Made for more tender moments

Jan 25, 2021


Danielle went into labor two months early. The NICU saved her baby’s life.

Danielle and her husband arrived at the emergency department after 1 a.m. in a panic. Their son wasn’t due for two more months, but Danielle was having contractions. She knew what she was experiencing wasn’t routine.

She had no bags packed. No childcare organized for her daughter at home. No idea what was happening.

“We were really scared,” Danielle said. “We thought we were losing our baby.”

But from the moment an Adventist Health Simi Valley Labor and Delivery nurse met Danielle in the ER, she felt a sense of calm.

“We knew we were in good hands,” Danielle said.

Before her son was born, Danielle was told he would require specialized hospitalization in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), located just steps from her delivery room. The same nurses delivering her baby would be caring for him long-term in the NICU.

Danielle’s delivery was a blur. She remembers the room being filled with doctors, a neonatologist, a respiratory therapist and NICU specialists ready to care for her son, and nurses working to calm her nerves.


“I knew no matter what happened, the right person was in there to help us,” Danielle said.

When Evan was born, he weighed just four pounds and four ounces, fitting like a baseball in his father’s hands. Before transferring to the NICU, Evan spent a “golden hour” melting into his mother’s chest and bonding with her – something Danielle describes as a relieving and memorable moment.

Evan spent two months in the NICU, wires running from his tiny body to machines monitoring his vitals.

Nurses would do little things to lift his family’s spirits, like sending photos to Danielle, and pressing Evan’s footprints in paint as a memento nearing his one-month birthday. Some days, they’d walk in and find a note left by nurses “from Evan” describing the fun he was having with them in the NICU. On another occasion, a nurse bought a stuffed animal from the gift shop for Evan’s big sister and signed it to her from Evan.

“There were scary times and upsetting times, and the nurses were always there. I felt like they weren’t just Evan’s nurses, but our nurses, too. Like they were trying to take care of us emotionally, also,” Danielle said. “They became our family during that time.”

And even now – Evan being a happy, healthy 14-month old with a big smile and an even bigger personality – Danielle regularly shares his milestones with the nurses who cared for him.

“He’s healthy and thriving and doing so well, and we know that so much good care in his early months helped get him off on the right foot,” Danielle said. “If you’re thinking of having your baby at Adventist Health Simi Valley, you’d be in the best hands with the most wonderful nursing staff.”