On October 10, Laura McIntyre posted a photo she took of twin sister Caty Nixon, a labor and delivery nurse, who was exhausted and in tears after a particularly gruelling string of shifts. The emotional photo and the accompanying caption have been shared more than 110,000 times since then.
“[Caty] is so good at what she does that she often forgets how to take care of herself while she’s taking care of her patients,” McIntyre wrote.
McIntyre — who lives in Forney, Texas — captured the powerful moment back in July when Nixon came to her house after having delivered a stillborn baby.
“Have you guys ever really thought about what a labor & delivery nurse sees?” McIntyre wrote. “They see great joy in smooth deliveries & healthy moms & babies. they see panic and anxiety when a new mom is scared. they see fear when a stat c-section is called.”
McIntyre had been holding onto the photo for months, waiting for the right time to post it, she told HuffPost. Last week, she finally wrote the tribute honoring her sister’s courage and resilience and shared it online.
“It’s hard for her to accept a compliment, so I thought maybe she’d accept it through social media,” McIntyre said.
In the post, McIntyre also highlighted some of the most challenging moments that Nixon and other labor and delivery nurses face on the job.
“They see an addicted mom give birth to a baby who is withdrawing,” McIntyre wrote. “They see cps [Child Protective Services] come. they see funeral homes come. did you know that they have to make arrangements for the funeral home to come pick up the baby? i didn’t either.”
Nixon has no idea “what an incredible nurse she is,” her sister told HuffPost.
“She feels everything her patients feel — excitement, joy, love, fear, anxiety, heartbreak,” McIntyre said. “She’s with them physically, mentally and emotionally. And she has to celebrate and mourn with them.”
McIntyre said she never thought the tribute would blow up the way it has. One of the most gratifying aspects has been the many people “sharing their most vulnerable experiences and tagging their favorite nurses” in the post, she said.
“The best comments are the ones where Caty’s past patients recognize her from the photo and praise her. It’s so special!” McIntyre added. “I hope everyone takes away how easy it is to just simply have a heart of gratitude and truly how far a simple ‘thank you’ can go!”