Dana Lemnus-Elias

Dana Lemnus-Elias

Dana Lemnus-Elias, CRNA

Sanford Medical Center - Fargo
Fargo, North Dakota
United States
Then I met Dana. I told her that I was nervous because of my previous experience but she kept me comfortable while completing my spinal and even had me laughing at times.

My husband Scott and I have a beautiful 8-year-old son but wanted to add to our family. We were cautious with planning for our second baby because I had a high-risk pregnancy with our son and knew that I would be high risk with any subsequent pregnancies.  So, you can imagine we were overjoyed to find out we were expecting in August 2015. My complicated pregnancy went smoothly and we set our C-section date for April 6, 2016.

We arrived at the Family Birth Center at 5:30am excited to meet our son. With my previous C-section my spinal was very painful and I was nervous about what this time would be like.  Then I met Dana. I told her that I was nervous because of my previous experience but she kept me comfortable while completing  my spinal and  even had  me laughing at  times.  They laid me down, brought Scott in, and the doctor started the procedure. While the doctor worked we all laughed that he would probably be a big baby, as he was in the 99%th percentile at my last ultrasound. I said my guess was around 9 pounds.

My son was born at 7:40 am, cried once, and then stopped.  The whole room went silent until I heard the doctor ask for the NICU team.  My husband at this point had gone around the curtain to find out what was happening with our baby. I kept hearing weak cries, not the strong cries of a healthy newborn. I asked what was happening and it was Dana that talked to me.  She sat next to me and explained that my son wasn’t breathing as well as he should be and they were bringing in a NICU team to assess him.  She told me he had all ten fingers and toes, a little bit of hair, and was big! She told me I was probably right that he looked close to 9 pounds.

The NICU NP came to talk to me, explaining that my son had aspirated meconium and was not breathing well. She explained that they wanted to bring him over for skin to skin and that laying him on my chest might make him perk up more. They brought him to me and I could tell something was very wrong. He was floppy, his eyes were rolling around and his breathing was very fast. As a nurse I knew this is not what a normal newborn looked like. The NICU team decided he needed to be admitted and quickly took both my baby and husband off to NICU.

I can't tell you how scared I was. We made it through 9 anxiety filled months safely and this was not part of our plan. My baby was being admitted, my husband was taken with him and I was strapped down to an operating table unable to follow.  It felt like I was all alone in an OR full of people.  Except I wasn't, Dana was there reassuring me that my son was in good hands and the NICU would keep him safe. She listened to my worries and wiped away my tears. She helped keep me calm and safe in a moment when my world was upside down.

My son will be 1-years-old in April and I can't tell you how many times I think back to that day and Dana crosses my mind.  For her it was a normal work day but for me that day changed my life. Not only did I become a mother again I got to experience true kindness and compassion from a complete stranger. I hope someday I can make such a profound impact on someone else's story as Dana made on mine

Thank you, Dana!