Carrying forward a legacy of love in the NICU

Lindsay Brock has come full circle to start her nursing career at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital, caring for those who are born too early — just like she was.

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When Lindsay Brock was born, the world welcomed a fighter. Lindsay entered this world six weeks earlier than expected. Her early days were marked by medical complications that landed her in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at two Norton Healthcare hospitals. She would spend over a month fighting for her life, being cared for by NICU staff.

“I was born at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital and immediately taken to the NICU because I had two holes in my heart and was suffering from infant respiratory distress. I was intubated for two or three days before I was transported to Norton Children’s Hospital,” Lindsay said.

Now, at age 23, Lindsay has come full circle to start a career as a registered nurse at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital, caring for patients who are tiny, born too early and sick — just like she was in early 2000.

The initial moments of her life were a blur for Lindsay’s parents. Her mother didn’t get to hold her newborn daughter for the first 10 days of her life. To this day, she and Lindsay still cherish a small picture capturing that special moment when their worlds finally reconnected.

“After about a month in the NICU, I was able to come home, and luckily, I didn’t need any serious surgeries or anything,” Lindsay said.

As Lindsay grew up, her parents shared with her the stories of her time in the NICU and how the staff at Norton Healthcare cared for her during her most vulnerable moments. She heard about the nurses who had tirelessly looked after her and the gratitude that her parents felt.

“Growing up, my parents have told me all about the emotional impact it had on them, but I mean, it’s cool because their emotions rubbed off on me,” Lindsay said.

Driven by a deep sense of purpose and an unwavering desire to make a difference, Lindsay made her career choice: “I was torn between so many careers. Then one day, it hit me — all I know how to do is love people, and that’s what I want to do. It all just clicked, and I was like, I’m going to go be a NICU nurse.”

Lindsay enrolled at Galen College of Nursing, graduating this past September and passing her licensing exam in October. Her journey finally came full circle and brought her back to Norton Healthcare, where she’s just begun her career as a NICU nurse.

“NICU nurses are special, because they advocate for those who don’t yet have a voice,” she said. “We take care of those babies like they’re our own.”

She worked tirelessly to land her spot starting this fall at the hospital where she was born and doesn’t take that for granted.

“If I’m having a rough day and I don’t want to go into work, it doesn’t matter. I know I need to get up and go, because at one point in time, that was me who needed to be cared for,” Lindsay said. “Being a nurse, you get to be there for somebody at the worst part of their life and hopefully in some of the best moments.”

As Lindsay begins her NICU nurse journey, she’s looking toward the future and imagining what it will feel like to help her tiny patients.  

“I hope I make an impact, and I hope I make a difference in at least one family’s journey just like my NICU nurses did for my family. I know that the discharge of my first baby [from the NICU] will be really special, and I’m so looking forward to it.”

For Lindsay, being a NICU nurse is not just a job; it’s a calling, fueled by her personal connection and the stories her parents shared with her.

She carries with her an emotional reminder from her father: “In the NICU when my parents weren’t sure if I would make it, my dad told my mom, ‘You know if something was to happen and Lindsay was not to make it, we couldn’t be mad at the people caring for her in this hospital because they left no stone unturned,” Lindsay said. “This motivates me to do the same for my patients and empowers me to put my all into being the best nurse I can.” With each tiny life she touches, Lindsay carries forward the legacy of those who once cared for her and continues to inspire those around her.