hard to handle. It took away my one purpose in caring for the babies and the one thing I could do that the nurses couldn’t. Alysse took the time to sit with me and ask me how I felt about the switch. She talked to me about how I shouldn’t feel guilty but should instead feel proud of providing them with 100 days of breast milk. As I cried, she literally wiped my tears since I had my hands tied up feeding E. I can’t explain how important it was that she took the time to talk with me and be the friend that I needed, even though it was not her job to care for me. I left that day feeling infinitely better than when I had arrived.
Alysse also took ownership of the discharge process even when she knew she wouldn’t be working the days the twins went home. She took the time to make a checklist and walk through everything she possibly could with me ahead of time. I consider this above and beyond because she could just as easily have left it for the nurse who was there for discharge. She cared enough about the twins and me to ensure it went as smoothly as possible even though she wouldn’t be there to do it herself. I appreciate both the organization and initiative that she took in that situation.
Lastly, I truly believe she loved and cared for my children. They were not just patients to her but little humans who deserved cuddles and gentleness and attention. Leaving your babies behind for months at a time is a unique kind of torture, but knowing she was there with them gave me peace of mind. I hope you appreciate and understand the treasure you have with Alysse!