Last July, labor and delivery nurse Caty Nixon had an emotional moment after working more than 50 hours in four days — during which she delivered a stillborn baby. She was eating dinner at her twin sister Laura McIntyre’s house when the weight and exhaustion of it all hit her like a ton of bricks.
On October 10, McIntyre posted a photo of that emotional July moment to Facebook with a tribute to her sister’s hard work and selfless nature. The post quickly went viral and to date has been shared more than 133,000 times. In her post McIntyre wrote:
“she’s gonna kill me for this pic, but can we just give it up for nurses for a minute?
caty just wrapped up her fourth shift in a row. that’s around 53+ hours in four days. that’s not including the 1.5 hours she’s in the car each day. she usually doesn’t get a chance to eat lunch or even drink much water. (& she has to dress like a blueberry.. i mean, come on). she is so good at what she does that she often forgets how to take care of herself while she’s taking care of her patients.
this pic is from a night back in july where she came to my house after a particularly hard day. she delivered a stillborn. have you guys ever really thought about what a labor & delivery nurse sees? they see great joy in smooth deliveries & healthy moms & babies. they see panic & anxiety when a new mom is scared. they see fear when a stat c-section is called. they see peace when the mom has support from her family – bc not all new moms do. they see teenagers giving birth. they see an addicted mom give birth to a baby who is withdrawing. they see cps come. they see funeral homes come. did you know that they have to make arrangements for the funeral home to come pick up the baby? i didn’t either.
caty (& all other nurses) – you are SPECIAL. you bless your patients & their families more than you will ever know. thank you for all that you do.”
Wow, does that speak to the magic and importance of what nurses everywhere do! A lot of nurses saw themselves in this and so did many families whose lives have been deeply impacted by nurse service and excellence.
“Any kind of fetal loss is hard, especially for the family, but also for the staff,” Nixon told TIME magazine in October 2019. “I think it’s the worst thing that a family could go through.”
However, Nixon was also quick to note that her job is usually quite happy despite the long hours, but that the moment her sister captured was just “after a long, heartbreaking day.”
Nixon and McIntyre were both surprised by the viral reaction that provoked such an outpouring of love and support from fellow nurses and other healthcare professionals, former patients, and even complete strangers. Nixon was even celebrated this week on “Good Morning America” — check out this video where her sister and husband help surprise her:
I feel like this honor is symbolically for every single RN, allied health professional, and long-term care health professional — because all of you work tirelessly with rare bathroom and hydration breaks, among other stresses, to provide incredible patient care.
In fact, Nixon told TIME that’s she touched by the reaction and hopes her viral moment helps people realize that she’s not alone in her dedication.
“There are caregivers everywhere. Not just nurses, but firefighters and first responders and parents,” Nixon told TIME. “There are people everywhere that give love.”