Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Where are they now?

I was watching an online training about CPR earlier and it brought me back to the CPR for parents course I took right before Henry was discharged from the NICU. There was another mom there that I recognized. We had been on the same pumping schedule, so I saw her often. And we were in the same oxygen training.

I have no idea what her name was. I never asked.

But as I watched this video and was transported back to the class where her baby's oxygen monitor kept beeping, I wondered how she is doing, how her baby is doing, if he came off oxygen, if he's okay.

Where is she now, this woman nameless to me? And what about these others we shared experience with:
The couple with the name that sound like ours (Be, not Ba, we'd have to say at the NICU desk), the ones who were only at the same hospital as us because their insurance wouldn't let them be closer to home.

And Dawn, who had to leave to get buttons removed from her c-section incision (I had never heard of such a thing). Her baby was in the first room on the left in the CICU. Her mother happened to eat the only kind of cereal I eat. She offered me some one day and then put her name and mine on the box that she left in the communal kitchen.

And the woman whose daughter had a brain tumor removed. She had a strong Boston accent and always looked dressed up.

And our string of roommates: Jonathan, Xavier, Mariana, . . . .

Or the woman who was trying to do online classes, whose dad was the same age as Brian, who always, always talked to me.

I wonder where they are now, how they are doing, how their babies are. I wonder how many have left that behind as a bad beginning, how many have the hospital as a regular part of their lives, how many are on the path I'm on. I'm curious about these people who were part of my daily life, part of something scary and hard, who I know so little about really, but who I don't forget.


  1. I think about these people I met in the hospital too. I had the phone numbers of a couple of them but I could never bring myself to call them and let them know what happened to my little girl. I let them have their happy ending.

    It's funny who you remember.


  2. Sophie,
    I have been in touch with only a few people. One I emailed to tell her because she had always checked in on Henry and we had exchanged email addresses right before she got discharged. One is a dear friend. One, whose 18-year old son had a heart transplant I get mass emails from but rarely write too. And one lost her daughter right before Henry. Oh, and the woman from the NICU step-down unit, who I ran into at the grocery store over a year after Henry died, who didn't know he had died. I stood there looking at her little girl, looking so healthy, and just blurted it out before she could ask me. So I do know about a few people, but there is a group of people I saw a lot, talked to a lot, but will probably never know how their story went. And it is funny how some of them stick in my head.

  3. So true. I too wonder about the people I met and saw at the hospital. Although I am positive they did get a happy ending. It stings.

  4. I assume some (many) got a happy ending, but I know more than a few who didn't. And there are many whose story is not done yet, for now things are happy, but they are waiting, waiting to see if another surgery is needed, waiting to see if it will work, waiting for the next little thing that might land them in the hospital. I would rather walk in those shoes than my own, but I don't by any stretch think it is easy. And I suspect I'd grumble sometimes if we had ended up on that road instead of this one.

  5. I think I will always remember some of the families that I met during J's four month stay in hospital. I keep in touch with a couple of the parents I met in the NICU. But I think I was wary of talking to too many of the other parents because I didn't want to be the one to tell them that children sometimes die in intensive care. I didn't really believe that they did. I certainly never believed my daughter would.

    And your comment above sums it up beautifully Sara. Over those months, I saw happy endings and sad endings and more than a few of those stories that were just left hanging in the air. Neither completely happy or totally sad either.