A Thank You Note to Our CICU Nurse

Nurses are an integral part of CHD care, and we are so thankful for them! During National Nurses Appreciation Week, in conjunction with our Mothers Blog series, we share a letter from a mother to her child’s nurse.

To the nurse who taught me how to be a new kind of mother,

We raced through the CICU doors, but I stopped short as we entered the room I was told contained Nicholas. It was just an hour earlier when I kissed my son goodbye, as he was placed in an isolette for helicopter transport to another hospital. To save his life. Just two days earlier, I had been snuggling, nursing, talking to my seemingly healthy newborn. This is how I knew motherhood to be. And in the blink of an eye a heart defect was discovered, and he was suddenly critically ill.

Walking into an unfamiliar room a hundred miles from home, I didn’t see my baby. What I saw was a myriad of tubes running from foreign machines to a motionless body, suspended on a platform, highlighted by an overhead warming lamp. I didn’t hear my baby. Instead, I heard a cacophony of pumps and beeps contributing to the artificial environment.

Nick Hospital

When I saw nothing but a surreal science experiment, you saw my son. You saw hope and potential. So, you loved him, talked to him, sang to him. And then you taught me to do the same. You taught me how to talk to him as if he could hear me. You taught me how to caress his forehead and hold his hand. You shared your hope with me, and taught me to do the same. You were the mother he needed at that moment, the mother I never imagined I would have to be, and you taught me how to be this new kind of mother, too.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Happy Nurses Day and Happy Mother’s Day. On that day, you were both.


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Amy is mother to Nicholas whose critical coarctation of the aorta was discovered through early CCHD screening research in 2005. The strength and support of the CICU team helped lay the foundation for a career in CHD patient advocacy. You can read more about Amy here.

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