NORFOLK -- As you might expect, I began my shift as an NICU nurse at CHKD washing my hands thoroughly.
There are 70 beds in the NICU unit and last year 500 babies were cared for in here.
The focus of our attention was little Clay Renert, who was born at 23 weeks on March 1 and weighed just 1.4 pounds.
I was working with Christy, a registered nurse who has cared for premature infants like Clay for 33 years.
Clay has gained weight since March and is now up to 2.3 pounds. He is dealing with a gastro intestinal problem.
Clay's mom Kristal Renert says it has been a rough road.
"Minimal sleep and constantly calling in and checking in when I can't be here," said Renert.
Like a lot of nurses, Christy relates to families, even making homemade quilts for some. Sadly, sometimes they are used as bereavement blankets.
"It's very hard because you see them grow. You see them go through all of their trials and tribulations. The really, really bad to the really, really good and you kind of go on that roller coaster ride with mom and dad," said NICU nurse Patricia Compton.
The hope is Clay will develop like baby Joziah Brown. At five months, Joziah weighs six pounds. I was assigned to take his blood pressure, wrapping the tiniest band around his leg.
In the end, the confidence expressed by parents means everything to the registered nurses in the NICU.
"You know you feel comfortable with leaving them here because they love them just as much as you do. So you know they're going to be well taken care of," said Joziah's mother Patrice Brown.