NICU part 2. A Dad’s Thank You.

A guest post from my incredibly well spoken husband.

On Friday April 27th at 6:34AM William Hayes Dorsey came barreling into the world after 36 long hours of labor that stressed him far more than any of us knew at the time.

This experience, more than any other in my life, has so pointedly laid bare the misconception that we’re capable of going it alone. Natasha and I had to lean on so many people – friends, family, and strangers to get through the last few weeks. We had a plan, we had an idealistic picture in our heads of how we wanted birth and the first few weeks of our child’s life to go. That all went out the window when we got the results of our non-stress test, which showed William had 20% less amniotic fluid around him than the minimum required level. As the nurses later put it, the placenta was past due on it’s 40 week warranty.

“Good news. I have your induction date… it’s today.” – Dr. Kim aka Superwoman

The labor we wanted – starting on it’s own, progressing naturally… well, that might be for baby #2. Our only goal was to get William out healthy as soon as possible. He arrived 5 days past due after a difficult labor with the cord around his neck. Who knows if any/all of that contributed to his shockingly low blood sugar and a week-long stay in the NICU, but that’s how things go. You think you’re in control and you’re really just along for the ride.

To be sure, we were so much more fortunate than other families in the NICU with babies much more sick than Will. I think about those families every day and hope with everything I have that they get to go home soon with happy, healthy babies. Until then, I hope they keep fighting. Through the ups and downs, I hope they know that there are people out there – strangers, passersby – thinking of them and wishing them strength and love through this terrible ordeal.

What follows is a set of thank you’s that are inherently inadequate in return for the amount of love, kindness, and support we’ve been shown by friends, family, professionals, and strangers throughout this process.

To Doctor Kim:

You made us so comfortable from the first time we met you. You exude confidence in every interaction and give your patients the confidence that you have everything under control, have thought through all the potential scenarios, and are supporting their goals as far as the medicine will allow. We could not be more grateful that you were our OB and that you were there for the full labor and delivery experience. It was not an easy one, with decelerations and multiple layers of treatment, but when everyone else got worked up, you were the calming force in the room, you were there to guide the way. You made us laugh, you made us feel safe. You were honest with us, you were supportive. At so many different points, it felt like things were getting away from us and there you were to get things back on track. What could have been a very bad experience was a great one – all because of you. Thank you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

To the well baby nurse who unwrapped Will and offered to change his diaper:

Thank you so much for being thorough and watchful in the execution of your job. You noticed his jittery little legs and ran a quick test that caught his incredibly low blood sugar. Without you, Will may never have received the care he needed.

“We know we’re no one’s first choice…” – Badass NICU nurse #792

To the NICU nurses:

What an exceptional group of human beings you are. You see people – parents and children – at their most fragile point in life. No one wants to be in the NICU, but I’ll be damned if there is a better group of people than NICU nurses. You all are brave, smart, compassionate, funny, and so much more. You carry families on your back through their darkest days. You care for the most innocent and fragile of lives like they are your own children. You care for new parents – parents who never thought of anything except a happy, healthy baby. You celebrate progress, you support set backs. You are optimistic, you are realistic. To say we couldn’t have done it without you is obvious, but it must be said. You might not be anyone’s first choice, but we wouldn’t want anyone else to help us through those late night feedings, the low readings, the critical labs, the slow progress, and eventually, finally, leaving. I’m sure there are terribly hard days, days I can’t stand to imagine, but you are the best of what we can be as humans. You show up shift after shift stronger than anyone knows. Thank you so much for everything you do.

To Molly:

Nothing we write here, say, or do, will ever repay what you have given our family or fully express the gratitude we feel for your love, compassion, and friendship to Natasha, myself, and William. I can’t start to catalog everything you’ve done for us, so hopefully it will suffice to say – thank you for the crackers 😉 We love you and look forward to every chance we get to see you.

To our parents:

Both sets of parents came to our rescue over and over again. To my parents – thank you for waiting tirelessly in waiting rooms during labor, delivery, and the NICU stay, for running out to get food repeatedly, for propping me up so I could be there for Natasha, and for coming back to lend a helping hand. To Nastasha’s parents – thank you so much for taking care of our home, for grocery shopping, and for being willing to drop everything and move into our apartment indefinitely while we were there with William.

To Kathryn and Drac:

Thank you for taking Juno in at a moment’s notice and continuing to extend her stay as conditions changed. Knowing she was in good hands meant the world to us and took so much stress out of the picture so we could be 100% present with William. We know she had a blast too.

To all the other friends we called and leaned on:

You brought food, you listed to us cry, you supported us, you offered us words of encouragement. Thank you – we can’t wait to see you soon.

To Natasha:

You are the strongest woman I’ve ever met; poised and graceful, able to weather any storm. You’re my light and my best friend. Our William is so lucky to have you as his mom, as I am to have you as my wife. Motherhood looks so natural on you. You are comfortable and confident, all the more the woman I fell in love with those year ago.

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