They say that life is never the same after the birth of your first child, and every emotion, from love to fear, becomes more intense than ever before.
When one Indiana mom gave birth to her first child, she experienced feelings of love and happiness stronger than she ever had in her life. However, that happiness turned to paralyzing fear when her baby boy was suddenly fighting for his life. Now, she wants to make sure no parent has to go through what she did…
After patiently waiting 9 long months to meet her first child, Lauren Harper went into labor and was overjoyed when nurses handed over her newborn baby and announced she had given birth to a healthy son, who Lauren and her husband named Tyler.
All Lauren and her husband cared about was that their baby was healthy, so when they first laid eyes on their baby boy, who weighed a healthy 10.9 pounds at birth, he was everything they dreamed he would be. Unfortunately, that bliss didn’t last long.
A Mother’s Intuition
Shortly after the new parents brought Tyler home, they started to worry that something wasn’t right. Tyler started losing weight and vomited after every feeding. Both are normal for newborn babies, however, Lauren was convinced something was wrong…
A Trip To The Hospital
When Tyler’s weight continued to plummet and he failed to keep any milk down, he started showing signs of dehydration. Lauren and her husband refused to try and wait any longer for the ‘phase’ to pass and immediately rushed him to the hospital…
After arriving at the IU Health West Hospital in Avon, Indiana, doctors confirmed their worst fear. Tyler was sick, and if he didn’t get treatment soon, he wouldn’t make it. After examining the newborn, doctors told his parents that he had been born with Pyloric Stenosis.
Pyloric Stenosis is a condition that affects 1 in approximately every 300 babies and typically occurs in first-born male babies. In healthy babies, food moves through the stomach and into the intestines without issue. For babies with the condition, that doesn’t happen…
An Enlarged Pylorus
For babies with the condition, food cannot empty out of the stomach because the opening into the small intestine is not large enough. When the food cannot pass into the intestines, the food is forcefully vomited out, which leads to severe dehydration and prevents the baby from absorbing badly needed nutrients from food.
The Wait Begins
While the condition is serious and life-threatening, it can be easily treated with a simple surgery. The news should have been comforting to the new parents, however, there were no beds open at the hospital and Tyler would have to wait another 48 hours to undergo the lifesaving surgery…
Lauren and her husband were terrified that Tyler wouldn’t make it another 48 hours. Even though the doctors and nurses assured them Tyler would be fine, their fear was intensified since they were first-time parents and didn’t know what to do for their son.
Like the doctors and nurses told them, Tyler was fine and went into surgery to correct the condition. The surgery was a success and a day later, Tyler was released from the hospital and Lauren and her husband were able to take their 1-month-old baby boy home for good…
The ‘Aha’ Moment
The experience terrified the new parents, but Lauren was grateful to all the nurses that helped her son and assured her that everything would be OK. “I watched the nurses care for Tyler like he was their own,” Lauren said. “I wanted to do that for someone else’s child, and I knew that I could.”
The Wrong Career
At the time, Lauren had a business degree from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and was working as a manager at 2 car rental businesses. However, after the terrifying experience, Lauren knew it wasn’t what she was meant to do with her life…
A Life Overhaul
After watching the nurses save her son’s life and care for him like their own, she wanted to do the same thing for other parents going through the worst moment of their lives. So after Tyler was all better, Lauren quit her job immediately enrolled in a nursing school.
The Right Reason
Lauren juggled being a new mom with being a new student, which was extremely challenging. But whenever Lauren doubted what she was doing, she just had to look at her son and the small scar on his stomach to be reminded of the reason she was doing it…
Coming Full Circle
After countless sleepless nights spent studying for exams, Lauren graduated and got her license as a registered nurse, which made all the hard work worth it. Once she had her license, Lauren was hired to work as an operating room nurse at the same hospital that saved her son’s life.
7 Years Later
7 years later, Lauren still works at IU Health West Hospital for the children’s pre and post operation unit where she spends her days caring for sick kids and easing the worries of their anxious parents. According to Lauren, she still sees herself when she looks into the eyes of the terrified parents she sees…
A Leap Of Faith
“I’ve seen that look; I’ve been there before,” Lauren said. “The worst is when dads cry. I can keep it together when moms cry, but when you see a dad start to cry… it’s just the fear, the unknown, the uncertainty. You’re letting someone you don’t know take your kid and you have to give them that trust.”
No Empty Promises
“She knows what it feels like for that parent to be vulnerable and to hand over their most precious thing in life. When she says, ‘I’m going to take great care of your daughter or son,’ parents can feel it,” said Rachel Janitz, a fellow nurse that started her first day working at the hospital the same day Lauren did…
A Natural Caregiver
According to Janitz, Lauren is such an excellent nurse because she knows exactly what the parents are going through and advocates for them. “It’s not for everyone,” Janitz said. “You definitely find your friends. And you find the one that lifts you higher and is always there for you. Lauren is selfless in such a way that it radiates to everyone around her.”
A Calling Not A Career
While working as a nurse can be physically and emotionally exhausting, especially since they can’t save every child, the reward of helping just 1 child makes it all worth it. “There’s so much more good that I get to experience here,” Lauren said. “I feel very blessed to be working at the place where my son was so well-cared for. This is definitely what I was called to do.”
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