I recently had one of the most overwhelming yet beautiful and unforgettable experiences that could be bestowed on a mother.
My son, HJ, spent ninety four days in the NICU at Baptist Women's Hospital. No one can understand the emotional strain that this can put on a mother except someone who has personally experienced it or one of the nurses in the NICU who witnesses it every day they walk through the hospital doors. Two nurses in particular made my experience not only bearable, but enjoyable. They gave me hope that this would end and it would end well. These two women are not just nurses; they are teachers, cheerleaders, and I would even now consider them friends. Lagina Ethridge and Tari Ellery did not have to speak to me every day I walked through those doors.
Between them, they may have been assigned to HJ ten, maybe fifteen times, but they never stopped caring. They questioned how I was every time I came in. They checked on HJ and knew his status even though they were not his nurse. Both women showed genuine concern for my emotional state and his physical state. I went to Lagina on multiple instances for advice on breastfeeding, pumping, and just general support. She never let me down. She even told me of her own personal story and the fight her son went through. She is by far the strongest individual I have ever had the pleasure to meet in my life.
Tari, well Tari is a beautiful soul. She encouraged me when all I could do was cry. I will never forget walking in, it had been maybe forty days in and I felt so discouraged. Like he was never going to come home. Tari hugged me and didn't let go, she reminded me that it was just time. Time I would get back.
What those two women did for me I can never thank them enough. They gave me informative information on what was going on with HJ and why, they cheered him on with me, and encouraged me to stay strong for my little man. They helped him grow, they nursed him to health, and they made it possible for me to bring my baby home. Had it not been for these two amazing ladies, other nurses, and the doctors of the NICU, my son would not be here today.
Thank you ladies. You deserve to be recognized for what you do every day. You choose to not just nurse these babies to health but to go beyond that and support the mothers who enter the doors of your hospital every day. Mothers like me are forever in your debt.