LOCAL FOLKS: NICU nurse claims big family

By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

Missy Rorie of New Albany has three children she brought into the world, and a legion of babies whose lives she fought for.
“I love them like they’re mine,” said Rorie, who has worked as a neonatal intensive care unit nurse at North Mississippi Medical Center’s Women’s Hospital for nearly 22 years.
There’s a special bond between the small staff of nurses, physicians and respiratory therapists in the NICU and the families of the premature babies.
“We have babies that are here three to four months,” Rorie said. “We really get attached to them, and they get attached to us.”
Kristi Davis still stays in touch with Rorie and the NICU nurses, who took care of her daughter, Miracle Faith, who weighed 1 pound, 1 ounce when she was born in January 2008.
“They were like second moms for my child,” Davis said.
Rorie in particular had a deft touch at getting Miracle to take a bottle, which can be a challenge for preemies. When Miracle became gravely ill with meningitis less than a month after going home from the NICU, the staff at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital couldn’t get her to eat and were considering a feeding tube, Davis said. Rorie drove to Memphis and coaxed Miracle to take a bottle.
“She’s more like family,” Davis said.
Rorie’s family of NICU babies overlaps with her church family at Hillcrest Baptist in New Albany, too.
“I have a picture with 20 of them,” that she took care of in the NICU or assisted with their deliveries, Rorie said.
Tracy Crawford, whose son Lijah, is one of the babies in the picture, said she is still so touched that Rorie volunteered to stay late to transport Lijah to the NICU from Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County in New Albany where he was born 61⁄2 weeks early in May 2011.
“She made sure we got to see him before they left New Albany,” Crawford said.
Her fellow NICU nurses say Rorie is a strong link in the NICU team, bringing years of experience and a calm, warm presence to her work.
“She’s very good at what she does,” said NICU nurse Donna Vandevander.
On Saturday, Rorie and the rest of the physicians and staff of the Women’s Hospital NICU will get to see how their former charges have grown at the annual NICU reunion.
“It’s just like family coming home,” Rorie said. “We love to see their progress.”
michaela.morris@journalinc.com