Thursday, July 21, 2011

Familiar Place, Familiar Faces ...

I realize this post is two weeks over due. That's half because we've been so slammed busy getting ready for our big move (more on that later) and half because well, I just couldn't put together the words...

Two Thursdays ago we visited our NICU at UNC Children's Hospital. It was the first time we walked through the doors, inside of the germ-protected bubble, since we last walked out nearly 17 months ago.
Casey and I, we knew it would be emotional. Being a Preemie Parent isn't something you just wake-up and get over in a day; or even in a year. We knew that walking through the doors would trigger a lot of painful and equally strong happy memories. Everything from the ding of the elevator bells, the smell of the hospital-grade soap, the click of the heavy, locked door makes when it's buzzed open brought a fresh wave of "I can't believe we're back".

We were both reduced to tears when we spoke to our doctors and nurses. But this time, instead of crying and sobbing and asking God to please heal our daughter; we were crying tears of joy. Tears of thanksgiving that We. Made. It.
Bea wore the diaper on the left, folded down twice to fit...
And it we're where we are today because of those doctors and nurses. You see, to us, NICU Parents, NICU Survivors, Superheros don't look like Batman or Spiderman.

To us, Superheros look more like this:
The girl loves a mustache ...

And like this:

And like this:

These are the faces of the our heroes. Instead of capes, they wear white coats and scrubs and carry stethoscopes. They smell like hand sanitizer and talk in soft, whispery voices. Most importantly, instead of saving you from an evil villain, they save your child from the brink of death.

Don't be fooled by their everyday appearance, though. These people... they have super powers. Sure, it's not X-ray vision or invisibility. Instead, it's quick thinking, nimble hands and a lot of patience.

These are the faces of the people who taught us how to be parents to a baby that was smaller than our shoe. They're the ones who sat and held our hands and said things like, "She's doing great!" on those really tough days when we were ready to give up.

Because of our Superheros, today we not only have a healthy ex-preemie; we have a thriving, beautiful, strong daughter.
 Yea, I'd have to say that our Superheros? They're way cooler than Batman.

Note: The N&O did a great story about the opening of Pod G (which is the reason we went back). You can find that article here. And here, you can see photos taken by a actual photographer, courtesy of UNC Hospitals. There's a nice shot of a super-cute former preemie around Photo Number 10. 


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