Inspiring Stories

‘She Made My Last Experience a Great Experience’: Nurse Recognized for Navigating Couple Through the Birth of Their Final Child

Published: June 9, 2021

Alysha Merksick and her fiance weren’t planning on having any more children.

“Huge surprise,” said Alysha, whose other children are 20, 17 and 12.

And having a child later in life was only the beginning of her worries in the middle of a pandemic.

“I had to go to every visit alone,” she said. “I understood why, but there were just so many what-ifs.”

“Providing the Why”

When it came time to deliver at the newly renovated Anne Elizabeth Nelson Women and Newborns Center at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital, Alysha was welcomed by a friendly face.

“Her smile, her attitude – everything about her was genuine,” Alysha said of labor and delivery nurse Sarah Thomsen, BSN, RN.

It was comforting to Alysha, who had delivered all of her children at Jennie Edmundson but felt like a first-time mom in that moment.

“Just because you’ve had kids before doesn’t mean you understand the process of labor and delivery and all the medical parts that go with it,” Thomsen said. “Things change. And that was especially true since her last child over a decade ago. Our practices are completely different. So, I just made sure to walk her through every step of the process.”

She also made sure to include Dad in those steps while explaining the reason behind everything. For Thomsen, who’s been with Methodist for more than 10 years, it’s the best part of her job: educating moms, dads and families.

Sarah Thomsen, BSN, RN, is Methodist Jennie Edmundson's DAISY Recipient

“Just providing the why – why we do the things that we do,” she said. “Why I’m here at the bedside with you as opposed to sitting out at the desk. I like to explain what we’re seeing on the monitors, what your body is doing and how it’s changing during the delivery process. I think they kind of enjoyed learning a little bit – even though they’ve been through it before.”

Being There for Their Last

Benzlee Nicole was born a few weeks early on Dec. 20. Although Thomsen wasn’t Alysha’s nurse the following day, she still made it a point to come check on the proud new parents and their sweet baby girl.

“She was just as excited about her as we were,” said Alysha, who nominated Thomsen for The DAISY Award, a national honor that recognizes the extraordinary care of nurses.

When Thomsen saw the couple at her DAISY celebration, she immediately remembered the enjoyable shift they helped create.

Sarah Thomsen, BSN, RN, is Methodist Jennie Edmundson's DAISY Recipient

“They were just the type of family that makes your job fun,” she said. “The family where you go in, you make conversation with them, you laugh, you joke, and you get to know them on a personal level. I just remember it being a really fun day. And the fact that it was their last. I think there’s always something special knowing that – the final baby in the family.”

Sarah Thomsen, BSN, RN, is Methodist Jennie Edmundson's DAISY Recipient

It’s something Alysha will remember forever.

“She gave me confidence. She taught me that, ‘Yeah, I’m a new mom again, but I can do this.’ She made my last experience a great experience.”

“Everyone has this idea of what their labor is going to be like and how that day is going to unfold for them,” Thomsen said. “I try really hard to make sure I give it to them. I want everyone to walk away with, ‘My nurse truly cared about the experience I had.’”

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About the Author

Jessica Gill, the External Communications Manager for Methodist Health System, is a former television news anchor and journalist. She has a passion for story-telling and illustrating Methodist’s Meaning of Care.

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