At 19, I had never heard of the NICU. I didn’t know NICU nurses existed.

Not many people know what you NICU nurses do, what goes on behind those securely locked doors. Not many people know the impact that you, a NICU nurse, and the whole NICU staff can have on a family. A family with a baby in critical condition. Needing intensive care. Your intensive care.

I had no clue that bonds would be made, love would be given, cries would be shared. I had no clue what it would feel like to leave my baby, my heart, in the hands of a stranger. I had no clue what it would feel like to watch and let that stranger take care of my baby while oftentimes I had to sit by and jealously watch from the sidelines.

But I am thankful that you were that stranger. I am thankful of the bond you made, the love you gave, the cries you had over my baby. My baby.

I want to tell you how grateful I am. This is for you, and no matter how hard I try, these words can’t express how much I truly appreciate you.

Thank you for making me feel that my baby was someone special to you.

I love that you would sometimes take pictures of my baby boy, print them, and give them to me.

I love that you would decorate his room and his bed.

I love that you made my sons first haircut into a big milestone instead of just a routine hospital procedure.

Even though I was worried about a sleeping schedule, I love that you gave my son special attention and played with him at night-time if he was wide awake. I know that you rocked him and read magazines to him.

I love that you took our first family picture.

Thank you for your patience.

I love that you were patient with my lack of understanding and my desire to know more.

I love that you were willing to answer my one million questions.

I love that I could call you at 11 p.m., 2 a.m., and 5 a.m. and that you would be there to tell me how my baby was.

I love that you were understanding whenever I was in just a plain, flat-out bad mood. That you were patient even when you knew I might be jealous of the time you got to spend with my baby.

I love that you would interpret all the doctor’s fancy medical words.

Thank you for trying to make me feel like a person, not a patient.

I love that time you invited me to eat lunch with you downstairs in the hospital cafeteria. That almost made me feel like normal.

I love that you talked to me about your family as well as mine.

I love that after seven weeks you jokingly told me “you’re not allowed to come back until you go on a date with your husband.” I felt like I needed approval and permission to miss a visit with my baby. And I love that I could trust you to take care of my baby that time I missed.

Thank you for teaching me.

I love that you taught me, a 19-year-old, how to change my first diaper.

I love that when we did bring him home, I was confident in my skills to be more than a mom because you taught me how to care for him and be his nurse.

I love that you taught me how to do breathing treatments, give medicine, hook up the apnea monitor, check vitals, and breastfeed.

Thank you for making my new weird into my new normal.

I love that you prayed for poop with me.

I love that you appreciated my breastmilk and called it liquid gold.

I love that you understood my sheer excitement over getting to brush his gums, take his temperature, and change a poopy diaper.

Thank you for your tears, and your comfort.

I love that you were real with me. That you would cry with me on our big steps back, and rejoice with me on our big steps forward.

I love that you stood with me. With your arms around me. As we watched through the window when my son’s ventilator stopped working and all his numbers headed toward zero. Thank you for holding me and breathing a sigh of relief with me as we watched his numbers climb back up.

I love that you were the nurse behind that window. Calm in the chaos as you called for respiratory to come help you get my son to breathe again.

There are so many things I love about you, but what I love most was the way you loved my baby.


From a NICU mom who will forever remember the smells and sounds, the love, tears, and laughs, and the hearts full of compassion anytime I look at my son.

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”  -Winnie the Pooh

Originally published on the author’s blog

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Ashley Bufe

Ashley Bufe is a Jesus lovin' wife and momma of 4 energetic boys. She blogs at in hopes that she can uplift and inspire other mommas to let them know that they are special and chosen by God to be momma. And that they are doing a great job! Be sure to find her on Facebook and Instagram.  

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading