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Angels Wear Scrubs and Work in GBMC’s NICU


Bri Rogers, Morgan Varley

June 11, 2020
Cyndi holding Jade for the first time
Jade, who would be welcomed as their third child in September 2019, was a complete surprise for Brandon and Cyndi. About halfway through the second trimester, Jade’s growth rate began to slow, posing a great concern for the health of their child. Due to her airway being so narrow and underdeveloped, Jade was given a less than 10% chance of resuscitation if they chose to deliver. Tears were shed in abundance for what seemed like weeks on end. Cyndi had to be seen by her OB-GYN three times a week for ultrasound monitoring, knowing that at any given visit they may not hear a heartbeat.

Combined with other risk factors, Brandon and Cyndi ultimately had "the talk" with their OB-GYN after an ominous visit for an ultrasound. They were faced with a decision that no parent should ever have to make – deliver Jade early or wait and risk the health of both mom and baby.

Jade in the NICU
During one visit, Cyndi’s care team decided that the risks of continuing with gestation were higher the risk of delivering via cesarean. The scene inside the operating room was surreal. “Every member of the delivery team will forever have our gratitude for safely bringing our daughter into the world,” Brandon and Cyndi expressed.

When Jade was born, she weighed barely over 15 ounces – including all of the life support and monitoring equipment connected to her tiny, frail body. Brandon and Cyndi only had a brief moment to glance at her before she was taken to the NICU where the next step of her journey would begin. Jade was in the NICU for four months and, during that time, Brandon and Cyndi were humbled by the care provided by the nurses who acted as if their daughter was one of their own.

Jade on Halloween
Each evening when Brandon and Cyndi would visit, they were greeted with smiles. The team would explain how Jade's day went and make sure her parents understood her care plan for the next few days. After many ups and downs and spending her first Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s in the NICU, Jade was finally given the green light to be discharged in late January. She tipped the scales at a whopping 8 pounds and 1 ounce, and was paraded around the NICU as every nurse, doctor, and staff member took the time to say goodbye.

It was hard for Brandon and Cyndi to sum up their experience in the NICU with just a few words. “It was a bittersweet moment for our family. Although our NICU journey was long and often overwhelming, we were the recipients of some of the most genuine and pure acts of kindness I've ever known. The GBMC NICU is home to some of the most professional and compassionate nurses, doctors, and administrative personnel I have ever encountered. Though I'm not a man of faith, our NICU experience has led me to believe that if there are angels in this world, they wear scrubs and work in the GBMC NICU,” Brandon said.
Jade graduating from the NICU, ready to go home!
Jade, happy and healthy, at home with Brandon and Cyndi

You can help GBMC’s NICU and their tiniest patients by donating to or participating in the 33rd Annual Father’s Day 5K and 1-Mile Fun Walk. We encourage our community to sign up for either distance and participate. Feel free to invite friends and family to join you in registering! All proceeds from this event benefit the NICU.

Watch below as Brandon, Cyndi, and Jade explain why they are involved in the 5K.
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