F was born in January. She was diagnosed with trisomy 18, incompatible with life. We knew that F would be cared for at the NICU after she was born due to her diagnosis. What we didn't know was how much she would be loved and cared for by the staff.
F was placed on a ventilator due to episodes of apnea and had more wires, tubes, and monitors than could be imagined. It was hard to deal with, it was difficult to see our baby going through so much. But what wasn't difficult to see was the compassion and love she received from the nurses and also the huge impact that this small life had on them, as well as us. We will never forget the NICU nurses and all the memories we had with them. They will always be a part of our family and we are forever grateful for them.
Nikole Kessler cared for F through the best times and hardest times. She laughed with us, celebrated with us and even cried with us. She was able to look past all the wires and tubes and only saw F. You could see a connection growing between the two. She not only took care of F as a nurse, she cared for F as if she was her own. She wasn't afraid of F's condition, as a matter of fact, she took it on as a challenge, F would beat the odds and be her "feisty spice". She made sure that F received the best care and all the snuggles she could give.
Nikole walked with us hand in hand through F's entire journey in the NICU. Just 4 days after her birth, we had to make a heartbreaking decision to discontinue the ventilator. We couldn't have our baby live on a vent for the rest of her days. Nikole stayed with us, even off duty, through that difficult time. She took a turn holding her and cried right with us as we thought F's time here on Earth was over. Nikole even handmade a wooden plaque for this day, "Too Beautiful for Earth, F". As the minutes turned to hours and F amazed us all with a desire to live, breathing on her own, Nikole shared in our tears as they turned from heartache to tears of joy and hope.
The following day Nikole checked on F as soon as she came into the NICU, to make sure she made it through the night. She kept us updated through her entire shift and shared in our joy and relief as she continued to report that F's vitals were stable and she was not having any episodes of apnea.
Nikole made sure we didn't miss any special moments. She carried the camera in her pocket and was quick to capture every significant second, the first time we fed our baby through her ng tube, her first outfit, first bath. She filled 2 photo books and ran the printer out paper just so we had every memory of the beginning and what we thought would be the end of F's life.
Nikole continued to be there for F even on her days off of work. She made the trip into the hospital and spent hours with F just to hold her.
Finally, the day came when we were able to take F home and Nikole was there to do her discharge. There wasn't a dry eye in the NICU, especially Nikole's. She even escorted F out of the hospital just so she could soak up every last moment with her.
To this day Nikole continues to be a part of F's life, keeping up with her and all of her firsts and celebrating with us every time F defies the odds. Nikole is more than the NICU nurse who cared for our baby, she is part of our family and we know Nikole will forever be a part of her life as long as F is with us on this journey.