May 2019
Neonatal ICU
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
Los Angeles
United States




It was befitting that Halloween was the day we were able to take our baby girl home because the six days prior had been the scariest of our lives. Our baby was born lacking oxygen and struggled to breathe. Concerned, the doctors decided to put her on a cooling bed designed to make her hypothermic. For 82 hours we were not allowed to hold our baby, we could not warm her as she shivered, we could not feed her as she cried. We were only allowed to hold her hand while trying to muster whatever words we could find to try and comfort her with our voices. From the first night, it became increasingly clear to my wife and me that nurses make ALL the difference. While every nurse assigned to our baby treated her like their own, our baby was lucky to have Catherine two of her five nights. They say life is about the little things and Catherine was the Queen of ensuring all the little things, the little comforts that could be done were done. We first met her the night we thought we were going to be able to hold our baby for the first time. Catherine was in the unfortunate position of having to tell us that there was a 10-hour warming up process before we could hold our baby. You can imagine our disappointment, but Catherine handled it with empathy and professionalism. During those ten hours, in addition to ensuring the warming up process was happening properly, she made our little baby a name sign so she was no longer defined by a tag that said "Baby Girl." Knowing that in a few hours she could be swaddled for the first time, she also made her a little hat with a bow to be ready at the bedside. The following night, Catherine gave us the best news that our baby would be on her way home soon. Catherine did her best to ensure my wife and I could both get some needed rest, and also she sat with my wife for hours, coaching her to help get our baby to latch. Finally, we said our goodbyes but no words will ever be enough to clearly articulate the strength Catherine (and other NICU nurses) gave and the faith we had in them those six days. From the bottom of our three hearts, we say "thank you," to them.