A Father’s Emotional NICU Journey

Juan David - A Father’s Emotional NICU Journey

Written by Parent Support Volunteer Celeste Bared — Greek mythology depicts Mother Earth as giving life and nourishment to our bodies and Father Sky as giving light and air to energize our bodies. The nurturing presence of the mother is undeniably necessary for the growth of a newborn, especially one in the NICU. However, a father’s presence, although often overlooked or second in line, is just as imperative. Father Sky was clearly present in the halls of South Miami Hospital during Mr. Godinez’s journey in the NICU.

Juan David was born on November 2, 2020, to Frances and Juan Godinez. Juan David is the couple’s fourth child. Although Frances and Juan were well experienced in the birthing process, they could never have expected what was to come. After a 911 call and rush to the hospital, Juan David was born at 26 weeks. Mr. Godinez remembers feeling shocked to learn that his baby only weighed one pound, three ounces. After extensive gastrointestinal surgeries, the path to getting home was long and difficult. Mr. Godinez’s presence, however, never wavered.

It was after two weeks when Mr. Godinez finally saw his son breathing on his own that the rollercoaster of emotions finally caught up with him. “Seeing him breathe on his own, my spirits returned. I finally had hope. I couldn’t stop crying,” he said.

These times were very challenging for Mr. Godinez. He felt the need to be the pillar for his family but there were many days that he needed support as well. Mr. Godinez found comfort in the doctors and nursing staff at South Miami Hospital. Their care of his son was beyond what the Godinez family expected. The ICU baby volunteers were always there by his side to guide him when he was nervous or had questions. Mr. Godinez needed the assurances he felt from the hospital to help manage the expectations of the other members of his family. “Juan David’s siblings were very concerned for their little brother. It was very difficult,” Mr. Godinez said.

Mr. Godinez shared that hope and patience helped him overcome the long days at the hospital. It was exactly one hundred and forty days later that Mr. Godinez received word that his son would be going home. Mr. Godinez could finally have his family together. Juan David is now home thriving as a strong, rambunctious 6-month-old. The baby is most happy with his siblings by his side learning to sit up on his own. Juan David has already shown that with the presence of Father Sky by his side, he can and will accomplish just about anything in his life.