Some nurses help bring hundreds of babies into the world over the course of their careers. But only a few of them get to reunite with these young patients over two decades later. Debbie Layton was shocked to discover that she is now working alongside one of the quadruplets she helped deliver 22 years ago.
Ben Hellebusch, a nursing student at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, was doing rounds at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis in late June when the nursing instructor told the staff at the hospital that Hellebusch is a quadruplet who was delivered at the very same hospital where he is working.
The story spread among the staff, eventually making its way to Layton, who has been a nurse at Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s Neonatal Assessment Center for the last 26 years. She remembered being there for Ben’s birth and watching his brothers come into the world. His birth was notable because his mother named him and his three brothers alphabetically, starting with Adam, Ben, Chris, and Dylan.
“The memorable thing for me was when mom is pregnant and babies are inside, we label them A, B, C, D, and so on … but now they’re 1, 2, 3, 4. But back then, they were still A, B, C, D. Well, I remember them so well, because their mom kept with that theme and named them Adam, Benjamin, Christopher and Dylan. And that’s why I remember Ben so vividly … because I thought it was the cutest thing that she did that,” Layton said.
Hellebusch recounted how his mother eventually landed on the names.
“We are named alphabetically so Adam was the firstborn. So, he’s A. I was the second born, B, and then Chris and Dylan,” Hellebusch said. “My mom was just talking about how they were trying to figure out what names to call all of us and I think she said she wrote down like one or two names for every letter in the alphabet. And I guess whenever the time came, they just decided to go right down the list.”
It made for an adorable photo opportunity when Ben was a toddler, but now all four brothers are grown up and pursuing different careers.
Layton admits it was “shocking” at first to see Ben working at the hospital.
“I was pretty surprised that I saw him, and I couldn’t believe it. It was pretty astonishing to see him at 22 years of age,” she said.
Hellebusch was also taken aback. “How often do you get to see the person who helped take care of you let alone being in that room?” he added. “It was a cool experience.”
In addition to his three brothers, Hellebusch has two younger sisters – Elizabeth and Maria – who are also pursuing nursing careers.
And he continues to share a close bond with the other quadruplets. “We’re all close. Definitely have to be close to your quadruplet boys. We all shared the same room when we were younger and had a great relationship, still do,” he said.
Layton is thrilled to have Hellebusch as a colleague. She is excited to see what he does next and hopes to keep in touch going forward.
“I want to see where he goes and what he does and just say hello now and then and see what he’s up to. I think that’d be kind of neat,” she said.
She hopes he decides to become a NICU as well. “I told him to go into neonatal nursing,” she said. “I said you should try to go run with the NICU. There aren’t many guys in neonatal nursing, but we do have one or two and I said he would probably be good at it.”