High-Risk OB Nurse Transfers Units, Works Late to Stay by Patient's Side
“It’s Kyan,” announced Sasha Berscheid, first-time mom. “Like Ryan.”
While she assumed it would get mispronounced at times, it’s the name she had always planned on giving her firstborn daughter.
Sasha had long wondered how that birth story would go. And while she imagined her daughter resembling an angel, she never imagined actually meeting one.
A surprise pregnancy
Kyan was a surprise to Sasha and her husband, Andrew.
“But a perfect surprise,” Andrew said.
The toll that pregnancy took on Sasha was also unexpected.
“It was like I was allergic to it,” Sasha explained. “That’s the best way I can describe it.”
She constantly felt sick. She was unable to keep anything down. She couldn’t work out. And her face broke out in painful cystic acne.
“You name it, it was wrong with me.”
She was often uncomfortable, but about halfway through her pregnancy, her discomfort became concerning.
“I thought, ‘There’s no way that this is normal – this feeling.’”
With a scheduled appointment the next day, she waited to ask her doctor about it.
After a brief exam, Sasha described her doctor’s reaction: “She said, ‘Oh my gosh. You’re in labor! And you’ve been in labor.’”
Sasha stayed at Methodist Women’s Hospital for the next four days. She was then ordered to spend the rest of her pregnancy at home, on bedrest. But that didn’t last long.
“Six days later, I was lying in bed, and I felt my water break.”
Meeting her angel nurse
Based off her positive experience at Women’s the week before, Sasha knew she that was where she needed to deliver. The couple rushed to Women’s – a nearly half-hour drive.
“From the moment we arrived, things were very fast-paced,” Sasha said. “But the entire time, I literally had an angel by my side. She was helping me put my robe on. She was making jokes with me, asking if I wanted my hair in a ponytail – just seeing what she could do to make me even 5 percent more comfortable.”
That angel was Brooke Richardson, BSN, RN, who was working in the high-risk unit that day.
“We hit it off right away,” Richardson said.
“Everything she did and explained – she did it with such humility,” Sasha said. “It was like ‘This is what a Good Samaritan looks like. This is a person who genuinely cares for mankind.’”
Before long, it was time for Sasha to be transferred to the labor and deliver unit.
“Brooke told me she’d be right back,” Sasha explained.
And when she returned?
“She looked at me, grabbed my hand and said, ‘I just talked to my supervisor. I asked if I could go with you. They’re transferring me to labor and delivery, Sasha. I’m not leaving you.’”
In a moment of panic and fear, those words put Sasha at ease. But as the 7 p.m. hour approached, Sasha knew her time with Richardson would soon end. Seven o’clock marked the end of her shift.
“I could just kind of see her anxiety level rising,” Richardson said. “And when I recognized that, I thought, ‘You know, I think I just need to stay with her.’”
Richardson rushed out of the room to call her husband, who was home taking care of their two young daughters.
“I said, ‘I’m sorry. I’m not going to be home on time. I need to be here for her,’” she said.
“I needed her, and God knew that,” Sasha said. “I have no doubt – she was there because God sent her for me.”
Continued care after birth
Kyan Emma-Patricia Berscheid was born at 31 weeks, weighing a little over 3 pounds. When she entered the world, she wasn’t yet breathing.
“So everyone rushed to the baby,” Sasha recalled as she wiped tears from her eyes.
She took a deep breath and began illustrating the rest of the scene: “Everyone in the room – all 14 of them, even Andrew, were around the baby, and there was only one person next to me. That was Brooke. She was holding my hand, walking me through what was happening with baby, telling me how amazing I had done and just championing me on.”
Kyan spent 74 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Methodist Women’s Hospital. At least once a week, Richardson would drop by to see how the preemie was doing. If Sasha wasn’t there, Richardson would leave a note.
“That meant so much to me,” Sasha said. “I actually saved every single note.”
And every time she pulls them out to read them, she’s reminded of how special Kyan’s birth story is. A story she believes wouldn’t be complete without Richardson.
“In labor and delivery, it’s just another day for you, but for that person, it’s their whole world – their whole life,” Richardson said. “It’s that one day that they may never get ever again. To be a part of that – to make that day the most special day of their life is what I want to try to make happen every day.”
“I’ll say it again: She was my guardian angel that day,” Sasha added. “And there’s no way I would have been able to do that day without her.”