These amazing nurses saved 19 NICU babies when Hurricane Laura hit

A crew of nurses and respiratory therapists worked together to transfer the newborns to a safer building.

nicu nurses hurrican laura

An incredible group of nurses is sharing details of the terrifying ordeal they navigated when Hurricane Laura hit Louisiana. The staff at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women sprang into action to protect 19 NICU babies from the storm, setting the bar for what it means to go above and beyond.

The nurses told TODAY that the scariness started even before the storm hit when they had to get all 19 babies to higher ground. A crew of nurses and respiratory therapists worked together to transfer the newborns to a safer building.

If you've ever had a NICU baby hooked up to all sorts of machines and monitors, you can picture just how complicated that would be. TODAY reports that it amounted to about 300 pounds of equipment per child. One nurse shared on Facebook that it took about two hours to get all the babies resettled and that some of the staffers pulled off that feat running on no sleep.


Hero Nurses Care For NICU Babies During Hurricane Laura | TODAY

After that, a full team of nurses settled in for the night as the storm howled outside. Facing winds of up to 150 miles an hour, the nurses put mattresses up against the windows to make sure the babies wouldn't be hurt by any flying glass. "You're in the room and the windows are rattling and the building is shaking… it was a little bit disturbing," NICU director Leah Upton said.

And while the team was laser-focused on the safety of their infants, many of them had their own babies and kids at home riding out the storm. "No one wants to be separated from their families during a time like this, but my four children evacuated with my husband, so I knew that they were in safe hands," Upton said. "I just couldn't imagine what… the mothers of these babies felt during this time because their babies were here. They had to put a lot of trust in us to take care of them." That trust carried the nurses through work shifts that lasted as long as 48 hours for some.

Through it all, the nurses kept the anxious parents of those NICU babies in mind, taking to Facebook with updates. Tabitha Fawcett, mom of a 2-day-old in the NICU, said that the communication helped reassure her through the terrifying night. "Without them we wouldn't have kept our sanity. It was rough, but because of them we were able to really pull through," Fawcett said.

Thanks to the amazing nurses, everyone survived the night unscathed. And as newborns tend to do, the tiny patients just slept right through it. "The babies didn't even realize there was a storm going on," Upton said.

The pandemic has shined a massive spotlight on the heroism of nurses, but stories like this one are a reminder that these amazing caregivers are coming to the rescue every single day, no matter what kind of calamity unfolds. The hurricane has passed and someday the COVID-19 crisis will, too—but the gratitude and awe we show to those who take care of us in the hardest time should never go away.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

Keep reading Show less

Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play