— Nancy Hussey, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit volunteer
When Dr. Bill Dolan asked me nine years ago if I would be available to hold babies in the NICU, I thought, “That sounds wonderful!” My children and grandchildren live in Southern California, so my NICU babies are my nearby grandchildren — I call myself the NICU grandmother.
I love to hold and rock the babies and feel them calm down and fall asleep in my arms. Their parents can’t always be there — maybe they live far away, or they work and have other children they have to take care of. Nurses sometimes have two or three babies they’re responsible for, and they only have two arms. So I also feel like I help the nurses, especially when there’s a baby who needs more attention from them; I can hold and soothe the ones who are doing better, so they still feel that contact. Of course, the nurses are right there if I need them.
I love to sit very quietly in the rocking chair and help my baby feel warm and happy. Sometimes the nurses call me the Baby Whisperer, because of how quickly they calm down when I rock them. Being a NICU cuddler feels like heaven on Earth!