Another 3 am post

I have a very strange feeling now.  Like it’s not really happening to me.  I go to the sites where I have posted the news and I read the outpouring of love and support there and in comments here.  I feel strangely like I’m reading about somebody else.  Like I’m feeling sorry and profoundly sad along with everybody else for the horrible events that have happened to that family.

I feel like my sweet little Lina is still in the hospital. That if I just go over there, I’ll see her precious little face. She’ll open those big eyes and blink at me.  Oh god, this is not possible.

Today we went out.  Sitting at home looking at each other is just too painful. Especially with Annika for whom life is jus going on.  So we went for brunch.  Cracker Barrel.  And then we went to Ikea. Because it was close.  I wandered around like a zombie.  I bought napkins and a box of straws.  How mundane.  Meanwhile, I talked intermittently on my cell phone with the hospital and the funeral home about whether or not the autopsy had been done and was she going to be picked up (the hospital was saying it was done last night while the funeral home claimed they were told it wasn’t going to be done til Monday).  It’s surreal.

Thank god for Mary.  Mary was our primary nurse. She got it all straightened out.  Mary was the only other person I ever heard call her Jelly Bean, too.   It made me smile.  I was always relieved when I came in to find Mary there.  For a long time it seemed like whenever anything good happened, whenever progress was made, it was on Mary’s watch.  I was so afraid to hold her (or even touch her) for such a long time.  One day Mary just sat me down and put her in my arms.  Thank god for Mary.

For what it’s worth, my advice to anyone facing a NICU stay of a month or more (though I hope that doesn’t apply to anyone reading this) is to pay special attention and try to get to know and develop relationships with the nurses.  Especially if you are in a very large NICU like Columbia Presbyterian.  If your NICU has a “primary nurse” system, try to choose one.  When you have a primary nurse s/he will care for your baby whenever s/he is scheduled to work.  It makes a difference, it really does.  I was told by a couple of NICU vets about this when we first landed there.  And Zina, the psychologist, strongly encouraged me to form relationships. I thought “how would I ever choose one nurse? They all seem fine”.  They all took good care of my babies.  They were all pleasant enough, patient enough.  OK, there were some that I could imagine myself being friends with and some I could not. But that didn’t seem like the most important thing.

Mary was on in the days just before Cole died (though not actually the day of).  She watched us process his devastating prognosis. She was just the right amount of supportive but not intrusive.  Informative, but not preachy.  I just felt comfortable.  Somehow she became our primary (I assume Zina had something to do with this). I didn’t think I could ask for her because she was also a charge nurse.  But anyhow.  It makes a difference when someone who really KNOWS your baby is caring for them.  Even when all the nurses are perfectly competent. It makes a difference when the nurse knows your baby’s favorite position.  Or what makes them cry. Or how they behave after they eat.

Of  course, if you are in a smaller unit, like Greenwich Hospital, I don’t imagine it is as important.  When there are so few babies, I think it’s more likely that all the nurses get to know all the babies.  That is just speculation though. I was only at Greenwich for a few short, precious days.


7 Responses to “Another 3 am post”

  1. 1 ChristineC January 13, 2008 at 10:19 am

    Patrice, as you know we are curently going through the whole NICU experience. I really liked what you said about the relationship with the nurses. I too have a favorite nurse for my son. It is really important to fing that one person who knows your baby, probably better than I do a the moment.

    Take care,

  2. 2 TamarainSC January 13, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Hi Patrice,
    I just wanted you to know your in my thoughts and prayers and if there is anything I can do to help make your life easier or make you feel better let me know…(((HUGS)))

  3. 3 amy January 13, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss. You are by far the strongest woman I know. If there is anything I can do to help you or your family through this terrible time, please don’t hestitate to ask.
    Much love,

  4. 4 Amber January 13, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Continued prayers, always. Your hurt is so real, and I feel your pain. I wish I could take it away. somehow.

  5. 5 Mandi-RI January 13, 2008 at 8:15 pm


    I am so terribly sorry for you loss. Please hug Annika and keep her close. (As I am sure you are, you are a wonderful mom!) She will help you through this. You are all in my prayers and forever on my mind. If there is anything I can do please don’t hesitate to ask. I know many of us are offering help and there probably isn’t anything we could really do other than to let you know we are here; we share your sadness and pain. Lina and Cole will be forever etched in the hearts and lives of SO many!

    Deepest sympathies,
    Mandi Yelland
    Baby Steps

  6. 6 Leslie (LEAB) January 13, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    Oh Patrice,

    I have been following along all weekend in such disbelief and sadness – after months of praying for you and your precious babies.

    I continue to pray for you and your family. May you continue to be strong and find some comfort in knowing so many love and care for you and your babies.

    If there is anything I can do, I am in NY about an hour from Greenwich. Even if you just need a hug, I’d be there for you.


  7. 7 Elizabeth January 14, 2008 at 1:00 am

    Patrice, you are so right about the NICU. My son spent over a month in a smaller NICU in Santa MOnica and it took me a while to figure out about the nurses. I clearly remember one nurse who took the time to put my son on his right side (even though he was “scheduled” to be on his left side) because he seemed to be happier there, or at least she thought he liked his right side better. It made me happy to know that she knew somthing about him. It meant she cared about him enough to take the time to make him more comfortable. The NICU is strange and difficult place and a good nurse makes all the difference. I am so glad that you had a wonderful nurse, Mary. I am glad that she bonded with your daughter and you so well and enabled you to have a cherished memory of your daughter. Again, I am so very sorry.


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About Me

I'm a grieving mom. I have one beautiful daughter, Annika, who's 3 years old now (born 12/28/04). I also had twins, Lina and Cole, on 10/04/07, born at just 26 weeks. We lost Cole after just 23 days due to complications related to his prematurity. Fiesty little Lina overcame so much and just when she was getting ready to come home with us, suddenly had a complication unrelated to her prematurity and passed away on January 11, 2008. This blog is about getting through it. More...

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