Santa stopped by our house last night, but we’re resisting the urge to open our presents until my dad arrives in Massachusetts tomorrow. We went to Christmas mass this morning, and we did some holiday cooking at noontime. In place of the traditional present-opening frenzy, this afternoon we visited Peter’s NICU bearing gifts. We left plates of soft gingersnaps, chocolate chip-pecan cookies, coconut macaroons, saltine toffee cookies, and coupons for the online store, It’s A Preemie Thing, for the families in the NICU. We left a tin of cookies, a plate of cranberry nut bread, and a Christmas card with the nurses.
We were able to show off Peter to a number of nurses who knew him. Two of his primary nurses, Paty and Paula, were there, and they were delighted to see how big and smiley he is now. I’m glad we were able to help spread a little holiday cheer in the NICU.
Jolly Old St. NICU
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and in each isolette Little creatures were squirming and getting all set; Machinery sat by their bedsides with care, In hopes that good breathing skills soon would be there.
Day shifters were home all snug in their beds, As visions of overtime danced in their heads; While preemies on ventilators, and some on CPAP, Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap…
When out in the hall there arose such a clatter, The residents woke up to see what was the matter. Away from the sink I flew like a jet To make sure all was well at my baby’s isolette.
Some bilirubin lights with their powerful glow Gave the lustre of mid-day to babies below, When, there before my wondering eyes, it would seem, Was an oversized stroller and a medical team. With a handful of needles with which they could stick you, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nicu.
More rapid than eagles his specialists came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: “Now, Nurses! Now, Residents! Now, Neonatologists! On, Social Workers! On, Respiratory and Occupational Therapists! From the front of the unit! To the end of the hall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
Up to each baby’s cribside they flew, With the stroller full of toys, and St. Nicu too. And then, in a twinkling, they stopped at each bed And tucked in the babies and got them all fed.
As I looked at my baby, and was turning around, Down our aisle St. Nicu came with a bound. He was dressed in red scrubs, and I could instantly tell That his clothes had an obvious hospital smell; A bag of stuffed animals was flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. A little red pen he held tight in his teeth, And a stethoscope encircled his neck like a wreath.
He was chubby and plump, with a few extra pounds, And I laughed when I saw him there doing his rounds. A turn of his clipboard and a twist of his head Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; He spoke few words, but came straight to my side, And running down his face was a tear he had cried.
And laying his hand on the back of my head, He gave me a nod, and slowly he said: “Each night you come here you’re aware of the danger, But your baby is loved by the One in the manger.”
Then the medical team gave a thumbs-up and smiled And St. Nicu placed an animal next to my child. But I heard him exclaim, as they rolled out of sight, “Merry Christmas, tiny baby, and have a wonderful night!”