USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital houses one of the top Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the United States. It is the only Level 3 NICU in the Region and the number of healthy babies who are discharged after treatment is higher than the national average.
It takes a village of doctors, nurses, and volunteers to make sure the babies receive the best care possible.
Lauren Carr gave birth to her daughter, Collins, in March of 2016. Collins spent two months in the NICU at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital.
“Whether your baby is here for one day or one week or one year I can’t imagine anything harder,” Carr said. “For that two months we lived here with her she was surrounded by great doctors and nurses. We were in a private room here so we moved in and didn’t leave,” Carr continued.
Collins passed away due to complications during surgery, but her mother still spends time in the NICU. Carr said the care and dedication Collins received during her stay at the NICU inspired her to become a volunteer.
“We just wanted to give back. We joked the entire time that she [Collins] was here that we were going to make her volunteer here her whole life because everybody was doing so many wonderful things for her here and since she doesn’t a chance to do that, I do,” Lauren said.
Volunteers at the NICU are vital to its operation.
“They come and rock babies and hold babies and feed babies for us. It’s wonderful the babies get held more and we have some help,” RN Margie Friedman said.
Many of the babies being treated in the NICU have to stay for months at a time. Parents, who often don’t live in Mobile, have to go back to jobs and other children at home and can’t spend 24-hours at the hospital. Lauren Carr was lucky in that she was able to every moment with Collins, but she met plenty of parents who weren’t able to do that.
“I think that they feel better that somebody just comes and sits there and holds their baby and loves on their baby a little bit while they’re gone,” Carr said.
Carr is a frequent volunteer at the NICU and she is also heading up a fundraising effort to help build a rooftop garden for the hospital.
Carr’s daughter Collins also spent time at Birmingham’s Children’s of Alabama. The NICU at COA has a roof-top garden that is only accessible to NICU patients so that they’re able to experience time outside. Carr said during Collin’s two-month stay at Children’s and Women’s she asked several times if her daughter could be taken outside, but the only way outside was through the hospital. Nurses told her this could put Collins into contact with harmful germs. She’s hoping to raise enough money to be able to fund a roof-top garden like the one at Children’s of Alabama for Children’s and Women’s here in Mobile.
Click here to learn how to volunteer.
You can donate to the rooftop garden fund by calling the Office of Development at (251) 415-1636.