Nichole Aldrich | Co-Founder, President
There’s no greater love than the love a mother has for her children. I never understood that expression until I held my first baby in my arms, her tiny fingers wrapped around mine. There’s also no greater fear for a mother than that of harm coming to her children. So when I stopped feeling my second baby kick, at just over 25 weeks, a little alarm went off in my head. As I drove to the hospital, I told myself I was overreacting. I never dreamed of the nightmare that was about to begin.
The next 3 days were a blur. Our son Matthew was delivered by emergency C-section and whisked away before we could see him. Tubes were covering his tiny body and machines were keeping him alive. I kept thinking this couldn’t possibly be happening to my sweet baby. Nevertheless I had hope because I had been through this before with my twin nephews. They were born even earlier, at 24 weeks, and they had survived. Yet despite our prayers, in just 48 hours, I held my little angel for the first and last time.
Matthew is and will forever be in my heart. We had twins a year later but he will always be my first son. When my close friend Beth asked me to found ICU baby with her, it was the answer I didn’t even realize I was looking for. This organization is an opportunity for me to support other families who find themselves in the NICU. Families, like my sister, who will spend long terrifying months in the hospital, yet take their babies home. And families, like mine, who won’t be as fortunate.
For all families, in those first hours and days, everything happens so fast and it feels like you’re in a fog. There’s no time to learn how to be your own best advocate. I waited hours to visit Matthew in the NICU because of a lack of wheelchairs. I still regret not speaking up. I also wish someone would have told me to take more pictures of him in case he didn’t make it and to hold him as long as I wanted when he passed… things that sound natural now but when it’s happening and you’re numb, you’re not thinking. Being in the NICU is a journey none of us expect to take, but one that we, at ICU baby, will help families navigate.