Every night before our girls go to sleep, they snuggle up next to a soft pink bear blankie. It's called our Kirby Bear. She's almost four years old and has small rips along her edges. I have to wash her frequently because besides bed time, she is what the girls cling to before being dropped off to school and what they play with as they run through our backyard. Kirby Bear goes with us when we sleep over at Ganny and Gabby's and she is what the girls cry for when they have a boo-boo. Which is quite fitting, since Kirby Bear was given to the girls by one of their NICU nurses, Kirby.
Kirby was one of the girls' primary caregivers during their three month stay in the hospital. We loved her the moment we met her; right after the twins' birth. She was taking care of Adeline one day and we immediately connected over mutual friends. She was friendly, helpful, and took special care of our girls. It was the little things that she did that showed how great she was at being a nurse: she'd apply fresh tape that held the girls' feeding tubes to their mouths or she'd pick out coordinating outfits to dress them in since I couldn't bring in their own clothes.
Kirby was there for us during the good times and bad in the NICU. When the girls both had a staph infection and had to be moved to a "quarantine" room, she helped us see the positive in having a room just to ourselves. She was one of the nurses that shared in our joy of holding the girls for the very first time. After Maralee had her surgery in Birmingham, Kirby showed me how to do K-care with her; a gift that I will always treasure. After our 83 day stay, Kirby was the nurse to discharge us. We cried, happy and sad tears, because by that point she was no longer just our nurse; she was our friend.
Nurses like Kirby are the heart of the NICU. As a mother of preemies, I had to trust that our NICU doctors and nurses were taking care of my children as if they were their own. Our children needed care beyond what we could give them and sharing our children was so much easier when the nurses were loving and kind. A NICU nurse isn't just a nurse; she's a second mom to those babies in many ways.
Our girls will be four at the end of this month. Kirby has come to every single birthday party that they've had. She has visited us in our home and was there when they were christened. She even came to the hospital when Ridley was born and gave him a snuggly green frog - his very own Kirby Frog. Kirby is an extension of our family and it warms my heart that somebody loves our girls as much as she does.
Having a preemie and adjusting to life in the NICU is scary and overwhelming. It makes me so appreciative to have Ridley as a healthy preemie; a baby that could come home right away. I would never wish for a child to be born premature but I do cherish those three months that we had in the NICU because it taught me that I can't do everything myself. Kirby and the other nurses had a major role to play in our girls' health and I had to let them to do their jobs.
Being the ambassador family for the March of Dimes is a small way for us to say thank you to nurses like Kirby and bring awareness to our community about life in the NICU. If you have a healthy baby, please believe me when I say that you should be so grateful. But, I'd also like to urge you to support this cause that means so much to families who didn't have a child born healthy. Children are one of the greatest gifts from the Lord and anything that we can do to help babies born early grow into healthy children is the biggest blessing a parent of a preemie could ask for.
If you live in Dothan and are free tonight, please bring your kids to our fundraiser at Big Fun from 6-8. It's only $8 per child and will help us raise funds for the March of Dimes. If you can't come but would still like to make a donation, just follow this link to our team page.
Thank you for helping us grow healthier babies in the Wiregrass!
Till next time, let your light shine!