Every member of Nyana’s Army who has soldiered on with us from the beginning knows that I have a love/hate relationship with nurses. For months on end, I stressed about who my nurse would be on any given day, and I took out my frustrations on more nurses than I care to count. By the time our 222 days finally came to an end, I was more than ready to say goodbye to nurses in all capacities. So when the NICU finally discharged us with 48 hours of nursing care per week in our back pocket, I said thanks, but no thanks and didn’t look back. The thought of a nurse in my home just didn’t sit well with me; Don and I are perfectly capable and knowledgeable enough to be able to take care of Nyana and her BPD without a medical professional. We don’t need someone here helping us be parents. She’s not really sick enough that we need so many hours a week. That’s what I kept telling myself.
Boy, was I wrong. Home nursing is pretty great.
I contacted the nursing agency about three weeks ago now; I was still adamant that I didn’t want or need any in-home support, but I thought I best be proactive and get a handful of nurses who know Nyana sooner than later. I know that whether I want it or not, the time is going to come when we need a nurse. We agreed to start slow—just Tuesdays and Thursdays, for four hours each afternoon. Scheduling conflicts meant the first two weeks were Tuesdays only, which was fine by me.
I was so apprehensive about our first home visit. I had no idea what to expect, no idea how I was supposed to behave. I just didn’t know. Was this person here to supervise me and step in when I asked? Was I supposed to sit back and let this person look after my child while I watched? Should I just leave the house for four hours? What if I don’t like her? What if Ny doesn’t like her?
They sent us Julie. She’s a seasoned nurse, a woman with two teenage girls of her own at home, easy to get along with and instantly fond of Nyana. During our first meeting I stayed home for most of the four hour shift, simultaneously filling her in on the details of Nyana’s little life and bragging/accepting praise about our princess. With an hour remaining before her shift was over, I left them alone as I ran out for some groceries. So many times I’d walked out on my babygirl in a nurse’s arms when we were still in the NICU, but to do it at home was just weird. Yet I’ll admit to smiling just a little bit as I enjoyed the freedom of a four block walk without a baby and a stroller and an oxygen tank. It was a nice afternoon with Julie around to hang out with Nyana.
She’s been back here twice now since that first meeting, and Ny isn’t 100% sold on her yet but I am. On her second visit, I said hello to her and got everyone settled, then left them alone as I headed down the hill to the aquatic centre to swim some laps and do a deep-water cardio class. On her third visit, she just hung out with us and took a four hands are better than two approach, joining in on our visit from Neema‘s parents, and letting me putter in my kitchen while she tended to Nyana’s fussiness and fatigue.
I was so resistant to the idea of home nursing because it felt like something frivolous, like something we didn’t need. I’ve managed more a month now of caring for Nyana every day on my own, so why should I suddenly take on help that I was doing just fine without? Turns out that even if was was doing OK on my own, I’m able to be a better mum—and wife, for that matter—if I have an extra pair of hands around here from time to time to help. And I must say, it’s a lot easier to love a nurse when she’s in my home playing by my rules.