When Sudie and Ross Davis lost their first son, Reese William, five days after his birth, the H.E.A.R.T.strings Perinatal Bereavement and Palliative Care program at Northside Hospital went to work.
Reese was born at 23 weeks in February 2022. He spent five days in the Special Care Nursery, also known as the neonatal intensive care unit, at Northside Hospital Atlanta before passing away. “He was taken care of by the most amazing NICU nurses and doctors,” Sudie said. “During those five days, they became like family to us.”
After Reese’s death, members of the H.E.A.R.T.strings team reached out and continued to stay in touch with the Davises. Sudie said the team members “reached out to us, stayed in touch and helped us navigate the healing and grief process.”
Sudie got pregnant again in May 2022 and said her previous experience meant she wanted to return to Northside.
“I was a high-risk pregnancy and found myself at the hospital a few times during my pregnancy,” she said. “Each time, I was taken care of by the most amazing doctors and nurses.”
On Dec. 1, 2022, at 32 weeks of pregnancy, Sudie went into labor. Baker James was born at 4 pounds, 14 ounces. He was 18 inches long.
“The labor and delivery experience was great, given the circumstances, and I couldn’t have asked for a better team of caregivers,” Sudie said. “For being only 32 weeks, he was remarkably healthy.
“We knew we would be in NICU again, but we were comforted knowing that a lot of the same nurses and doctors that took care of Reese would also be taking care of Baker. In fact, Kristi, the NICU nurse that handed Baker to me after delivery, was one of the same NICU nurses that took care of Reese during his time with us!”
After a 35-day stay in the Special Care Nursery — spanning Christmas and New Year’s — Baker came home to Atlanta on Jan. 4, 2023.
“In the months since he came home, he has grown into a thriving, perfect and smiley little boy,” Sudie said. “We are forever indebted to the team at Northside Atlanta, especially the H.E.A.R.T.strings bereavement team and the NICU nurses and doctors.
Without them, we would not have been able to get through the loss of our Reese or successfully bring Baker into this world!”
Sudie’s advice for new parents is simple: “Breathe.”
“Take your time with everything and with your baby,” she said. “Give yourself grace. Pay attention to how you feel during your pregnancy and seek help whenever you think you need it. Get to know your doctors and nurses! If you have a NICU stay, know that your child is in one of the best NICUs and care centers in the country.
“We never felt alone, whether it was after we lost Reese or when we were in NICU with Baker, and that’s because of the amazing people at Northside Atlanta.”
Learn more about maternity excellence at Northside.