To NICU nurses

After being in the Community Medical Center's neonatal intensive care unit for about 10 weeks now, we have been getting to know nurses and doctors more and even seeing them out and about in Missoula. I personally have never had an life threatening emergency, nothing like having Cooper 16 week early. I have never needed the help like having a premature baby.

The other night I saw a nurse in a local spot in Missoula, and it dawned on me that no one knew who she was to me. No one knew who she was to unit of early babies and their families. I wanted to make every person aware that she is part of a team that is saving my son's life. That she isn't an every day person to me, that she deserves a thank you from every mother, grandmother and soon to be mothers. That she is part of an amazing hospital that has nurtured, cared and loved for my 16-week early son.

Never would I imagine how much the nursing staff not only does for this little boy but does for us as a family as well. Neonatal intensive care unit nurses are heroes. It takes a strong person to not only work 12-hour shifts with only a 30-minute break but someone to take care of the tiniest bodies.

The dedication it takes to stand at my son's bedside having to bag him to help him breath touches my heart. To watch my son struggle in the first few weeks and how the nurses can keep it together and push through and still make sure I am okay is a blessing. The strength it takes not to shed a tear in what has to be one of the hardest units to work in is amazing.

These men and women are amazing people with genuine spirits. I owe so much to them for saving my son's life every single day for the past 10 weeks and many more weeks to come. Thanks to them and the wonderful doctors my husband and I can celebrate Cooper's life and his journey rather than dread talking about him.

It has to be gratifying to watch these little lives grow, and flourish and see these children months to years later. If you know a nurse and especially a NICU nurse, tell them thank you. Thank them for the lives they have saved, the future lives that will be in their hands and how many families they have touched like ours to allow people like us rejoice for a birth rather than grieve.

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