There is no doubt that nurses have a special place in our hearts. They work a tremendous amount of time to care for us, and they do so during some of the most challenging parts of our lives.
There are different types of nurses who work with different types of people. One nurse in Indiana, Katrina Mullen (Instagram user @kat_mullen23), works with some of the most vulnerable people in the world. She is a NICU nurse caring for neonatal intensive care unit children.
According to USA Today, Mullen has been a nurse in the NICU for more than 20 years. As you can imagine, she has seen her share of tragedy and triumph during that time.
One of the tragedies that she saw was not with the babies in the NICU but, rather, with a mother. She was an eighth grader, Shariya Small, and she spent a lot of time sitting alone in the NICU by the bedside of her newborn triplets.
Those triplets were born at only 26 weeks gestation, and they had to spend five months at the Community Hospital North NICU in Indianapolis. It happened in 2020, during the pandemic.
According to Today, the teenager was quiet about her personal life, making the nurse wonder why she never had someone to help her or at least a lunch packed to eat.
Mullen spent a lot of time with Small, helping her to understand what would be needed to care for those children. The nurse told her that she also had a son when she was still in school, and she had to put the child up for adoption.
In speaking with Today, Mullen said: “Something shifted after I told her that I was a teen mom.” It was almost as if a door of trust had opened at that time.
One of the difficulties she faced was when it was time to discharge the babies. She didn’t know anything about the family, so she gave the young girl her phone number and said she would be there if she needed help.
Small took her up on the offer, calling her for help or just a shoulder to cry on when she was overcome with emotion. Mullen started to get even more concerned about her support system, not understanding why she got so many calls.
This is when you see how far she was willing to go above and beyond. On one of her days off, she visited Small and realized they didn’t have everything they needed.
Things were so bad that one of the babies ended up in the hospital, and the Department Of Social Services got involved. She spoke about how the teenager and the babies were being removed from the home, but then the social worker said something shocking.
She let Mullen know that Shariya wanted to come live with her. She just needed to know if Mullen was willing.
The nurse knew that it would be practically impossible to find a foster home that would care for all of them. A teenage mom and premature triplets were very difficult to place. She knew she had to do something, as difficult as it might be.
Mullen was already a mother of five children, three still living at home. She was a single parent and wasn’t certified to foster children at the time.
She got busy and took classes to ensure that she could care for Small and the triplets. Friends and family members donated what was necessary so they had plenty of clothes and furniture.
Small also went back to school, graduating with an A- average. She hopes to be a social worker and is now 17 years old.
Since moving in with Mullen and being cared for properly, she has become a great mother and works on her own needs as well. Mullen shared with Today that she moves her every day.
The fostering of Small and the triplets went on for 668 days. Last February, they made it official, and she adopted the teenager, and shared the news on Instagram.
The nurse admits that it was not easy to care for everyone, but she loves her new daughter, saying that she is her mother and is not going anywhere.Whizzco