I didn’t even know what a neonatal nurse was until my wife gave birth to our third child, a baby boy, who was born eight weeks early and weighed in at only 2lbs 6 oz.
He was 2.5 lbs.! He weight all that. If you want an idea of just how tiny that is, pick up two boxes of butter and hold them in the palm of your hand. He hardly weighed anything. In fact, my son weighed just as much as the average squirrel weighed!
You wouldn’t believe how devastated my wife was. Even though the doctors assured her that there was nothing she could have done to prevent Jackson from being born so early, she was convinced that if she’d just done certain things differently, she could have kept it from happening. Here’s where Matthew makes his entrance.
Matthew was on duty the day my son Jackson was burn. I have to admit I was very surprised to find that infants were being cared for by a male nurse. However, Matthew is an awesome neonatal nurse!
Not only did he take care of everything our son needed; putting him in an incubator and arranging for intravenous feedings and all of the necessary treatments for keeping a newborn that small alive, he was also invaluable to our family!
Matthew was right there by my wife’s side once she had recovered from the emergency cesarean. He explained to both of us what had happened, what the doctor had done for Jackson, and what we could expect to happen over the next few weeks as our baby recovered and began to put on weight.
The one thing I’m glad about is that Matthew never once mentioned that our son might not recover. If he had done that, my wife would have continued beating herself up for something that was completely out of her control. In fact, when Matthew talked to her and discovered how much she blamed herself for what had happened, he arranged for the hospital counselor to come in and talk to her and help her to deal with it.
A few days after delivering, my wife was discharged, but she kept coming back to the hospital every day. Both of us practically lived at the hospital over the next four weeks as Jackson underwent treatment for jaundice and then for an infection he contracted as well as some respiratory problems.
Through it all Matthew was there, explaining to us what was being done, why the baby had certain tubes in him or was being given certain medications. Matthew helped us into our scrubs so we could hold our son. When Jackson got stronger, Matthew showed us how to feed him. And when the doctor gave Jackson a clean bill of health and said we could take him home with us, Matthew was right there explaining to us what we needed to do to make sure Jackson didn’t get any illnesses or injuries.
Matthew played a huge role in my son’s recovery, as well as helped my wife get through the worst when he made sure she got the counseling she needed. By the time we brought Jackson home, my wife was recovering not just physically, but emotionally as well.
Matthew’s job couldn’t be easy. During those four weeks my wife and I were visiting our son in the hospital, other babies were being treated. Some had jaundice, others had congenital heart defects. Some of the problems were so severe that I felt Jackson’s being overweight wasn’t a big deal at all. And through it all, Matthew was as attentive to the other children and parents as he was to us, which is part of being a neonatal nurse practitioner, and something for which we will both always be grateful!