Unless one goes through the journey themselves, one will never understand the experience of NICU parents. Add an hour and a half drive to see your child and no siblings being allowed in, and it makes it that much harder of a journey.
The girls were born in May. Brooke came home in August, and in October we got the news that there was nothing more they could do for Kendall, so she was transferred to another hospital an hour and a half away from our home. It was flu/RSV season, which meant we couldn’t take Brooke to the hospital with us.
When we got the news she was being transferred, it was a huge transition for us. My husband, Matt, was working third shift at the time, I did not drive, and we had a child that couldn’t come to the hospital with us. We only got to see Kendall on weekends.
There is one person in my life that definitely needs a pat on the back, a million dollars, the biggest hugs you can come up with, anything that he could ever want. My dad has always played a huge role in my life, and I have all the love in the world for him. All the love I have for him as a daughter grew substantially after I had my girls.
Kendall’s struggles were happening at every turn you can imagine, and it was breaking our hearts that we couldn’t be there for every second of every day with her. During this difficult time, my dad would go to the hospital before or after his ten-hour work shift and spend an hour or two with her in the hospital. He would read to her, do tummy time with her, hold her, pray for her, and feed her. He stepped up when he didn’t have to and took over a parental role that we couldn’t fulfill. He did not have to go to the hospital as much as he did, but he wanted to, which makes him the best dad and grandpa out there.
I know not everyone has this option, but at our weakest moment in the girls’ history, wondering every day if our daughter was going to survive or die, it was amazing to have a dad that stepped up and did the things I could not do. I couldn’t have asked for a better role model and hero in my dad.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, step-dads, grandpas, uncles, and father figures out there!