Like many of Children's other NICU nurses, Mary B is nothing short of excellent. Our weekslong relationship with the 6th floor would have been completely horrific and intolerable if not for nurses like Mary B. We could dote on about how she helped us get much-needed sleep by never letting a syringe pump alarm sound while we napped. Or that she always gave our son loving care. Or even that we observed her act as an exceptional role model for new NICU nurses, training them how to do their job with panache under the pressures of being in a highly stressful critical care setting. However, the same could be said about some of her colleagues.
What separates Mary B from the rest did not actually occur to us until weeks after we had left the NICU. One afternoon, after a particularly stressful week, our son had come home from daycare completely inconsolable. Nothing-bottles, toys, pacifiers-would soothe him, and the experience quickly became incredibly frustrating. After a 45-minute ordeal, out of sheer frustration, over the sounds of a screaming baby, I jokingly asked my wife, "Do you think he would've ever acted this badly for Mary B?" Like a sudden miracle, he stopped crying and began to smile as if nothing was wrong.
The Catholic faith contends that canonization (the act of becoming a saint) is a lengthy process essentially occurring after the person's religious act coincides with a miracle in their name. Mary B's devotion to nursing is her religious act. She is a nurse with such devotion that it seems like it's less like a job and more like a higher calling. Her perpetually positive impact on our family, even months after leaving Children's of Alabama, continues to be nothing short of a miracle. In our house, the sheer mention of her name brought much-needed peace and comfort. Anecdotally, we have since grown to refer to her as "St Mary".
Since first meeting Mary B in September, she has been a beacon of light in some of our family's darkest moments. She consoled us we when learned that our son would have limited eyesight. She praised us for being good parents when we needed an emotional boost. Most recently, during a recent outpatient procedure, she selflessly came to Children's (on her day off, mind you) to touch base and check in on our son, a visit that coincided with the discovery that he would need additional surgery to live.
These characteristics make her truly exceptional. The world could use more nurses like St. Mary, and we love her for it.