Amy Freiha

Amy Freiha

Amy Freiha, RN

NICU
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford
Palo Alto, California
United States
Amy is quick thinking, confident, and strong-willed. She cares deeply for her babies and shares her strength with them to help them fight!

My 3-day old daughter N stopped breathing in our home and my husband performed CPR. The events that followed were a blur as the paramedics arrived and took her to the nearest ER. She needed to be transferred to a higher-level facility with a NICU, and she was accepted to Lucile Packard. They sent a transport team to get her, that's when we met Amy.

I wasn't there when Amy first arrived. It was chaos in the ER bay as doctors and nurses scrambled to stabilize N. I was paralyzed watching them work on her, there was nothing I could do but cry and try to breathe. The uncertainty was hard to bear. Once we finalized the transfer plan, I went home to gather a few things and would meet everyone at Lucile Packard. I remember the call from my mom, still at the hospital, she told me, "someone named Amy came in and took over, I think it's going to be okay."

Amy advocated for both me and N that night. On top of recovering from childbirth, I had a high fever. The nurses had warned me that I might not be allowed into the NICU. Amy pleaded for me to be accommodated. N was incredibly sick... the kind of sick that stops breathing in your living room. The kind of sick that requires ECMO, the highest level of life support. The kind of sick that people don't necessarily recover from. I am incredibly lucky N is the toughest little girl you'll ever meet and she's making a miraculous recovery. But at the time her fate was uncertain, all Amy knew was that there was a very scared mom who needed to see her baby girl in what could have been the last moments of her life. She prevailed and they were able to isolate N so I could see her without endangering the other babies.

After seeing Amy interact with doctors, nurses and babies, it's clear everybody else is as impressed with her as we are. I couldn't help but smile when I overheard other moms in the NICU pumping room talking about the "amazing nurse, Amy" who transported her baby. It's humbling to think that the impact she had on my life is just a day-on-the-job for her, that every shift she's out there saving babies under impossible circumstances.

Being a best-of-the-best nurse is merely a baseline prerequisite for Amy. She's not only capable and knowledgeable, but she's able to draw on that knowledge under intense pressure. Amy is quick thinking, confident, and strong-willed. She cares deeply for her babies and shares her strength with them to help them fight!

Amy was also a source of strength for me. She is sharp and smart, but also warm and kind. She took notice when my husband and I were (extra) stressed and offered help. She explained things over and over when it was too much for my brain to process. She took the time to offer solace to a family nearly broken under the weight of fear, stress, and guilt. She went over and above her responsibility as one of N's NICU caregivers. Amy came to visit N after she was moved out of the NICU and into the intermediary nursery. One day we came back from lunch and found N asleep on her chest. 65 days is a long time, especially with two other kids at home for whom life must go on. It's hard to feel like you're giving anybody enough love and attention, let alone finding time to meet your own needs. Knowing there are people looking out for you and loving on your baby when you can't be by her side makes an enormous difference. Amy even reached out to see how we were doing after we were discharged. When I celebrate N's achievements in her recovery, Amy was quick to remind me that N is not the only survivor, that we should be as proud of ourselves as we are of her. Amy does more than save babies, she saves entire families.

The universe had our backs that day when they sent Amy to get our baby girl. N was not what you would call "stable for transport" but Amy got her through the doors to get the support she needed so she could come back to life with all the fury of a fighter. I have no doubt in my mind that my daughter is here today because of Amy. Not a day goes by when I don't think of her and feel gratitude for the personal sacrifices, she makes to drop everything in the middle of dinner when a baby needs help. What this person means to our family cannot be adequately put into words. I will keep her in my heart and thank her every day as I watch my beautiful N live out the life she almost lost.