May 9, 2017

“They Became Our Family” – A Mother’s Story of Extraordinary Nurses in the NICU

By Nancy Lindell

Every mom imagines her birth experience, what it will be like, along with the anticipation of meeting her new baby. For the Jacobsen family and others, that birth experience wasn’t exactly what they expected.

Kelley Jacobsen gave birth at 29 weeks to daughter Ella on June 7, 2011. Ella weighed in at 2 pounds 5 ounces and stayed in the Mission Neonatal Intensive Care Unit until Aug. 5, 2011. Ella’s early birth was a shock to Kelley, who had an emergency Cesarean Section.

“It was my first child and a very scary time. It’s not how I planned to start motherhood in my head. I think I was in a little bit of shock,” said Kelley.

Kelley was in the NICU from about 7 am to 11 pm every single day, not wanting to leave her baby. There were days that were tougher than others, and Kelley credits her daughter’s nurses with getting her through.

“Nurses are like therapists almost. They see this day in and day out, and even if they don’t have children, they know how the parents are feeling and what the parents are going through. There were times that were very tough in there – when her alarms would go off it was very scary. We didn’t know what was going on. But they were there for us and told us exactly what was happening – didn’t candy-coat it,” said Kelley.

When Kelley and her husband would leave at night to go home, she would often call later in the evening or in the wee hours of the morning to check on her baby. Her nurse would check on Ella and give Kelley a report which comforted her until she got there the next morning.

It was also comforting during the hours that Kelley was there to see how the nurses cared for the babies who didn’t have someone with them all the time.

“There were several parents that couldn’t be there, so the nurses were like the mothers a lot of time. There were some that never had anyone come and visit them, but they received the best care from the nurses. It truly didn’t matter if the parents were there or not, those nurses just took such great care of those babies,” said Kelley.

“Ella had three primary nurses and I still keep in touch with them and think of them all often. I thank them for taking such great care of my daughter and for taking care of us, too. We were kind of a mess, but they just surrounded us and cared for us and I will be eternally grateful for the nurses we had during that time. It’s a blessing to still keep in touch with those people who were there for me during the darkest time in my life so far. They became our family.”

Ella’s 6th birthday is coming up soon, which brings back even stronger memories of when she was born. “I feel like she’ll be 30 years old and we’ll still be thinking of our nurses.”

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery and you never really know how you can affect someone. The Mission NICU nurses clearly left a positive effect on a worried mom.

“If I were younger, I would have gone back to school and become a NICU nurse – it was that impactful,” Kelley added.