Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

“You just left him there?” my daughter asked in a voice both curious and innocent, in a way that only a surprised 9-year-old can ask. She continued scrolling through photos of her brother’s birth as we finished celebrating a busy birthday weekend.

“No,” my voice cracking, ” I didn’t just leave him.” I choked out the rest of my reply as tears fell down my cheeks. Soon I couldn’t control my own sobbing. My son, bewildered by what was happening, crawled into my lap for comfort.

Even six years later, the pain of those NICU nights lives just below the surface. Every birthday is a glorious celebration . . . and a reminder.

A reminder that seldom does life go how we imagine. A reminder that trauma can end in beauty. A reminder of pain, fear, and finally hope. A reminder of the longest 18 nights of my life. 

RELATED: This is NICU Life

Eighteen nights of calling the hospital for a bedtime update. Desperately hoping sleep would come if I was reassured one more time. Eighteen overnights listening in the silent dark for my phone to ring. Eighteen mornings of feeling like I had failed him while missing his tiny perfect face.

On this day, your 6th birthday my son, I need you to know that I never “just left you there.”

I left that hospital broken after facing down death myself.

I left with my arms holding well-intentioned baby gifts when I should have been holding you.

I left with the phone number to the nurse’s station on speed dial.

I left with a grieving heart and a forced trust in the third-shift night nurses.

I left with my phone number carefully written in blue marker on your hospital-issued whiteboard.

I left with the smell of burnt hospital food and the sounds of a player-piano filling the hospital lobby and overwhelming my senses.

I left you the stuffed rocking horse, given to you by your 3-year-old sister, sitting high on the shelf keeping watch over your incubator to try and keep you safe.

I left because there is no hospital room for moms to stay once the baby is medically stable but mostly damaged.

RELATED: Dear NICU Parents, I Pray For You

I left knowing I would return 14 hours later in time for morning rounds so I would learn all your doctors already knew about you.

I left you with your name written and double-checked on your birth certificate because I couldn’t leave until everyone else knew your name too.

I left you with my heart, son, and my never-ending love, but no I never “just left you there.”

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Kristine Allmendinger-Goertz

Kristine Allmendinger-Goertz is a SAHM after 15 years in the medical research field. She's married to a pediatric ICU doctor, has two strong-willed fearless children, whom she's crazy about, and still can't figure out what she wants to be when she grows up.

To the Mama Sitting in the NICU: Hold On

In: Baby, Motherhood
One-year-old triplets with their framed newborn pictures, color photo

Imagine for a second . . . you’re 30 weeks pregnant. One minute you’re walking into a routine OB appointment, and the next minute you’re being admitted into the hospital and only hours later wheeled back into an OR filled with at least 20 people. Sure, with a triplet pregnancy we knew from the beginning we would most likely be facing a little bit of NICU time. We spent months preparing ourselves for that reality. But absolutely nothing can ever prepare you for the complexity of emotions wrapped around the ups and downs of NICU life. To the mama who’s...

Keep Reading

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Became A NICU Mom

In: Child Loss, Grief, Kids, Motherhood
5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Became A NICU Mom www.herviewfromhome.com

It only takes one moment. Maybe it’s the sound of an alarm or the smell of hospital soap. All it takes is one moment to trigger a flood of memories, no matter how many years have passed. For 116 days, my family called the neonatal intensive care unit “home.” At 22 weeks gestation, my triplets arrived, their eyes fused shut and their skin transparent. At one pound each, they were fragile and barely alive. Within two months, two of our triplets passed away. As we mourned the unimaginable loss of two children, we found strength and hope in our survivor,...

Keep Reading

In the NICU You Proved You Were Tiny But Mighty

In: Baby, Motherhood
Baby in NICU parents holding hands

I waited seven long months of pregnancy for your arrival but still wasn’t ready for the moment you came early. Suddenly, everything seemed scary and uncertain but one thing was for sure—you surprised me from the start. There was no slowing you down. I longed to finally meet you face-to-face but nothing could prepare me for when they whisked you away before I got the chance. The hours waiting were the longest of my life. Nothing about our new home in the NICU felt normal. There were so many limitations on my time with you, so many unfamiliar medical terms...

Keep Reading