NICU Nurse Lisa Stork Honored With The DAISY Award
Meghan Rush, MD, will never forget the moment she cried such happy tears. It was the moment she learned there wasn’t one heartbeat inside her – there were two.
“A little boy and a little girl,” she said with a smile. “My husband, Tim, and I were over the moon.”
Her first trimester was “fine,” she said, but shortly into her second – at 17 weeks – her water broke while she was at work.
Her baby boy, Leyton, was born asleep just a few days later at Methodist Women’s Hospital.
With the help of Methodist maternal-fetal medicine specialist Dan Connealy, MD, Leyton’s sister made it another seven and a half weeks. Hailey was born at 25 weeks via cesarean section. Weighing a little over a pound, she immediately earned a spot inside the Methodist Women’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). That’s where Meghan was met with an incredibly calming force: overnight NICU nurse Lisa Stork, BSN, RN.
“She told me when I needed to worry and when I should stop worrying,” Meghan said. “And I always trusted her.”
“Meghan would call me in the middle of the night to ask how Hailey was doing,” Stork said. “And I would reassure her, ‘Hey, if you can’t sleep, come join me. We’ll hang out in Hailey’s room. We can watch her breathe together.’ I think she took me up on that offer twice.”
Stork always knew what Meghan needed – like beautiful photos of her baby girl. Stork would take them, print them and attach them to Hailey’s NICU door – all to put a smile on Meghan’s face. According to Meghan, it was so much more than a “cute gesture.”
“Those pictures, week after week, allowed us to see the progress Hailey was making,” Meghan said. “When you’re there for as long as we were, it’s hard to imagine your baby ever coming home. And when you see that there has been progress, that she has been growing, it helps you realize that maybe one day it will happen. Maybe she will come home with us.”
And she did. But not before Stork ordered Meghan to start taking care of herself. She knew that Meghan loved to run. She also knew that Meghan hadn’t done it in a while.
“I started making her run around the hospital,” Stork said with a laugh. “We built enough of a rapport that I felt comfortable telling her, ‘You need to get out of this tiny room. You’ve been staring at these same four walls for the past 100 days, and it’s time to go do something for you.’”
After 114 days in the NICU, Hailey proved to her care team that she was finally ready to go home.
Now 3 years old, Hailey is a walking, talking, feisty miracle. She refers to her twin brother as “Nay Nay,” and she asks about him often. She’s “a bit of a peanut” according to Mom, but with no developmental delays, hardly anyone can believe she’s a 25-week survival story. She loves bananas, the Netflix show “CoComelon,” and playing with her little brother, Leland, who was born healthy in October 2019.
Mom and Dad are certain that Hailey is destined for big things. And she’ll start with the title of “flower girl” in May 2022 for Stork’s wedding.
“She’s the reason I love being a NICU nurse,” said Stork, who’s donning more than an engagement ring these days.
She now also wears a shiny pin with a daisy on it. It represents the extraordinary care she’s known for. Thanks to a nomination letter written by Meghan on the most recent anniversary of Leyton’s passing, Stork was honored with The DAISY Award – which recognizes nurses who go above and beyond.
While humbled by the nomination, Stork admits: The gift of Meghan’s friendship has been the biggest honor of all.