The hospital where my son was taken was in the Boston area.
I was lucky enough to have the same name on my birth certificate.
It was the only way I could get a letter from my son’s pediatrician stating that he was eligible for a NICU.
This was my only chance to see my son at his first hospital.
A few weeks later, the hospital closed.
We went to another hospital in the city.
A month after that, the family relocated to a nursing home.
The only thing that had remained of my son had been a few photos of him at his crib.
I would look at those photos every day, and I’d think to myself, “You know, maybe I should have taken my son to a NICUs instead of to the nursing home.”
In my darkest moments, I would stare at those photographs and wonder if I could have saved my son.
I remember crying, and then I remember going to the hospital, thinking to myself: I could do this.
This is my baby.
This has to be what I do.
I started taking pictures of him, and the photos became an emotional memory.
I felt like I was the one that needed to save my son and that I was trying to save this child.
It became part of my identity, part of the fabric of who I was.
And so, as my son grew older, I started using the photos to remind myself of what I needed to do.
The pictures were the key to his survival, and now that I am a parent, I feel like I have to do everything I can to save him.
We were fortunate enough to live in a state with an open hospital-reentry program that offered NICUs to those who couldn’t get a NICUP (National Institute of Health-sponsored outpatient hospital-based program).
The program is the backbone of the hospital system, and there are thousands of open NICUs nationwide.
But the process of becoming a full-time nurse in the NICU wasn’t easy.
I had to apply for a nursing license and then pay a $1,000 fee for each day of training, and my family was told we wouldn’t get one until I paid another $200 to $500.
The $1.00 fee meant I couldn’t see my children every day for a few months, and it meant I had limited hours to do things like clean the room and prepare the NICUP.
My son and I were in dire straits.
I couldn to do all of that, and if we had to move, my son would have to go.
After a month or two of waiting for my son, I decided to move into a new nursing home, and after three months I was finally allowed to see him.
It’s one of the saddest, most depressing stories I’ve ever read.
The day after I saw him, I went to the NICUs and asked for a room to stay in.
He was there.
He and I stayed there for two weeks.
We saw him every day.
He loved being at the NICUS.
I just wish I had been able to help him and be there for him.
I’m thankful I did, but at the same time, I wish I could say I was a nurse who did the right thing.
But I had no idea that the first time I saw my son in his NICU, he would be the most vulnerable person I had ever seen in my life.
For the next six months, I watched him suffer.
Every day, I wondered: What will happen if I don’t do this?
What will my son do?
I was in denial about his survival.
I didn’t want to believe that he would suffer.
When I would see him, the pictures became a powerful reminder of what needed to be done.
I tried to make him feel better about himself and the NICu program.
Every time he would go into the NICUr, I said, “It was an honor to be a nurse at your NICU.”
He would smile and nod, but he wouldn’t answer.
And every time he went to sleep, I told him I was so sorry I didn