BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – About 3,500 babies are born at Women and Children’s Hospital every year, and on Monday, the hospital held a special birthday celebration for one of them.
Hadley Nicole Dworak just turned one. She’s a happy, alert little girl who was a little skeptical about getting frosting on her hands as she enjoyed her birthday cake in a hospital conference room Monday morning.
In the crowd of those helping her celebrate was Labor and Delivery Nurse Nicole Kenney. Hadley Nicole was named in Kenney’s honor.
“Nicole was my nurse and she just put up with my sarcasm and laughed with me and helped me through everything,” explained Hadley’s mom, Sara. “And she stayed on overtime to be there for the C-section.”
That emergency C-section happened one year ago Sunday, when Sara Dworak was only 27 weeks pregnant.
Her husband was out of town on a business trip, it was her first night away from her then-two year old son, and her O.B. was at a different hospital.
She was alone and overwhelmed, and she had a bit of an attitude with the staff at Women and Children’s. “I was completely freaking out and scared,” Dworak recalled.
“I kind of gave her some tough love for a little bit, and I think that’s when she like decided to love me because I gave it right back to her. And I’m just glad that I could have been her nurse,” Nicole Kenney said.
One year later, it was an emotional reunion for Kenney as she met little Hadley and her family again. “She’s adorable. I couldn’t wait to see her,” she said.
As Hadley’s brother helped her open her gifts and blow out her birthday candle, it was a happy celebration for everyone who had gathered to mark the little girl’s one year milestone. It was especially happy for the staff from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where Hadley spent her first 73 days.
“I credit the staff here for her being alive,” Dworak said. “If it weren’t for them, I don’t know where we would be.”
And, Dworak says she doesn’t know where she would be without Kenney, who helped her get through that scary night last year.
Kenney found out a few days after Dworak had left the Labor and Delivery department that her former patient had named her baby in her honor. Even now, Kenney chokes up when she remembers getting that news. “I don’t do what I do to get recognition,” she said, her voice thick with emotion. “It’s just as nurses, that’s what we do, so when something like this happens, it’s huge. It solidifies that I’m doing what I should be doing.”
Kenney and Dworak have recently connected on Facebook, so Kenney can watch little Hadley grow up. She says she’s already looking forward to many more happy birthdays ahead.