On January 27, 2021 Sinai Pearline Hicks was born at Mercy Health – St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital. Sinai was the gift from God that her mother, Sharon Hicks, had been waiting on for many years. In fact, Sharon named Sinai after the biblical location of where the 10 commandments were given to Moses by God.
At 30 years old, Sharon had been trying to have a baby for years. When she learned she was pregnant with Sinai, she was beyond overjoyed.
“I cried,” Ashley Hicks, Sharon’s sister, shares. “We had talked for so long about raising our kids together. In many ways, Sharon was a second mom to both me and my children.”
As for many of us, COVID-19 has changed our world. But for Sinai, COVID-19 changed her life forever. This is because Sharon tragically died of COVID-19, just 14 days after giving birth. Sinai was in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) when it happened.
“Sharon was a strong, strong woman,” Naomi Lundy, Sharon’s mother, says. “Sinai is just like her already, in so many ways.”
During this time of unimaginable loss, an idea from one of our nurses caring for Sharon would have a lasting impact on Ashley, Naomi and Sinai.
Recalling the first time she met Sharon, Heather Micco, an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse at St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital remembers, “she was awake, alert and showed me a dozen photos of her newborn baby girl. I’ve spent a great deal of time with COVID-positive patients the last year. Each is special, Sharon was no different. She had an incredible presence.”
When Sharon became more critical, Heather wanted to make sure that baby Sinai knew how big her mom’s heart was, especially for her firstborn.
“I wanted to make sure she could hear her mom,” Heather shares. “I didn’t want anything to happen where she would never feel what most babies feel, their mother’s heartbeat.”
Heather drove to the local Build-a-Bear workshop where she purchased a bear that hid something special, a voice recorder. Driving back to the hospital, Heather remembers not knowing if her plan would work or not.
“I wasn’t sure how to get a recording of Sharon’s heartbeat, but I knew I had to try, I had to find a way.”
A doctor on Sharon’s care team knew exactly how to help. Using an echocardiogram, the team recorded her heartbeat on the device and then placed it back into the teddy bear. Following Sharon’s passing, they presented the bear to her family. The impact of this small gesture will most certainly last a lifetime.
“It’s one thing to have a picture, but another thing to have this, Sharon’s heart,” Ashley shares.
“In my 26 years as a nurse, I’ve met many patients. But Sharon will be one that I’ll never forget,” Heather adds. “Unless you’ve experienced COVID-19 first-hand, there is not more we can say on how devastating the effects have been. The community has been incredible in their support for us and our patients. However, for the few who may not think COVID-19 is serious, I hope they can respect what I’ve gone through, what my colleagues have gone through and what families have gone through.”
Ashley and Naomi both share there wouldn’t be a day where baby Sinai isn’t reminded of her incredible mother, a woman who was strong, vibrant and who had so much love to give this world.
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