Erin Emerson

April 19, 2022
Erin Emerson
Erin Emerson

Nurse goes out of her way to make a bond through a blanket

When a mother and her newborn were required to be on separate units during the COVID-19 pandemic at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital, Women’s Care Nurse Erin Emerson knew firsthand how to make the most of the situation.

“I had a baby who was in the NICU during the height of COVID-19,” Emerson said. “When I came back, I had a whole different perspective from the parent side. You just see how emotional that separation can be.”

In her patients’ case, the infant was in the women’s care unit, which at the time allowed one visitor per patient. The mother was in the ICU, which allowed no visitors. Before the pandemic, newborns could be brought to visit their mother in the ICU for skin-to-skin contact – an important part of the bonding experience for both mother and baby.

Since that wasn’t an option, Emerson found the type of small blanket she’d used when her daughter was in the NICU. She brought it to the mother, who was able to place it on her chest for a few moments. Then she brought the blanket to the women’s care unit and rested the newborn’s head on it.

“That scent is very, very powerful,” Emerson said. “We did what we could to give the mother something after she had lost complete control over her birth. Usually, that’s the one time you come to the hospital that it’s a happy experience.”

Emerson said the pandemic has changed some expectations for family members of newborns, but that she’s “very, very thankful” the hospital continued to allow a support person throughout the changes in restrictions. Her own daughter is in good health after she was born in October 2020.

“Everleigh is a thriving, emotionally-unstable toddler,” she said with a smile.

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About the author

Robert Allen loves meeting new people and learning their stories, and he's continually inspired by the patients, staff and providers he meets at UCHealth.

A journalist for 12 years, he joined UCHealth after reporting and editing at the Detroit Free Press. He is the author of Fading Ads of Detroit, a book exploring connections between classic Detroit brands — from Carhartt to Mac-O-Lac Paints to the Detroit Tigers — found on ghost signs and the personal histories of Detroit residents. He previously reported for the Fort Collins Coloradoan, Summit Daily News and Montrose Daily Press.

His outdoor adventures include scrambling summits, hunting powder stashes via snowboard and taking a three-week winter rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. The Oklahoma State University graduate lives in Fort Collins with his wife, Rachel, and their obstinate pug, Darla.

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