A preemie who beat all odds returns to thank her Sentara nurses.

A preemie baby comes back to thank staff

Image Tina Hunter Hr Sngh Nicu Womens Image Tina Hunter Hr Sngh Nicu Womens Image Tina Hunter Hr Sngh Nicu Womens

In June 1988, Tina Hunter and her husband were stationed in Norfolk and expecting their first baby girl. Tina had preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), and at 28 weeks she experienced difficulties. Tina was in great danger, as was her baby girl, Melanie. Without the care they received at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Tina and Melanie could have died.

Tina and her family now live in Wisconsin, but they still remember the wonderful care they received after they rushed to the hospital under doctor’s orders.

Twenty-two years after giving birth to Melanie, Tina asked to tour the NICU. She wanted to celebrate her daughter’s college graduation and to show her where she came from.

Carrying on the compassion

Head Nurse Ann Barnes, RN, BSPA, gave the tour. They chatted with nurses, eight of whom were working at the hospital during the time of Melanie’s birth.

 “Wow! We really do have a big impact on people, don’t we?,” said Janice R. Copeland, RN, one those nurses. 

Tina believes that the nurses’ kindness shown during her hospital stay was instilled within her daughter.

As the family walked around the preemie unit, they met a mother holding her 5-pound baby girl. Tina shared with the mother that her daughter, who weighed just 2 pounds and 7 ounces at birth, is now a healthy, 22-year-old, who had no health issues growing up. Melanie hit all of her developmental milestones and was even ahead on some. The visit ended with Melanie holding the woman’s tiny preemie, connecting with her, just as Sentara nurses did with her so many years ago.  

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