This Twitter Thread 'Hyping' NICU Babies Is What We Need To Start The New Year

Today's reminder that there's good in this world comes from a health care worker who is putting smiles on NICU families' faces.

An image of a newborn baby in an incubator.
Photo: Getty Images.

Most news on Twitter is bad news these days, or so it seems. It's a lot to take in—from COVID-19 stats and opinions to political divisions, Twitter can result in a lot of doomscrolling.

But one health care worker offered a much-needed timeline cleanse over the weekend.

"My new favorite hobby is hyping up my NICU babies to their parents," tweeted Jennifer Sedler, M.D., who works for Stanford Children's Health. "I list their accomplishments for the day, say how proud I am of them, or highlight how strong they were today. It's such a joy to see/hear their parents beam with pride over their tiny fighters."

The tweet has since gone viral, with more than 4.6K retweets, 99K likes, and 1.9K comments. Many were from parents who recalled their time with their children in NICU.

"Our now 30-year-old spent the first [two] months of his life in an RNICU, [and] I would have loved to have a doctor do this! Those babies and their parents are so lucky to have you!" replied podcaster and legal analyst Joyce Vance.

"[Thirteen] years later, I still remember each time the nurses hyped up our tiny preemie: The first time she breathed room air, her first bottle, graduating from her isolette…those words stick with parents," said another user.

"Not to brag, but my son was declared a genius when he learned to silence the alarms on his own. Much respect to the NICU/PICU care teams who patch up babies and prop up exhausted and terrified families," wrote another person, who included a hilariously cute photo of her baby boy playing with the alarms to prove it.

Some former NICU babies, now all grown up, also chimed in with appreciation for health care workers like Sedler.

"I was a preemie in the 70s and spent the first two [plus] months of my life in the NICU. My mom telling me what the medical staff thought of me formed a significant part of my internal narrative as a fighter. I think of them often and am grateful for their contribution to one so small," someone tweeted.

"Former NICU baby here, just turned 30. Couldn't have done it without the amazing doctors and nurses who hyped up me and my brother to our parents," said another.

Parents don't always talk about their time with their child in NICU, as Francesca Page, who delivered her child before the 30 weeks gestation, pointed out in a 2019 essay for Parents. But their experiences are real.

"My story was pretty grueling as my baby was pretty early," Page wrote. "But there are worse stories than mine…There are mothers who gave birth to babies well under 25 weeks and slaved away each day to visit their sick baby in the NICU while having full-time jobs…There are mothers who went through it all, and sadly, never even had the chance to take their baby home."

Thankfully, Page's daughter did make it home.

"As a NICU mother, I look at my little girl and am reminded how tough women can be—right from the very start," she wrote.

And the health care workers caring for NICU babies—and their families—help provide that strength. For her part, Sedler was blown away by the responses to her tweet.

"I'm on shift and can't reply to everyone yet, but wow, these stories of your grown-up NICU babies are bringing happy tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing with me! Saving this thread to remind myself on tough days why this [is] the best job in the world," she tweeted.

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