Jacqui Webb was lying in a hospital bed at Tufts Medical Center eight years ago, suffering from life-threatening injuries she got during the Boston Marathon bombing.
So when she returned to Tufts to give birth to her first child last month, she was floored when she ran into Nichole Casper, a nurse she says helped her recovery after the bombing.
Webb was just one of the hundreds injured during the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013.
The race attracted thousands when an unexpected blast went off at 2:49 pm. And then, 14 seconds later, another one sounded more than 200 yards away.
Three of the surviving victims included Webb, her now-fiancé Paul Norden, and his brother JP, who were all standing by the finish line when the bombs went off. Webb was badly burned in the blast, while Norden and his brother both lost their right legs.
“I thank my lucky stars every day that I was brought to that hospital,” Webb said. “And I think when I walked out of there, eight years ago, I said, if I ever had a baby, I’ll be back at that hospital.”
Eight years later, Webb and Norden have a baby girl named Ella as of last month. And when they did, Webb gave birth at Tufts.
And while she was set to give birth on August 29, Webb scheduled a C-section for August 22. She then went into labor early and gave birth on August 21.
Ella Webb Norden was born at 8 lbs., 5 oz. and mom was doing great.
So as doctors wheeled Web out of the delivery room, the new mom locked eyes with Casper — who was excited to meet her in the hallway.
“I think I just looked at her and said, ‘Long time no see’ and she kind of looked at me and she was a little dazed,” Casper shared. “She was like, ‘Oh hi! They told me you were up here waiting for me.’ So it was cute because they were trying to keep her calm downstairs, so they had told her that I was working.”
Casper was working the night of April 15, 2013, and was one of the nurses on rotation who rushed to treat Webb and other victims. During the woman’s three-week stay, the two grew close.
“I believe that the whole kind of staff went through that trauma or tragedy with me, and so I just think that they understand it on a different level,” Webb shared.
Webb says she was “elated” to see Casper, who transferred to the hospital’s Mother-Infant Unit four years ago.
“I was just excited to see her and catch up.”
And for the next three days, the two did. Casper even picked up an extra shift so she could spend more time with Webb.
The new mom said it was so incredibly comforting to be treated by people who understood her entire medical history.
And for Casper, she was just happy to see her patient (and friend) thriving.
“It was a horrifying time, it was one of the worst times in my nursing career seeing those people that injured,” Casper shared. “To be able to see her have a brand-new baby and see her with Paul, it made me extremely happy. You know, it was just something that I’ll probably never experience again in my career.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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