The Christmas Baby

The Christmas Baby

By Janet Izzo

It was Christmas Eve, and I was scheduled to work the evening shift at the hospital. My husband and three young children were at home celebrating without me. I was heart sick.

I had left them with “special little surprises” and Christmas goodies to eat while they watched one of our many Christmas movies and played games (without their mother). In previous years, I had been able to trade away my Christmas shifts with the younger nurses who were more than happy to work for me if I agreed to work New Year’s for them. This had not been one of those years, however. As hard as I had tried, nothing and no one had come to my rescue.

The large county hospital (where I was employed) was thirty minutes from my home. As I drove through the blowing snow and icy roads that December can bring to my home state, I offered up a little prayer.

“Please let this be a good night. Please let this shift be an easy one that gets over with…fast! And please keep me from losing my life on these roads.” My attitude, which was usually very positive and cheerful, was dismal. I missed my family already.

I arrived (safe and sound) on my OB unit in plenty of time for shift report. “I can do this,” I said to myself. “We’ll all have fun…especially if we get a baby tonight.” I loved “my” labor patients and hoped to be assigned to one on this special evening. If anything could take the place of my own children for a few hours, it would be in helping another family to welcome their new baby on Christmas Eve. My hopes were quickly deflated, however, when I was informed I would be “floating” off of my unit to NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). They were short staffed and needed help.

My worst fear in nursing was to float to an unfamiliar unit. I had been to NICU a few times in the past however, and the nurses there were always wonderful, helpful and grateful for an extra set of hands when they were inundated with sick babies. They usually assigned floating OB nurses to the little “growers” or in other words…babies who were considered stable and needed only minimal cares and frequent feedings. Still, the environment was scary and intimidating to me since it was such a specialty unit and one that I tried to avoid at all costs.

After recovering from the shock that I was actually going to float on Christmas Eve, I headed down the long and lonely corridor toward my new assignment. I rang the bell to the NICU, since I didn’t have access, and was immediately “buzzed” in. I tried to look pleasant. I think I even managed a half-hearted smile and said, “Merry Christmas. I”m your nurse from OB.”

Sensing my disappointment at being there, I was nonetheless warmly welcomed and assigned to three tiny infants in isolettes. I received a detailed report and learned that indeed, all three babies were stable and simply needed basic cares…vital signs, feedings, diapering, monitoring and, of course, documenting. I was then teamed with one of the staff nurses who worked in NICU.

I was beginning to feel comfortable with my assignment. After all, I had worked in the newborn nursery for many years and felt confident taking care of “well babies.” As the hours rolled by, we welcomed families who came to visit their little ones. Siblings made the Christmas Eve trip to the hospital to see their little brother or sister. Grandmas and grandpas came in with parents…some for the first look at their incredibly tiny or sick grandchildren.

As the visitors began to wind down, a young man and woman rang the bell to be admitted. They were identified as the parents of one of “my” babies.  

I assisted them in the protocol of scrubbing their hands (up to their elbows) and placing a “cover gown” over their street clothes.

The couple informed me they were from Mexico and apologized for their poor English. I thought they communicated quite well, however, and told them so. They were delightful, and we immediately began a conversation…discussing the baby and their concerns for her. They also expressed sadness that their families were so far away and they were alone in this country. My heart went out to them. They were so young and had so much on their shoulders.

The father mentioned they had not held their baby yet. “Never?” I questioned. “No…too small,” he answered. I was surprised. Yes, the baby was small, but I had taken her out of the isolette earlier in the evening to feed her. The nurse from the day shift had explained that she could be out of the isolette to be fed as long as she maintained her body temperature.

The little girl, named Gabrielle, was now due for another feeding. I asked the mother if she would like to hold her baby. She nodded shyly, smiling at her husband. I settled her into a rocking chair and gently placed Gabrielle in her mother’s arms for the very first time. The father knelt beside the two and kissed them both. They were silent, almost prayerful as they admired their tiny daughter.  

The mother cradled her baby and rocked back and forth as if she had done it numerous times before, though she hadn’t. It amazed me how natural and confident she seemed. The tender mercies of a mother’s love and a father watching over them made me think of the first Christmas and of the moment those two parents held their new baby…but in a very different time and in a very different place. They, too, were young and alone in a strange country.

I felt the proverbial “lump” in my throat and fought back my tears. It was one of those rare moments nurses are blessed to witness. Sometimes the moments are few and far between, but when they happen, you remember why you are a nurse and somehow, you gain a new resolve, a new testimony for the profession. 

As I viewed that awe-inspiring scene…the moment when loving parents held their tiny baby for the first time, I recalled how I had felt earlier in the evening. It had been a Christmas Eve when I didn’t want to be a nurse, but it was a Christmas Eve I now have tucked away in my heart and will never, ever forget. It is a treasured memory…a Christmas gift.

About the Author

Janet Izzo is a registered nurse in the state of Minnesota and a member of the Minnesota Nurses Association. She is an inspirational speaker and author of “Hotel Hennepin,” which chronicles her experiences working in a large county hospital in the heart of Minneapolis. The stories Janet relates in “Hotel Hennepin” are poignant, sad and hysterically funny, but all are amazingly true! She is passionate about the nursing profession, and she now speaks to nurses and nursing students across the nation on the topic “Nurses Can Make the Difference.”


46 thoughts on “The Christmas Baby

  1. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and enjoy learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain additional information, would you consider updating your blog with more news? This can be very helpful.

  2. You ought to actually think about working on creating this site into a serious authority on this subject. You evidently have the knowledge on the subjects everyone seems to be interested in on this blog anyhow and you might even make some money off of some banners. Just a thought, good luck in whatever you do!

  3. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this subject. If possible, as you acquire expertise, it would be great if you keep updating your blog with more information? This can be very helpful.

  4. Good morning I significantly fancy your blog post. In case you’d want to talk about it,I would personally absolutely adore to have a discussion with you, my name is Miguel. My e mail is over. Appreciate it!

  5. I truly wanted to develop a small word to thank you for those nice strategies you are placing at this website. My incredibly long internet lookup has now been paid with good quality content to share with my partners. I ‘d believe that many of us readers actually are extremely endowed to live in a very good network with very many lovely professionals with beneficial concepts. I feel pretty happy to have used your entire website and look forward to tons of more enjoyable times reading here. Thank you once again for a lot of things.

  6. Great goods from you, man. The Christmas Baby | Jason's Spina Bifida Journey I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely wonderful. I actually like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it smart. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is actually a terrific The Christmas Baby | Jason's Spina Bifida Journey informations.

  7. Wonderful goods from you, man. The Christmas Baby | Jason's Spina Bifida Journey I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely great. I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you’re stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it smart. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is actually a wonderful The Christmas Baby | Jason's Spina Bifida Journey informations.

  8. Thank you for all of your efforts on this web page. My mom delights in engaging in internet research and it’s easy to understand why. We hear all about the dynamic form you render both interesting and useful solutions via this web blog and as well as encourage contribution from website visitors on this topic plus our favorite princess is undoubtedly being taught a great deal. Have fun with the rest of the new year. Your performing a powerful job.

  9. Hey, This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined onto your blog and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks! Thanks.

  10. Wonderful goods from you, man. The Christmas Baby | Jason's Spina Bifida Journey I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just too excellent. I actually like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is actually a tremendous The Christmas Baby | Jason's Spina Bifida Journey informations.

  11. Ive been surfing on-line greater than three hours as of late, however I by no means discovered any interesting article like yours. Its beautiful value adequate for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers produced just right content as you did, the net might be a lot much more beneficial than ever before.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s