In March of 2017, a sweet baby girl was born. Although she was two months early and weighed just over 3 pounds, she was quite a fighter. She required some respiratory support but did not need to be placed on the ventilator. She was quite small, needed to gain some weight, and needed help maintaining her temperature. For a period of time, she had to be tube fed and eventually had to learn to eat.
Although this baby's mother wanted and loved her very much, there were many obstacles for her to overcome. She lived out of state and was here with little money and no means of transportation. The mother is also mentally disabled.
Many people cared for the baby and her mother, one person really went above and beyond. Nini Baker is an LPN in the Special Care Nursey who took a special interest in this family. Nini's attention to detail and questioning attitude allowed her to quickly pick up on the fact that the mother was at the bedside all day without taking any breaks to eat. Nini collected donations to buy meals for this young mother, with many nurses contributing the meal vouchers they received for their birthday. Nini often accompanied the mother to the cafeteria and helped her use the vouchers.
As the mother spent her days at the bedside learning to care for her new baby, Nini was there to care for her as well. Nini ensured that she had proper nutrition, which allowed her to produce the lifesaving breastmilk for her premature infant. Nini made sure the mother had breakfast and lunch every day and gave her snacks to take back to The Ronald McDonald House each night. On Nini's days off, she always assigned someone to look out for this baby's mother.
As the baby's mother worked with different disciplines in the nursery learning to care for her baby, Nini reinforced what she had been taught and encouraged her to do much of her baby's hands-on care. Although the mother had been given a room at The Ronald McDonald House, it was her first time being alone and away from home. Nini asked lots of questions and she discovered that the mother was very fearful of being alone. The baby's mother came to trust Nini and would talk openly with her, which helped her fear. Nini also encouraged her to not be intimidated by members of the healthcare team and to ask questions so she could be well prepared to take her baby home. Nini treated this mother with dignity, respect, and compassion while helping her to be confident that she could care for her baby. This young mother was able to learn what she needed thanks to the outstanding care she received at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and from Nini Baker.