As a Parkland nurse I understand the incredible distinction required of Daisy Award winners. As a Parkland patient, I know of no one more worthy of the award than Natalie.
One of the hardest things as a Parkland trained critical care nurse, is to then become a patient. While in labor, I fixated on the monitors, asking Natalie question after question. “Is this normal?” “What was that change?” I thought about every bad complication that could happen. “If I get an epidural, will I get an epidural hematoma?” “Am I going to get a DVT from laying in bed too long? Then I will get a PE and be in the ICU.” When they wanted to place a fetal heart rate monitor into my baby’s head, I thought somehow it was going to hurt my baby’s brain or she would have some sort of CSF leak. Natalie stood by my bedside for hours throughout the night and listened to all these fears. She calmed my overactive mind and kept my thoughts positive. Her presence soothed me and I knew my baby and I would be ok under her watchful eye. This ultimate show of compassion, taking extra time to listen to all my worries, is why I grew to love and trust Natalie.
I arrived at Parkland at 7am and around 11pm of that night while still in labor, I had given up. My cervix was dilated to only 3cm after hours of pitocin, I had been NPO since the night before, my baby had episodes of decels that had terrified me, I was exhausted, I just wanted to baby out and safe in my arms. I was ready to have a c-section and just be done with the whole thing. Natalie knew deep down I did not want this. As long as my baby and I were doing ok, she told me to just give it a little more time. She respected my opinion, but tactfully set me straight. She went above and beyond by staying at my bedside all night, distracting me by making conversation. We talked about our families, our time at Parkland, and what we love about our respective fields of nursing. This kind gesture is what got me through one of the toughest, both physically and emotionally, nights of my life.
When it came time to push, Natalie’s shift was coming to an end. Instead of leaving, she stayed. She stayed to see my labor through to the end. As I pushed, my husband held one of my legs and Natalie held the other. She cheered me on as I pushed for nearly two hours until my sweet baby girl was born. Her willingness to stay is what separates Natalie from the rest. Her excellent dedication to my labor experience was evident. Looking back, I can’t imagine pushing without her there. She was incredibly encouraging, motivating, and patient. Natalie truly went above and beyond to be there for me.
My labor experience was a result of a great team effort by all the labor and delivery staff. From the physicians, to the team caring for my baby once she was born, to Natalie and the other nurses that cared for me, the collaboration and teamwork within the group was superb. I trusted Natalie because of this collaborative nature. When a change occurred on the monitors, Natalie ran in my room within seconds. She discussed my plan of care with the physicians and involved me in decision making, which I greatly appreciated. The integrity and honesty she displayed as we all discussed my condition and the condition of my baby was the foundation of my trust in her care. She was above all my advocate and I knew she had my best interest at heart.
I look back on this experience as one of the scariest yet simultaneously happiest events of my life. I feel so much love from the team that cared for me. Natalie was the main reason my experience was so great. She led all of those involved in my care and was the breath of fresh air I needed to get me through the night. When it came time to push, she stayed long after her shift had ended to cheer me to the finish. She delivered compassionate, safe, and excellent care. Natalie represents what is great about Parkland nursing.