national nurses week

This week is National Nurses Week. If you have ever been in a hospital, then you know that the right nurse makes everything seem okay. The nurses in the Mount Sinai PICU are incredible. We were sad to leave them after 8 long weeks, but Matilda was ready to move to the regular pediatric floor. A few days before we moved, I wrote this letter to Ellen in hopes that I could give them the recognition they deserve. We obviously never heard from Ellen, but I thought it would be nice to share this letter anyway.

Dear Ellen,

Over the past eight weeks I have been living through my worst nightmare, yet the kindness that has been given to me has been life-changing and I am forever grateful.

At nine days old, our daughter Matilda became very ill. She went from being in our arms at home, to the local hospital in a small town in New York (where we just moved in July), to Syracuse, to Mt. Sinai Hospital in NYC. She was diagnosed with acute liver failure and needed a transplant. We were alone, away from family (including our two year old Parker who we sent to be with family in Montana). and with nothing but the nagging fear of losing our newborn.

On days when endless tears flowed from my tired eyes, I felt comforted either by a simple hug, words of encouragement, compliments (even when I had not showered for days), or tough love. The days went by quickly and were often filled with laughter but always filled with love. Everyone from the doctors, residents, support staff, social workers and cleaners shared in the role of taking care of us. The nurses however, will always hold a special place in our lives. They provided us with food, crafts, and even outfits for Matilda. They had "fights" over who got to take care of Matilda, placed blankets on me when I fell asleep and encouraged me to get outside even if it was just to grab a coffee. They kept me company.

On November 2nd, Matilda was blessed with a liver transplant. Please help me give back to the people who held my hand and managed to make me smile when everything I cared for was crumbling around me.

Kelly Smith
I have one big regret from our time in NYC. I wish that I would have gotten pictures of all of Matilda's nurses. I have a few, but not enough and not of everyone. I didn't want to impose or make anyone uncomfortable. I was too shy to ask. I REALLY regret it. I am continuing to document and tell this story for Matilda. So that when she is old enough to sit down and take in her story, she will understand. She will know how many people loved her, cared for her, and prayed for her. So that she will be able to truly value her worth and her life.

I have so many pictures of Matilda. As a mother I did not want to miss a moment. I was terrified with every photo that it could be the last. But the story is so much more than just Matilda. It is also about the people who put their every ounce into saving her.

Nurses are beyond amazing. Please find one this week who took care of you or a loved one, and thank them. Let them know that even on the most difficult and heart wrenching days, they are truly appreciated.

Thank you ladies, we will never forget you.

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