Hillsboro mom names newborn after Kaiser nurse
In her 13 years of nursing, Kyleen Leineweber has helped deliver hundreds of babies. Nothing surprises her anymore. As a labor and delivery nurse at Hillsboro's Kaiser Westside Medical Center in Tanasbourne, she has seen it all.
But last month, after helping deliver the baby of a Hillsboro woman, she saw something brand new.
As she looked over routine documents after a particularly scary childbirth, she caught sight of her name on the baby's official forms.
The baby's parents, Ketty and Israel Cuza, had named their newborn baby after her.
Leineweber, a certified registered nurse in the hospital's labor and delivery wing, said she was in shock.
"To see your own name written there, I was in shock," she said. "It was really cool."
The baby's mother, 30-year-old Ketty Cuza, said she was inspired to name the baby after her nurse because of the outstanding care she received. A mother of six, Cuza said she has never had a delivery nurse like Leineweber.
"I felt like I had someone there for me," Cuza said. "She was super amazing. The other nurses were fine, but she was 'Wow.' I felt like she cared."
Cuza and Leineweber met a week earlier, during a visit to the hospital. Cuza said she instantly felt a connection to the nurse.
"I was just so amazed with her," Cuza said. "I told her I hoped she would be my delivery nurse. She joked I had to have the baby on a day she was going to be at work."
Cuza faced serious complications during her pregnancy. A tumor had been discovered and was threatening to harm the baby and herself. She was scheduled to be induced Feb. 1, a month before the baby's due date, but ended up in the hospital a few days early after her blood pressure soared.
After being admitted to the hospital, teams of worried doctors regularly came to check on her condition, Cuza said.
"One doctor looked at me, then looked at the clock and said, 'If she's not ready by 1 p.m., we're doing a C-section,'" Cuza said. "It was scary."
Leineweber said she didn't want the stress Cuza's medical team was feeling to make their way to her patient.
"Ky told me she wasn't scared," Cuza said. "She told me the baby was going to be fine."
Cuza and her husband had planned to name the baby Anastasia, but changed their minds after their experience at Kaiser.
"She was a guardian for me," Cuza said. "My mom passed away when I was a baby. I never had that connection, I never had someone to say, 'I'm here for you,' in that way. She was an angel. I'm from Florida, I'm not used to people being so nice to me, but she made me feel great."
As a nurse, Leineweber said her job is to make expectant mothers as comfortable as possible.
"This world is very chaotic. Babies need to come into a very calm environment," she said. "As a parent, you will remember this moment forever. It has to be perfect. Anything less than perfect is unacceptable."
Leineweber said she wants every mother to feel at home in her hospital.
"We talk a lot here about the 'wow experience,'" Leineweber said. "They need us to be like family. That's a big job and I take that very seriously. When a new mother tells me their mom is on their way, but won't be here in time. I'm there for them. It's an honor to serve as someone's sister or in place of their mother. Our job is to adapt and be what you need."
While in labor, Cuza told Leineweber about her plan to name the baby Kyleen.
"I didn't believe her," Leineweber said.
Leineweber didn't realize her patient was serious until later that day, looking at the baby's official paperwork. She said she burst into tears at the sight. It was the greatest honor a delivery nurse can receive, Leineweber said.
"I've been a nurse for 13 years, and sometimes patients send me thank you cards or letters," Leineweber said. "This is the first time anyone's named their baby after me."
Maggie Huffman, a spokeswoman with Kaiser Permanente, which runs the hospital, said it's not uncommon for laboring mothers to sometimes tell their anesthesiologists they'll name the baby after them, thankful for the pain-killing drugs, but Huffman said she's never heard of someone actually following through.
Cuza's story has been featured on local television since her daughter's birth. In the weeks since, Huffman said, two other mothers have given their babies the middle names of Kaiser Westside nurses.
"They are named Elizabeth and Joy," Huffman said.
On Monday, baby Kyleen slept restfully in Leineweber's arms as she chatted with the baby's mother in the delivery waiting room. It was the first time Leineweber has seen the infant since the family left the hospital a month ago.
"She's perfect," Leineweber said looking down at the infant. "My little mini-me."
By Geoff Pursinger
Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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