Amber Welborn, MSN, RN, recently published a story of an abandoned premature baby titled “Mama’s Here” in the Journal of Christian Nursing.
Today is the day; the day she might become part of a family. This was the highlight of my shift report on a two-week old, premature baby girl. Soon after she was born, her parents left and never returned. They were young and experiencing many struggles of their own. Another child added to this already broken family was just too much for them. They decided to let someone else love and care for this precious girl.
I watched her sleep for a moment, before beginning my morning assessment. She was beautiful and tiny. She was so comfortable, I hated to wake her. “Good morning sweet girl!” I whispered, as I do to my own girls at home. Rubbing her soft hair, she started to rouse. My brain was flooded with questions. “Does she know that she’s an orphan? Does she long to be held? Does she feel the absence of a mother’s love? God, what is going to happen to this baby?”
Despite my questions, it was time to begin my day. I listened to her heart and lungs, felt her pulses, and completed a full assessment. She was too young to eat from a bottle without choking, so she required nasogastric tube feedings. Often babies are fed in their isolettes, as time to sit and hold babies in the neonatal intensive care unit is a luxury. Luckily, today I had fifteen minutes before I needed to assess my next baby. So this morning, my charting waited while I rocked and snuggled this little love on my chest. Her tiny hand wrapped around my finger, and we both leaned into bliss. “God, please send this baby a family to treasure and love her. Protect her from any further pain and rejection.”
That afternoon, the social worker and an apprehensive, yet eager, couple entered our room. I knew this could be her new family. I immediately rose to greet the couple, introduced myself, and made way for them to see the baby. I was nervous and tense. “Have they already decided? Are they considering this opportunity right this instant?” I wondered. They were anxious too.
At first they just gazed at her, probably overwhelmed by the medical equipment that seemed to consume her tiny body. I explained the purpose of each wire and tube, reassuring them that she was very stable. I opened the isolette door for them to reach in and touch her. As the woman leaned in and placed her hand on the baby’s back, I heard her speak the sweetest words - “Mama’s here.” Yes. Yes, she was. Suddenly, I was able to breathe again. I placed the baby skin-to-skin with her mother, who inhaled a deep, satisfying breath. “Thank you, Lord” she said. “Yes, thank you, Lord.” I whispered to myself. They sat chest-to-chest for several hours, getting to know each other as a new family.
I was scared for this little one. But, God had written her story long before I came to work that day. Jeremiah 29:11 states: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I am so grateful that I was witness to this miraculous story of hope and love. This particular day occurred shortly after the Orlando shootings. After such a tragic day, this experience reminded me that God is always in control, and that His plan is always at work. God blessed me beyond measure as He wrote me into the story of this new family. Those new parents may not remember my face or my name, but I will never forget them.
About the Author
Amber Welborn, MSN, RN, is a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse at Women's Hospital