The Kind of Grandfather I Hope To Be

Our youngests, twins, were born a tad early and we had to spend 11 days in the NICU. It has been easier to look back as the months go on, but it still an experience that is hard to quantify and express.

I’ve read this before, but it was sent to me again. Fellow Austinite, Jen Fulwiler wrote a wonderful post about her experience with her boy in the NICU that is best summed up as describing the kind of grandfather I hope I’ll be someday.

Walking out of the NICU was hard each time. We were in an amazing situation of being only 15 minutes from home and Seton had extra rooms one floor below that we were able to stay in for the duration of their stay (once V was discharged). Actually, we were closer to them while in the extra room one floor directly below the NICU versus Maternity six floors and a hospital wing over.

It was easier, it seemed, to know that we weren’t far away and didn’t have to deal with “the outside”—other drivers, clerks in stores, and whatnot.

Even though we were feet away, the medical team doesn’t wait to order things, though. Entering their bay with new, unexpected “stuff” after taking an hour away for dinner was outright scary.

The NICU is a roller coaster. You think everything is going great and you’re heading back to the station, then wham! The sudden, surprising turn hits that takes you on one more loop hits like a ton of bricks.

I hope that if—God forbid—any of my grandkids end up need to take up residency in the NICU that I’m like Jen Fulwiler’s dad. I hope that I’ll be simply present for whatever is needed, even if it is pulling all-nighters for a week to give her a bit of comfort that her little one isn’t alone for a quarter of the day.


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