Meant to Care for These Babies
A childhood dream
“I always knew I’d be caring for babies,” said Stacey Crom, BSN, RN.
As a child, Stacey wanted to be an obstetrician when she grew up. Later, realizing she wanted more time to have and enjoy a family of her own, she thought OB nursing might be the right career choice.
“Then I realized I just wanted to take care of the babies,” said Stacey. “The NICU is where I’m meant to be.”
A voice for the babies
A Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse for 14 years, Stacey is part of the team that opened Methodist Women’s Hospital in June 2010. She loves the teamwork and intimacy involved in caring for these fragile babies and families.
“We get to spend so much time together with our tiny patients and their loved ones, they become like family, and they consider us family,” said Stacey. “It’s very, very rewarding work.”
Compassion for others comes naturally to Stacey. She is a voice for the babies who are fighting for their lives and a source of strength and hope for NICU parents overwhelmed by worry and fear.
“No one expects to end up with a child in the NICU, including me,” said Stacey. “It’s so different when it’s your baby in the NICU.”
A complicated pregnancy
In 2013, Stacey and her husband, Nick, were expecting their third child and another normal pregnancy and delivery, not the complications that nearly took their unborn son’s life.
“Carter was born nine weeks early, weighing just two pounds, five ounces,” said Stacey. “It was the best and worst scenario. I knew he was in the very best hands here, but I was thinking five steps ahead to every possible danger. That first week, I cried nonstop.”
“Today, Carter is a normal three-year-old,” said Stacey. “But I know he wouldn’t be without our NICU team and the maternal-fetal medicine specialists at the Methodist Women’s Hospital Perinatal Center.”
Sharing with others
Stacey readily shares her story with NICU parents.
Like Stacey, Angie Hawkins was experiencing a normal third pregnancy and then suddenly everything changed. When Angie’s water broke at 25 weeks, she was put on bedrest in the high-risk OB unit at Methodist Women’s Hospital.
“Brecken was born 2 ½ weeks later,” said Angie, “and he spent 70 days in the Methodist NICU.”
Angie said that while all of the NICU nurses were great, Stacey was the standout.
“We had complete trust in Stacey,” said Angie. “She knows her stuff. She really knows premature babies, and she knew our Brecken really well. Stacey’s happy, bright face in the room always brightened our day.”
A bond through experience
A special connection was forged that made all the difference to Angie and her husband, Jeff.
“It helped us to know Stacey had had a similar NICU experience. We could see she’d made it, and her little boy had made it,” said Angie. “She gave us hope without sugarcoating anything, always letting us know what was going on so we could be prepared.”
More than a nurse
Today, Brecken is a healthy one-year-old.
“He’s so close to on track that Jeff and I have to think hard to remember Brecken came so early,” said Angie.
It was a scary beginning with a happy ending, and the Hawkins family was delighted to have Stacey join in the celebration.
“She came to the baby blessing for Brecken at our church,” said Angie. “Stacey is not just our son’s nurse but a good friend.”
Stacey was featured in The Meaning of Care Magazine | Spring 2017