To Whom it May Concern: I believe this parenting journey has been one of the most rewarding and challenging jobs I’ve ever had. Forget my degree and traditional work experience. Allow me to tell you about the skill set and experiences gained by having a baby in a NICU. Seriously. This should be all the resume I’ll ever need again.
I’ve been actively employed for two years which began with an emergency C-section and delivering my child three months early in order to save both our lives. Two hours after life-saving surgery I woke up to begin pumping milk and continued for as long as I could every 3 hours around the clock to nourish my baby.
Every treatment was sought to increase low milk supply including a commitment to good lifestyle choices (nutrition/hydration), consuming fenugreek and other foods that help lactation as well as taking medication.
Even after all the advice was taken, medication administered and consultants sought-out, it was rare to fill a bottle. Thank GOODNESS for the donated breast milk!!!
I was given daily medical updates and was in charge of furthering my education on several medical terms including but not limited to: “necrotizing enterocolitis”, “de-stating”, “honeymoon phase”, “C-PAP”, “retinopathy of prematurity”, “respiratory distress syndrome”, “cerebral white matter injury” and more.
I had to have the mental fortitude to wait out the first few hours, and days, and weeks to see if she’d survive without losing my mind.
I had to stand by during two illnesses and be brave about the fact that I couldn’t cradle her beyond once a day for kangaroo care or touch her beyond just a light pressing on her head because her skin was so sensitive.
I cheer-leaded every nurse, doctor and family member to keep the environment and morale positive.
I showed up daily to perform “kangaroo care” in order to bond with my baby, but also because research shows that it aids development and health in newborns.
I was responsible for disseminating information to all concerned parties Daily. (Resume talk for I updated the relevant family, friends and acquaintances).
When I couldn’t be at the NICU all day I showed up twice daily to remain informed and to love on my daughter. I was always punctual so that I could be on time for rounds.
As a fully employed mom I was even willing to relocate: I moved into a Ronald Mc Donald House out of town for a month when her NICU temporarily changed – still committed to being by her side. No journey was too great!
I advocated for my baby when the medical professionals were remiss in their duties at the second hospital. I spoke of my concerns in a professional tone, maintaining decorum at all times despite some alarming concerns. Once heard, the problems seemed to be corrected and my daughter’s health and safety assured.
In fact I’ve had many occasions in which staying calm was essential. Although many preemies are prone to de-stating (their heart rates appear to drop as well as their oxygenation levels) I had to also experience witnessing my baby’s heart completely stop. Fortunately my baby’s doctor (Dr. Tyree) saved her life yet again. It was a terrifying minute or two, and I’m not sure how I managed to start my own heart again, but I stayed calm as they did the emergency intervention.
I documented all progress with accuracy for posterity. (Resume talk for I took hella number of photos).
I have since taken her, (always punctually) to at least 40 appointments and filled out countless paperwork.
Our appointments calendar.
I have seen her through two surgeries and all follow-up appointments.
Just after her laser eye surgery. She was about 4 onths old here.
At about 6 months old she had to have umbilical hernia surgery.
I have followed all our doctor’s treatment instructions precisely. Doctors including her regular pediatrician, optometrist, surgeon, gastrointestinologist and endocrinologist. In so doing we were able to correct her vision and as of december she no longer needs glasses!
I have comforted her during every CT scan, Xray and blood work appointment.
I have kept daily records of every amount of milk pumped and every millimeter of it consumed around the clock.
I have kept records of at least four different medicines to be administered in various doses and forms, often more than once, around the clock precisely as well.
I have taken instruction on my baby’s stress dosages in case illnesses occur.
I have administered blood tests 5-6 times a day around the clock and kept records of her numbers.
I have dutifully made sure she wore her gasses all day despite her wanting to take them off and eat the lenses.
She liked to pop out these lenses and “eat” them. I had to worry about choking, about her teeth scratching up the surface, and about finding them if she spit them out somewhere before I caught her.
…But oh did they ever give her character! <3
I have taken her many times to be assessed by developmental specialists, and terminated our relationship with one of them when she caused terror-vomit and had questionable professionalism, which shows I’m able to assess and act with efficiency in the best interest of my daughter.
I have taken her two hours out of town several times per year to see her endocrinologist.
I have prepared her for and entertained her in countless waiting rooms.
I have held her for over 24 hours on the couch because of her acid reflux phase, forcing myself to stay awake until relieved to get 4 hours of sleep myself. A phase that lasted about six weeks.
I have kept track of the REAMS of paper and paperwork regarding my baby’s health care, creating folders and binders with partitions and sheaths. I can file like a boss! Need a blood work order? A list of milestones she should have reached? Her surgeon’s phone number? The summary of her last visit to her last specialist? I knew exactly where to find each sheet of paper. Of which there were many.
I have asked questions. MANY questions. Done research. Conferred and consulted.
On top of all this I have somehow found the time to learn all the ins and outs of being a new mother, recover from my emergency surgery and take care of my home and family.
Trial By Fire
Graduated with Honors
Due to our commitment to following directions, staying organized, keeping calm, remaining positive, and continuing to educate ourselves we now have an extremely healthy two year old who is strong enough to require at least four people to hold her for lab work. She has in fact, been accused of having grown “superpowers” and continues to make strides every day.
And so, prospective employer, if you want these kinds of qualities in your employees I highly suggest hiring a former NICU parent, because they can get the job done!
Thank you for your consideration.