You will not be surprised to learn “ICU Mom” was not always my moniker. And really, since on the day I’m writing this my son is at a rehabilitation hospital and not in the ICU, I might not deserve it any longer.
However, as you will soon learn if you decide to poke around on this site, my husband gave me this dubious nickname as we accompanied our newborn son James on a terrifying and life-altering journey through his first months of life that included 126 days in the pediatric ICU at two different hospitals.
Before this ordeal, I was a not-very-mild-mannered attorney, wife to ICU Dad, and mom to James’ healthy and wonderful big brother Max. I loved to read any and all fiction I could get my hands on, to travel all over the world, to drink red wine, to have a picnic with my husband and my son on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. I’m still a mom, wife and lawyer. I think I still love most of those things. But I’m different now…I’m an ICU mom.
Note: I would like to take a moment to recognize the woman who we originally referred to as “ICU Mom.” You know who you are, PICU 908. You did not speak a word of English, you wore the craziest and tightest Juicy Couture sweatpants that I have ever seen in my life, and you walked around the PICU with only socks on which, no offense, still really grosses me out. You and your 14 year old daughter arrived at Columbia PICU the same day as James transferred in there (PICU 907), and we nodded to each other every goddamn morning as we stumbled awake and down the hall to that festering sinkhole of a parents’ bathroom. We got each other. We gave side eyes to the idiot residents. We yelled at doctors when we needed to, and I respected the shit out of you for yelling and then waiting patiently for the translator to catch up before you yelled some more. We had to share nursing coverage on nights when both our kids were struggling, and we were therefore often pissed at each other too. I want you to know I wept for your daughter when she passed, and for you too. I have thought of you every day since then. If anyone can find their way back from that darkness, I believe it is you. You’re a soldier, PICU 908.