{Guest post by my dear friend, Katie K. }


It was two weeks before my due date with my second child, our son Rhys.  I thought my regularly scheduled check-up was no big deal and my husband was even golfing an hour away that afternoon.  But when my doctor listened to his hunch and monitored us, he saw that my son was in trouble and needed to be born that day through an emergency C-section.  I was all alone and didn’t even see my husband until hours later when I woke up and he told me that our son was in the NICU.


As someone that already had one healthy child, I never expected Rhys’ birth to turn out the way it did. It almost didn’t turn out at all!  But we soon learned that we were going to be spending a lot of time at the NICU, and one of the incredible people that we encountered would soon become our favorite nurse and friend, Laura Blair.


When you don’t understand all the processes and medical terminology for things that suddenly start happening in a loved one’s care, a nurse becomes your special insider.  They see everything that happens in between the rare occasions when you get to see and talk with a doctor.  They administer all the medications, monitor vitals, feed and hold these babies around the clock.  They are the lifeline some parents need desperately when their child stays in the hospital but they must return to work or other children at home.  I cannot over-emphasize enough how comforting it is as a parent to see a familiar face and know that someone has been giving your baby love and attention when you cannot be there 24/7.


Laura shared positive moments with us and always had a kind word.  She exuded joy in helping others and shared how much her job meant to her.  Laura helped us understand the possible changes and helpfully answered questions.  She was a calming presence and her kindness will always be remembered by both my husband and myself.  On the days when she wasn’t assigned to be with Rhys, we felt like a friend was missing.


They must give serious treatment to these nurses in order to teach them to be encouraging but not give false hope to families.  Some of the nurses told us stories of babies that had been in the NICU for over a year, celebrating each milestone with the nurses that grew to love and cherish them.  Our extended stay (almost 6 weeks total) was an emotional rollercoaster.  One day things would be improving but the next day they were heading back in the opposite direction.  Doctors would talk to us about doing an invasive procedure but then decide it was best to keep waiting.  We saw specialists, did a million tests and felt torn every day that our baby wasn’t home with us.


I truly believe that it takes a very brave person to be a NICU nurse.  To see  the tiniest, most fragile patients and not lose faith.  To look at scared parents longing for hope and tell them that you will be there to do all that you can.  Laura comes from a big family where she was always helping take care of kids.  She has such a giving heart and sees her job as a blessing.  Even now, her husband is deployed to Afghanistan and she is serving as a nurse in El Paso.  Laura is a hero to us for the blessing she was to our family and we know she will do the same for many more families in the future!


This post is part of a series of 31 Real Life Heroes. If you’d like to nominate your hero, please email dwarshak(at)

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