How many pregnant nurses does it take to save the lives of babies in need?
At this one intensive care nursery, 36 to be exact.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery (NICU) at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, Missouri, had an impressive number of 36 pregnant nurses due in 2019.
Allison Ronco, 32, a critical care education coordinator and nurse, was the first of three dozen to give birth, to a beautiful baby boy named Henry, on January 7.
“We always have a baby boom going on like this,” Ronco told “Good Morning America.” “For us, it is just our normal. Patients joke to not drink the water in this place unless you want to get pregnant.
"We have an amazing support system," Ronco added, "there is no shortage of parental advice among us.”
No shortage, indeed, as Children’s Mercy shared on Facebook a picture on July 23 of the 36 women with their babies or their baby bumps on full display.
So far, 21 babies have been born. The boys certainly take the majority, as only two babies so far are girls.
Melanie Cole, a nurse among four others who are tipping the gender scale and expecting baby girls later this year, noting how she pulls on the experiences of the other women she works with.
“You’re immediately swept into this Mama Tribe, you and your baby,” Cole told “GMA.” “It is just a fun group to be able to grow with, learn from and always feel like you have someone in your corner that supports you and your baby.”
As a Level IV NICU, these women handle some of the most complex and critically ill infants in the Midwest.
“Most of us take our babies home as healthy babies, and to work where you help very sick babies gives you a different perspective and a whole new level of empathy,” Ronco told “GMA.” “We do it because we love the babies.”
One nurse truly gained a new perspective on the parents of the patients she sees daily at Children’s Mercy when she became one herself.
Sarah Carboneau, 27, took her baby boy Ben -- born on February 9 -- home and about five days after giving birth, her pediatrician noticed an abnormality. A cardiac clinic found that Ben was born with a heart defect.
“I was a mess because I’ve seen a lot of things [as a nurse]. It was an out-of-body experience because I knew what to expect when he was getting transported to the NICU,” Carboneau told “GMA.” “I was surrounded by everyone I knew. Feeling all of the love was overwhelming, but [Children’s Mercy] took amazing care of him and was able to [be] fixed with surgery a couple days later.”
Ben has since recovered as a happy and healthy boy, meeting all of his developmental milestones with flying colors. However, as nurse at Children’s Mercy for five years, it only took the three days of being the worried mother in the waiting room to completely alter Carboneau’s outlook.
“I was nervous about going back to work, as it was the most traumatic event of my life,” Carboneau said. “There was another baby with the same diagnosis with Ben. I talked with the mom to give her some peace of mind to share Ben’s experience … the positive outcome of Ben made me more grateful and blessed, and has reaffirmed what I do every day.”
“These girls helped me get through this time in my life because they were able to support me even just by reminding me to eat and to bring me coffee,” she added.
Suffice it to say that babies have been at the core of these nurses’ friendships with each other, whether it be sequential births of their own or by helping save the lives of others.
“We definitely truly are all really good friends,” Ronco said. “We are all raising these babies together.”