A question that I was asked frequently toward the end of nursing school was, “Where are you going to work?” Some seemed surprised when I responded, “In the NICU at Saint Francis.” First of all, I was a burn survivor and second of all, I promoted Hillcrest Medical Center with my burn survivor story. But there are many stories that make up my life and who I am. One alone does not define me or guide me. Every experience contributes to the person I’ve become and the work I desire to do. As passionate as I am about burn care and the compassion, drive, sensitivity and motivation that burn care nurses provide, my eyes were opened to a whole new world in December of 2003. My first son, Jaron Michael was my biggest baby, born on December 23rd weighing 7 pounds. To our disbelief, Jaron was in respiratory distress and was taken to the NICU at St. John where he was intubated. Forty eight hours later, he was extubated and we were anticipating a quick transition to home. However, we were unaware of the common need for phototherapy and IV caffeine. It was a heart wrenching process.
Despite every intention to avoid another visit to the NICU, that is exactly where Brandon and I found ourselves when our fourth child, our third son Gavin Lee, was born on July 13th 2009. I had a sudden encounter with some very disturbing symptoms. I lost part of my vision, had a bout with expressive aphasia followed by dysphasia, then transitioned into receptive aphasia. My husband rushed me to St. John Medical Center; I was admitted, and started on the dreaded magnesium sulfate. Once the symptoms had subsided and I was faced with the fact that my baby was going to be delivered five weeks early, I lay in bed and wept, knowing the inevitable. I prayed for the Lord to help me accept that once again my baby would be whisked away by virtual strangers and I would not be able to be with him.
These encounters developed my heart for this area of care. And today I get to do for other babies what I so desperately wanted to do for my own. I support these babies and their families through my work and my walk. For a girl who wasn’t supposed to live, and then wasn’t supposed to be able to walk, and who wasn’t supposed to be able to have children, I get to live and walk with my children for other babies and their families. And that is exactly what we did last week.
Every year we set a $500 March of Dimes fundraising goal; a hundred dollars for each baby. You see, we have five babies in our hearts. We had Brooklyn, and then miscarried our second baby, we had Jaron, our first NICU baby, then Caden, and then came Gavin, our second NICU baby. There is a personal drive to support moms in growing healthy babies, and in helping sick babies get well. It’s all pretty simple, but intricate too.
Our fundraising for 2013 came to $585! Thank you to all who gave support. Every donation, big and small, makes a difference. It made a difference for our family and it makes a difference to this nurse.
How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7 NLT
Thank you to our sponsors! Allison Bacon, Mindy Beasley, Stephanie Bennett, Betty Bermudez, Misty Berryhill, Natalie and Donnie Clyma, Susan Cochrane, Court and Lisa Dooley, Margaret Edmonson, Rob and Amanda Emery, Gayle Foster, Sherry and Tim Kelley, Robin and Kirby Meadows, Renda and Nathan Rapp, Emily Forth, Lezlie Glass, Elizabeth Herber, Lori Kelly, Jammie Kern, Megan Lindsey, Kayla and Felipe Martinez, Julia Morrison, Kristy and Greg Morrison, Brandon and Athena Rainbolt, Trevor and Amber Randall, Ray and Emile Tucker, Channing Wedel , Teddy and Denise Wyatt.
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