The parents of a baby boy who spent six months fighting for his life in the neonatal intensive care unit asked his adoring nurse to become his godmother and remain in his life forever.
Austyn Evans, 28, of Florida, and her husband, Branden Williams, welcomed their son, Conrad, on December 15 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
The newborn had kidney problems and breathing difficulties, necessitating the use of a ventilator. Carly Miller, a 27-year-old nurse, looked after Conrad during his first five days in the NICU and formed an instant bond with his parents.
‘The way she talked to him when she was doing his vitals or she was taking blood, she was constantly talking to him in this really cute little mom voice and trying to be as comforting as she could even though he was extremely sedated,’ Evans told Today of the ‘charismatic’ NICU nurse.
Evans was transferred from her local Florida hospital to Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women after a 20-week anatomy scan revealed that her son had a kidney blockage and would most likely require special care after birth.
The pregnant woman also lacked amniotic fluid, a condition known as oligohydramnios. Low amniotic fluid raises the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth and can result in severe abnormalities such as underdeveloped lungs.
The goal was for her baby to grow as much as possible, but he had to be delivered early because his heart rate began to drop.
Conrad needed machines to help him grow after he was born, and his parents could not hold him for more than a month.
Evans found solace in her communication with Miller, the “only person who truly knew Conrad.”
The mother was so moved by Miller’s presence in her son’s life that she asked that she remain his primary nurse when he was transferred to another pod to begin continuous renal replacement therapy, a type of dialysis.
Miller was initially hesitant to follow Conrad because it was the first time this type of dialysis machine had been used with NICU patients at the hospital. Despite her reservations about her lack of experience, she agreed to accept the challenge.
‘A lot of the doctors did not think he was going to make it,’ the nurse told Today. ‘He was one of the smallest babies we’ve ever put on the machine, so it’s pretty groundbreaking for them to have Conrad get through it.’
Miller was a constant source of information and comfort for the baby boy’s parents, who noticed how their son reacted to her presence right away.
‘One of the nights that I was leaving Conrad I was waiting for Carly,’ the mom said. ‘He was just super fussy — I mean ridiculously so. And the moment he saw Carly his eyes lit up. He was super smiley. And when I tried to grab him go give him a hug before I left, he shooed me away.’
Evans described the prospect of never seeing Miller again after Conrad was discharged from the hospital at six months old as “heart-wrenching.” She wished she had asked her to be her son’s godmother before they left.
She ended up inviting the nurse over for a special surprise. She presented her with flowers as well as a note from Conrad asking her to be his godmother. Miller agreed right away.
‘I started bawling. I was like, “Are you serious?” Miller recalled, saying it was ‘the coolest thing’ that has ever happened to her.