This post is part of a ten-post series I’m sharing about the life and loss of our son, Afton. Click here to read more of Afton’s story.
A few days after we returned from the hospital, I received this letter from our NICU nurse, Megan. She was Afton’s primary nurse for the short time he got to be in little NICU room #44. We are forever grateful for this letter and even more so for the way she cared for our son.
I met your Dad first. He is full of kindness and was incredibly steady, he is your biggest cheerleader. His gratefulness for those caring for you was one of a kind.
I met your mom soon after when she came down to pump at your bedside after an emergency C-section, which is quite a feat. She sat in a wheelchair and pumped milk (impressive), she is incredibly strong, protective and nurturing.
Your oxygen levels were concerning me, so I opened your isolette to give a full assessment, and we met for the first time. As we problem-solved, gave you medications, took X-rays, and made changes to your ventilator, I changed your tiny diaper, I swabbed some breast milk in your mouth and you gave the sweetest little suck. I whispered, “you are strong, you are brave and you are so loved, now fight sweet boy.” And you did.
When your parents came back to your bedside to receive the hardest news, that your lungs were too premature and our efforts weren’t helping you become more stable, they wept and the pain was visible on their faces. Yet with eagerness, they sat to hold you for the very first time. The minute your body was against your momma’s chest, your oxygen saturations climbed higher than they had all night. You were telling us, this is where you were safest, this is where you wanted to be and you were fighting for these moments.
In all the chaos of giving medications, drawing labs, and many people hovering outside your room, there was a protective bubble of love that held just the three of you.
Your heartbeat faded and we made footprints of your long feet, and handprints of your perfect hands. I loved admiring your button nose. Then your parents bathed you for the first time, it was a moment filled with gentleness and love. They admired everything about you. Your mom put you in a new diaper and swaddled you up. You were kissed, sung to, read to and infinitely loved.
Your life, though brief sweet Afton, changed mine. I will always remember you.
Thank you, Megan. You were just who we needed.
PS. Is he not the cutest lil one pounder? HIS NOSE.