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Lilly's Story

Jun 6, 2019

Saint Francis-Bartlett's NICU Reunion Brought Back Memories For the Voss Family

Several hundred children, ranging in age from less than a year to 12 years old, attended the Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) reunion.  The reunion brought together nurses, doctors, and other caregivers with the babies and families they once cared for at Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett.

One of those was the Voss family. Collins and Lesley Voss closed on their new house in Ripley on the morning of December 5, 2014. The last thing they were planning on doing that day was having a baby.

The Voss family with the nurses that cared for Lilly.“After we closed on the house, we headed down to Memphis,” explained Lesley. “I was 26 weeks pregnant, so I had a checkup scheduled with the doctor. After that, we were planning on going Christmas shopping and having dinner to celebrate our new house.”

However, those plans quickly changed. At the doctor’s office, it was discovered that Lesley’s blood pressure was high. An ultrasound revealed little movement by the baby in the womb. Lesley was immediately sent to Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett for more tests.

“The doctor had originally said we may be having a baby that night,” said Collins. “As a result of complications with the baby’s heart rate and my wife’s blood pressure, the doctor said, ‘You’re having a baby right now!’ That was at 8:32 p.m. Lilly Claire was born at 9:31.”

Lilly was born healthy, but weighed less than two pounds. To put in perspective just how small she was, Collins could take his wedding ring, put it over Lilly’s foot, and slide it all the way up her leg. Lilly would spend the next five weeks in the Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett NICU.

Lesley and Collins made the 75 minute trip from Ripley to Bartlett every day to see their daughter. It was a physically and mentally exhausting time for the couple, and they came to rely upon the nurses in the hospital’s NICU.

“We couldn’t be here every minute of every day, but we had total trust in the nurses that were caring for Lilly,” said Lesley. “Anything we needed or wanted, they would do their best to help with. One of the nurses was going to be out of town over the Holidays, and she even offered to let us stay at her house. We will never forget that kindness.”

Over the next several weeks, Lilly grew and built up her strength. On January 16, 2015, she finally was able to join Lesley and Collins in their new home.

“It was great to be at the reunion and to see the nurses that helped us so much,” said Lesley. “Even after we left the hospital, we would call or text them with questions, and they were always willing to help. They were so concerned about all three of us. I don’t believe we could have gotten better care anywhere.”

“It was amazing how close we became with the people taking care of Lilly,” said Collins. “I know this is a NICU reunion, but for us it really feels like a family reunion.”