Other Mothers (Dedicated to the NICU Nurses Who Helped Save Our Children’s Lives)

March 27, 2015


On the day my child was born too little, too soon
I was not the only mother present in the room
Somewhere in the background, I did not realize
There stood a group of women, assigned to both our lives

They took my baby swiftly, helped add his Apgar score
Made sure I got to see him, then they rushed him out the door
As I lay there heartbroken, sent to recovery
They watched over my baby, they held my child for me

His new life in the balance, fear made it hard to cope
They kept us optimistic; they gave us cause to hope
They reassured his daddy, although he seems so small
“Our preemie kids are fighters; he needs some time that’s all.”

After what seemed the longest day, I mustered up a smile
Rolled slowly to the NICU, to finally meet my child
They stood beside my baby, told me what to expect
“Remember mom he’s preemie, and not fully grown yet.”

There lay my greatest prayer, amid the ringing sounds
They’d recommended changes, when doctors did their rounds
Tears streaming without slowing, one held my trembling hand
She said “Mom he’ll pull through this, and we’ll do all we can.”

“Here starts the NICU journey, but we’ll be at your side
Yes it’s a rollercoaster, but surely worth the ride
You’ll be a better mother, if you’re open to learn
We’re committed to help you, carry your child to term.”

We shared so many moments; they cheered for all his firsts
Left us alone to hold his hand when things turned for the worst
They pointed out the milestones, when they were hard to see
Encouraged me to help them – left certain care for me

I’d call into the NICU, each hour when away
They’d answer with excitement, “Mommy your boy’s ok.”
Sometimes they would remind me, “Snap out the NICU trance.”
“Go off and have some you time, while you still have the chance.”

They stood up for my baby, when doctors weren’t right
When he began to miss us, they’d sing to him at night
They memorized his little moods, habits, likes, and such
They were his other mothers; they loved him very much

After each of the surgeries, their worry I could see
They wanted my son to survive, to send him home with me
They made sure he was comfortable, helped my baby pull through
Did much more than required, did much more than I knew

They became like our family, new treasured friends of mine
Laughter and sharing stories, helping us pass the time
These women were like angels, to nurture and protect
They helped us to the other side, and we’ll never forget

Received the best of guidance, while sitting in that place
“When he’s home” conversations, reminders to have faith
And when it finally came the time to send us on our own
I knew that I would miss them, for months this was our home

To all the NICU nurses, who take care of our hearts
Who find a life important, no matter how it starts
Never would have imagined, we’d come to know each other
Forever I’m indebted to our NICU Other Mothers


By Kaleena Berryman Dedicated to the loving nurses of St. Joseph’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Paterson, NJ.

“Other Mothers” from the book, Stronger than We Thought: Poetry for the Preemie Mom’s Journey, available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.