Tara Kent, NICU Nurse
Northwestern Prentice Women’s Hospital
Nominated by Melanie Nall
After an easy pregnancy and uncomplicated delivery, the last thing we expected was our daughter to stop breathing and turn blue 1.5 hours after birth. She was immediately whisked out of my arms and to the NICU. Although we wouldn’t meet her for another few days, Tara says she remembers hearing the code called on our daughter. Thankfully, the amazing team was able to get her breathing again but she had to stay in the NICU for 4 more days while they ran a full infectious work-up (spinal tap included). As expected, we experienced every possible emotion. We were relieved she was breathing again, but also shocked and worried.
We had a million questions, but we always felt like we were bothering the incredibly busy nurses. We were very aware that there were much sicker kiddos in the NICU that needed more attention and we felt selfish taking time away from them. And while we felt incredibly blessed that Kate’s problems weren’t bigger, we were also so thankful when Tara was the first nurse who really dedicated time to us. I had been struggling with getting the hang of breastfeeding and she was the first person who helped me with getting Kate to latch, she was the first person who took the time to physically show my husband how to change Kate’s diaper and actually allow him to do it.
She made us feel like we could help rather than us just feeling like we were in the way and taking away time from the other babies. I will never forget the first night we met her. She let me just sit in Kate’s room and ask as many questions as I wanted. And I never felt rushed. She talked to me about why Kate still needed the IV and practically cheered out loud with me the next morning when she told me that her blood sugar levels were good enough that it could come out. I think that night she did more for me than for Kate. I had been in a constant state of panic that Kate would have another episode and, for the first time, I felt at peace. I felt like she really understood how we were feeling and validated how terrifying the situation had been.
I just knew that Tara was someone special and, as you can see from the first picture, Kate was very comfortable with her too. ☺ Shortly after we left the hospital, I used Facebook to reach out to Tara. I just wanted her to know how much we appreciated her and we still keep in touch to this day. We were blessed to only be in the NICU a short time and I think what’s most telling and special about Tara. We didn’t have weeks or months to bond with her, but she still made a world of difference and left a lasting impression. She not only took wonderful care of Kate, but she took care of us as well.