Eir is Rose’s middle name, it is believed to be the name of a Norse Goddess or Valkyrie associated with medical skill. We think Medical Valkyrie/God/dess is a perfect description of the Nurses who took care of Rose during her 5 months in NICU, so in a way, she’s named to honour them.
Most babies only need one person to keep them alive, happy, loved and healthy.
Rose needed an ARMY.
I had to learn to trust that the NICU nurses could look after Rose and to do that I needed to see them actively loving her but it was essential I develop a trusting and open relationship with them. I was so fortunate to do that.
I’ve put together a few pages here for Rose to remember and acknowledge her Eirs and as a thank you to them. Each nurse acted as an advocate for her health and safety, watched over her, wished her well and touched her and spoke to her in a loving and gentle way that showed her she was loved and safe and cared for. They could see where she was going when all I could imagine was the very worst and they gently guided us both to a better place. They encouraged me to talk when I didn’t think I wanted to, let me cry when I needed to and listened to me express my blackest thoughts and feelings without judgement.
Most importantly they each developed an affectionate relationship with Rose, independently of me. Once I could see them caring for and about her in their own right I could trust that they would do their best for her. They did and have and the fact her emotional health is in tact is down to them….. and me. Without them her body may have been well but I doubt her sweet engagement and smile would be what they are today.
There are lots of people, lessons and experiences from this time that I will carry in my heart always, the people have reshaped bits of me and my experience of those people will inform my actions, and have a significant impact on the decisions I make and the goals I strive for in my family’s future. Some are families of babies who survived through NICU and beyond, some are families who were only physically together for such a short and difficult time, the little people who fought for life against all odds and taught me that “fair”, “karma” & “as much as you can handle” are heart-breakingly empty platitudes. We are so grateful for the clever, brave, committed doctors and the nurses who hold the NICU world together.
NICU nurses do such a difficult, essential job. They are compassionate, so clever and gentle, diligent and thoughtful, skilled and experienced. They could have chosen less harrowing, less rewarding careers but thank goodness they to have this one. They are so deeply invested that they often spend their own time organising fundraisers or making little things to ease the hearts of parents who are hurting or babies who are suffering. Over our last 5 months in NICU, I have been privileged to not only be the recipient of, but also the witness to their thoughtfulness, selflessness and an extraordinary compassion that does not seem to have been dulled at all from overuse!
I think one of the most important things I’ve learned about Rose’s very special nurses is that they are in a position to know what is best for their babies. They’re guardians of the NICU bubs. That’s why the very best NICU fundraiser to support is one organised by the nurses.
It’s all very well to save a baby’s life (and that’s a whole other blog, frankly) but a baby so vulnerable needs to be carefully cared for each moment to ensure the best possible outcome for the rest of their life. NICU nurses in partnership with parents and doctors, achieve this. They are on the front line. There are so many risks to a small sick baby that as parents we don’t even know our children are being protected from. But protected they are and safe Rose is because of the difficult and crucial work the team of nurses at RHW NCC does.
Thank you does not come close!!!