November 2020
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center




Hannah is the picture of compassion and nursing excellence. She was a shining light in a difficult and confusing experience.
By the time my wife and I arrived at the hospital to have our baby, it had already been a long journey. We weren't sure we would even have children. It was a difficult decision to start trying, as my wife was just coming out of a very dark few years battling depression. The idea of walking right into postpartum depression was terrifying to us. When we finally decided to start trying, we had difficulty. As we were about to begin fertility testing, we got the amazing news that she was pregnant! My wife then powered through an exciting but difficult pregnancy. When we arrived at the hospital just minutes after the ball dropped on New Year's Eve, we couldn't wait to meet our son.
He was perfect! We were instantly in love. But we quickly noticed that he wasn't breathing well. He had to be rushed off right away to the NICU. Our first visit to the NICU was beautiful but so difficult. Seeing our little baby hooked up to monitors, IV fluids, and a CPAP was heartbreaking. My wife was excited to do skin-to-skin with her baby. However, he did so poorly during skin-to-skin that they had to take him away almost immediately and increase his breathing support. We couldn't hold back the tears. I have never felt that level of complete powerlessness in my life. Exhausted from the day, we tried to get some rest.
The next morning, we awoke full of excitement and anxiety. As a nurse, I am used to being a caregiver, supporting people in their lowest moments. I'm so used to the hospital. In fact, I truly enjoy coming here to work. However, it was so different to be on the other side. In the midst of our joy and love, we were worried about our boy. The explanations we were receiving didn't make sense. We went back to the NICU that morning with so many questions and fears. That is when we met Hannah. Her kindness immediately put us at ease. You could instantly see her love for her job. She was so sweet and gentle with our son. She constantly complimented him and interacted with him.
Hannah was our son's nurse throughout the rest of the week he was in the NICU. Not only did she demonstrate compassion, connecting with him, but she also provided amazing care. She would update us on how our boy did overnight. When there were setbacks, she would point out the positives. She worked hard to wean down his CPAP settings and helped us do skin-to-skin even when it was challenging. She also was an advocate for our son. She would prepare us for rounds with the physicians, and she would speak up, fighting to make sure we had satisfactory answers and were having things explained to us. The way Hannah handed off to the oncoming staff was exceptional. She never missed a thing.
Although our son began improving, he continued to struggle with breastfeeding. This created a lot of doubts in my wife's mind. She loved breastfeeding, but why wouldn't it work? She felt like a bad mother. Beyond that, she felt like if she gave up on breastfeeding she would be an even worse mother. Hannah took the time to sit down with her and really listen. My wife felt heard and understood. Beyond that, Hannah let her know that it would be okay if she didn't breastfeed but helped give her confidence to continue trying. Feeling the pressure was off, they worked together on it. After a couple of days, my wife was able to breastfeed our son regularly!
The next big step was to take our son home. Of course, this was scary, as he still had lingering issues. Hannah took care of him the day before discharge. She walked us through the whole process. She was so kind and compassionate, answering all of our questions about how to care for him at home, what things to look out for, and when we should take him back to the hospital. My wife had a lot of doubts and fears about being a new mother. Just like with the breastfeeding issue, Hannah stepped in to listen and support. Hannah helped her work through a lot of the feelings and fears she was having. After discussing with Hannah we felt much more confident and comfortable!
Hannah is the picture of compassion and nursing excellence. She was a shining light in a difficult and confusing experience. She is an advocate for her patients and their families. It is clear she loves what she does. She brought so much passion and energy. Hannah absolutely stood out and made our experience amazing. We will never forget Hannah. My wife, my son, and I will be forever grateful for the amazing care and compassion that Hannah gave our family.