Crystal Lytle used to be an LPN at an assisted living facility. Five years ago, she decided to switch paths to become a pediatric caregiver. Since April 2018, she’s been helping Baby A’s parents care for him.
Baby A was diagnosed with several heart conditions when he was only two months of age, and at 14 months old, has already undergone heart surgery. It would be easy to assume that due to his circumstances, he would be subdued, but nothing could be further from the truth.
“He loves to play peek-a-boo!” explains Crystal. “And he loves to throw toys from his crib because he thinks it’s funny when adults bend over to pick them up. He just stands there and laughs,” she chuckles as she tells the story.
She enjoys caring for babies because she feels they light up a room. She also understands that parents want to be involved in caring for their baby; they just simply sometimes need a little help.
“Baby A has a three-year-old brother who also has health issues, so his mom has her hands full. I’m at their home while their mom is there, so she’ll focus most of her attention on her toddler and I focus my attention on Baby A. I also stay home with him when his parents have errands to run, which makes that chore a bit easier for them.”
Despite the games and giggles, Crystal has faced some alarming circumstances. “A few days ago, he was playing in his crib, sitting with his back to me, when I noticed that his trach had come out. He can breathe without it, but it causes stress on his heart, so I picked him up immediately and fixed it. It was scary, but I’m also glad that I was there and able to respond quickly in such a situation,” she recounts. “He went back to playing as if nothing happened.”
She also loves to see Baby A learn new things every day. “There are several nurses who rotate shifts, and he can tell who is who, which is endearing. One of the nurses is teaching him sign language, and he’s actually learning it quite well!”
She also shares one of her favorite stories as a caregiver: “Several weeks ago, Baby A’s brother had to be hospitalized for two weeks. When their mom brought him home, as soon as Baby A saw his big brother, he broke into a big smile and started waving his hands.” She gets emotional as she remembers that day. “Telling this story doesn’t do it justice. You had to be there. I had never seen him so excited. It was such a sweet moment, it was almost overwhelming.”
Despite Baby A’s health conditions, Crystal is very happy to report that the prognosis is good. His doctors are confident that eventually, he’ll no longer need constant monitoring, a trach, or a J-Tube.
“Some people think that caring for babies is hard, or that it’s a sad situation to be in, but I disagree. I think it’s joyful. These kids need the same thing as the rest of us. They just need love.”