Karrie Coddington was the first nurse to welcome our daughter W to St. Vincent's Hospital. W was born on Thanksgiving night. Rain and ice were everywhere and a crew came all the way to Mishawaka to bring W to St. Vincent's. I knew she was quite fragile and it pained me to wait until they released me to go see her.
When we arrived on Saturday, we met Courtney Duncan who told us that Karrie couldn't wait to meet us. As I quickly became aware of how the hospital worked, I found out Karrie signed up to be W's primary. This will tell you something about Karrie immediately. Our little W was such a complex case. She was not an "easy" child to care for in the NICU. Karrie knew that signing up for W wasn't going to be easy, but she did it...because that is exactly who Karrie is.
I kept hearing from all the nurses in the NICU that we would just "love Karrie." I heard that if they could pick a nurse for their own child, they would pick Karrie. How comforting this was to us. Somehow it never worked for our schedules to meet the first visit down. So I wrote her a letter. I told her that I was excited to meet her. From that first time, we saw that she was beginning to decorate her bedspot. W's bedspot was the best in the "neighborhood." Karrie is crafty!
When we finally got to meet her, she was the perfect fit for our family. Her goofiness and sense of humor mirrored my husbands. We loved sitting by W's bedspot in the evenings and we had the best conversations. Even though we were in the midst of a scary time, we somehow just enjoyed the company. We shared jokes and laughed. I just know that W was soaking it all in, enjoying the fun we all shared. This was a true gift to us.
We became such regulars in the NICU. We had to travel back and forth from Osceola to Indianapolis. I completely trusted W to Karrie's care. She is a talented nurse, and she would watch over W and her belongings in the best way ever. She would give us updates multiple times a day. Just like Courtney, she would allow us to call when we were up north to say bedtime prayers with her.
Karrie was so excited to organize my first time holding W. To feel my daughter right next to me is a gift I will never forget. It was purely magical. It was a bit tedious with all the ventilator tubes and all, but we were able to settle her in and she just calmed right down.
Karrie also used her crafting gifts to make pages upon pages of beautiful scrapbook art. This is a continual gift to us today, because our little W passed away in February. Karrie's pages are our precious memories. Karrie's work continues to connect us to our daughter.
Karrie Coddington is so much more than a nurse to us. We call her Aunt Karrie. She is a true gem. She gives so selflessly. I thanked her for knowing that W was going to be a difficult journey, but one that she was brave enough to take on. I don't take that lightly. Because people with hearts like Karrie's, they will hurt. I want her to know that for the sacrifice of hurting her heart some, she made our lives so much brighter. W brought us together and she will always be part of our family.
We miss the daily talks with Karrie. What I've written is still only "part" of the story. These are all wonderful, but Karrie did so much more! Karrie has changed my life for the better--because she's a nurse and because she's a wonderful person.