The Steady Pulse of the NICU


NICU Nurses:

  • You are many

Flyers, Travelers, Homebodies

  • Eying tiny callers

Focused, ready, tenacious

  • Fierce protectors, tender touchers

Faith-filled, hopeful, life affirming

  • Hellos and goodbyes

You run a tight ship


  • Accidental tourist

Eying tiny progeny

  • Fragile, confused, lost

Naked, barely breathing

  • My heart, my child, your hands

Sorry. No hello, goodbye … just a foot and then a foot

  • I learned to run a tight ship           –Anonymous

My breath catches a bit as I watch the NICU nurses caring for their tiny patients knowing we too were held so tenderly….

Cherished, Beloved Miracle Workers of the NICU! Thank you NICU Nurses for your compassion, love, courage, inspiration, wisdom and professional presence within the NICU.


NICU Nurses, the Heartbeat, steady pulse of the NICU, provided us with critical care as they protected, treated, nourished, cuddled and loved us. A hearty, courageous and light-filled lot, they know all too well that the ride, the wave, is forever unique. We may never reconnect directly with our NICU caretakers. However, we are miraculous and we have the power to “pay it forward”!  

Have you ever wondered about the environment you lived in as a Neonate and the technology that kept you alive?


The first modern infant incubators in Europe were created in the mid to late 1800’s. Dr. Martin Couney, a pioneer of Neonatology, operated exhibits of premature infants in different parts of the world in the late 1800’s into the following century. In an effort to fund patient care and progress his research Dr. Couney charged the curious Coney Inland New York Public 25 cents per participant to view the infants/incubators. Please note the Baby Incubator Exhibit at the  1909 Seattle World’s Fair pictured below:


A newer transportable incubator has been invented by a group of students engaged in a class project at Stanford University. Embrace was founded at Stanford University’s Institute of Design in 2007-08. The Embrace Warmer costs a fraction ( 1% ) of the cost of a standard incubator. Best of all, the incubator is effective, safe, simple, portable, hygienic, reusable, and creates the opportunity for kangaroo time with loved ones. It is used widely in India, and also used in Asia, Africa and Latin America. A video is better than a thousand words, right? Check this out!

Neonatal Womb Warriors! The process leading to the development of the Embrace Warmer is so inspiring! This video documents the Power we all have to create change and solutions through group consciousness and collective creativity.

Sending a shout out to the past and future NICU innovators (are you one?) Gift idea, friends! Spread the Warmth with Embrace!;jsessionid=00000000.app362b?df_id=1601&1601.donation=form1&NONCE_TOKEN=7BBBDE31EEA42BB9AB0140AF026D208E

Excellent Bruddahs!


Questions; lots of them…..


Research related to the long term effects of preterm birth is itself in the early stages of development. I have often heard that preemies have a higher incidence of conditions such as dyslexia and other learning disorders, ADD/ADHD, and autism. I am dyslexic but then so are all of the non-preemie women in my immediate family!

The Center of Disease Control (2016) reports 1 in 9 babies in the USA are born preterm (before 37 weeks gestation). 1% of these preemies are micro-preemies (born 27 weeks gestation or earlier). One quarter of all preterm infants experience severe disability such as cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, autism, blindness, or deafness according to Iris Lesser, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the School-age Unit (SAU) at Einstein’s Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation. Iris Lesser reports that another 1/3 of preterm babies will develop less severe neurodevelopmental and/or neurobehavioral disorders including learning disabilities such as dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, and other conditions that also occur in full term infants.

Current research supports the fact that the development of learning disabilities, autism, and ADD/ADHD, etc. is multifactorial. Many theories exist, and research progresses in numerous directions. From a neurolinguistic perspective one might question whether some people are learning “disabled” or are we, as a society, teaching “disabled”? Even so, there are beneficial aspects of so called learning disabilities such as dyslexia. Many famously intelligent people throughout history such as Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Richard Branson, Winston Churchill, John Kennedy, Pablo Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci, Steven Hawkings, and Steven Spielberg are/were reported to be dyslexic.

Similarly, numerous famous people diagnosed with ADD/ADHD have demonstrated the positive aspects associated with ADHD. Consider the accomplishments of David Blaine, Richard Branson, Ryan Gosling, Adam Levine, and Channing Tatum. An article entitled “Benefits (Yes Benefits!) of Having ADD/ADHD” published by Hallowell New York City states “People with ADD tend to have many creative talents (usually underdeveloped until the diagnosis is made) and a highly original, out-of-the-box way of thinking. As highly intuitive people with a special “feel” for life, they can possess an almost “sixth sense” that lets them see straight to the heart of a matter instead of having to think it through methodically. Since impulsivity is one of the core symptoms of ADD, it stands to reason that people with ADD are more creative than their non-ADD counterparts”.

And lastly, a current Science Daily (03/22/16) article entitled “Noise disrupts the tactile skills of premature babies” presents research related to the effects of noise, light and other stimuli of the NICU environment on the underdeveloped brain of the NICU preemie. If this subject interests you, check this out:

Warriors: Regarding the long term effects of preterm birth, do you, like me, have more questions than answers? The Empty Bowl, the space inviting pure presence: perhaps therein lies the path of knowing…

WORKS CITED: 14 Oct. 2013. Web. <;.

-Benefits Yes Benefits of Having ADD/ADHD.” 2013. Web. <;

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