The first time Jessica Bradley saw her daughter, Jordan, a medical team was prepping the newborn for transfer from a community hospital to Women & Infants.
“When I learned Jordan couldn’t breathe, I was terrified,” Jessica said. “That fear grew when I found out she had to be moved to intensive care.” But once the transport team from Women & Infants arrived, Jessica knew her daughter was in the best hands.
“The four nurses and physician assistant from the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) who moved Jordan were incredibly professional yet also very compassionate. They knew how afraid and helpless I felt and went out of their way to comfort me, especially because I had to stay behind until I could be transferred,” Jessica said.
“When Jordan was wheeled away, I told her to call Mommy when she got there. As soon as Jordan arrived at Women & Infants, one of the nurses called to let me know.”
"The nurse also told Jessica that Jordan had been intubated on the drive to Women & Infants. “Without the transport team, Jordan would not be alive today,” Jessica said.
Jessica was moved to Women & Infants hours later. She saw Jordan just minutes after her arrival, connected to tubes, wires and machines.
“When a baby is breathing by mechanical ventilation, it can be daunting,” Jessica said. “I didn’t know if I could touch Jordan.
“But the nurses reassured me that I wouldn’t hurt her. They also told me she knew I was there and encouraged me to talk to her. And when it was time, they showed me how to hold and breastfeed Jordan despite the surroundings.”
The staff kept Jessica involved throughout her baby’s stay in the Carter Family NICU. “They included me in their medical discussions so I always knew what was going on with Jordan,” Jessica said. The doctors even changed the time of their rounds so that Jessica could participate in the discussions, typical of the family-centered care practiced in the single-family room NICU.
“I can’t stress enough the importance of having a private room,” Jessica said. “Not only were the doctors able to talk freely about Jordan’s care, but I had my own couch next to Jordan to rest on throughout the day, I felt comfortable having skin-to-skin contact with her, and I could breastfeed or pump privately. And because I was able to stay with Jordan as long as I wanted, I was there when she first opened her eyes.”
Even when Jessica returned home each evening, she trusted Jordan’s care: “For the short time Jordan was in the NICU, I felt like the nurses truly fell in love with her.”
Jordan left the NICU just eight days after she arrived. And Jessica knows how lucky her family is. “Our story seems less complex than the advanced cases Women & Infants’ NICU is accustomed to,” Jessica said.
Today, Jordan is nearly four and, as Jessica describes her, spunky and strong. The latter characteristic, Jessica says, reminds her of her mother, Lynn Neumann., who was treated at Women & Infants during her 10-year battle with ovarian cancer.
Jordan remains a daily reminder of the gift of life Women & Infants gave Jessica and her family. The Bradleys now celebrate Jordan’s birthday with fundraising events to support the hospital. One year, guests made a donation to dance with Jordan; another year, they gave donations in lieu of presents.
These birthday funds have supported the NICU transport team that was so instrumental in Jordan’s survival. “But,” Jessica said, “I can assure you that there is no monetary amount that will ever be able to express our gratitude.”