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Baby's premature birth inspires mother's life-changing career move

PHOTO: Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), also known as an intensive care nursery (ICN), for premature babies Cropped Photo Source: President of Mexico / CC BY 2.0 MGN Online

Ashley Schlossberg had preeclampsia and a liver disorder called HELLP Syndrome.

The way she puts it, her body was shutting down and trying to reject the baby inside her. At just 25 weeks and six days, her doctors told her there was no choice, they had to take the baby.

"We had to be separated for both of us to survive," Ashley said.

Ashley's daughter Lauren spent six months in the NICU at Sacred Heart Hospital. She was so small, the caregivers had to improvise.

"Because she was so unbelievably tiny, to keep her insulated and to keep her body temperature up they had to put her in a quart-size Ziploc bag, can you imagine?" Ashley asked.

Lauren is now six years old. You'd never guess she came into the world with just a 50 percent chance of survival. Her birth was a turning point for her mom.

"When I was younger and I was in high school, my mom always said 'I think you'd be a great nurse, I think you need to think about being a nurse when you go to college. And I'm like no, I'm not interested in college when I was 18, I wasn't."

Today, after five years of juggling school and motherhood, Ashley is a registered nurse at Sacred Heart.

"I was given unbelievably wonderful care, I watched how they cared for me, I watched how these nurses cared for my daughter, I could do that too," she recalled.

She works on a medical-surgical floor and isn't sure if she'll ever be ready to work in the NICU. But she knows she has the power to touch lives.

Ashley said, "I can give back and I can give what was given to me."

Ashley isn't stopping here, in the fall she'll start work on her bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree.