Sacred Heart Hospital (SHH) Registered Nurse Kylee North is right back where she started. "I was born at thirty weeks and my mom did not have enough amniotic fluids, so they had to go ahead and take me out, so I spent almost six weeks in the NICU," North explained. She works in that same NICU, side by side with some of the nurses who cared for her. She smiled, "It's hopeful. We've grown. We can hold a lot of babies down there. We can hold a lot of babies. Success stories. I love it."
From time to time, when it's appropriate, North will share her "preemie" background with worried parents. It often reassures them to have hope. North's favorite part of nursing is teaching new parents. "The first time that they get to hold their baby, feed their baby, everything like that. Pretty awesome, helping everyone help the baby," she expanded.
Babies like Brandon Harvey. He was born three months early. "It was scary. He was two pounds large," his mother Maria Harvey said. Brandon lost the use of a kidney soon after birth. That was just one of the many complications he faced. "We were told so many things that were going to be wrong with him," she continued.
Brandon did suffer a major brain bleed and stayed in the SHH NICU for three months. He was so tiny, he bathed in a Cool Whip sized container and Harvey had to cut down regular diapers to fit his tiny body. Soon after going home, Brandon began physical and occupational therapies. When Harvey's "preemie" began Kindergarten, he was quickly placed into the gifted program. Today, Brandon has a fellowship in Neuro-Science research at the National Institute of Health. He is eyeing medical school. Harvey advised, "Don't ever let people label you and say that's where you're going to be."
Harvey said that nurses like North, who prayed with her, cheered her and Brandon on and encouraged her young family at every turn, made all the difference. "You don't know when you're doing something for somebody that's going to make a big, huge and lasting difference," she shared with a smile.
More than two decades later, every time Harvey is near, or even thinks back on her many days spent in and around the SHH NICU, she's warmed and very thankful. "I know all these people are not the same people, but, they are doing the same work," she said.