Last month, Nichole Casper, a maternity nurse at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, was reviewing a list of incoming patients when one name took her breath away.
“No matter how much time has gone by, there are some patients that you never forget,” Casper, 43, told TODAY Parents.
Jacqui Webb, who was critically injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, is one of them. Casper cared for Webb after she was raced to the hospital with severe burns and shrapnel lodged in different parts of her body. At the time of the attack, Casper was working in the medical-surgical unit.
“Jacqui was in so much pain — emotional and physical — but she somehow she managed to stay upbeat and positive,” Casper recalled. “She was constantly thanking us.”
“They went above and beyond, and I was just so grateful,” Webb explained. “I remember thinking, ‘If I ever have a baby, I’m going to deliver here.’”
That’s exactly what she did. On August 21, Webb, 33, and her fiancé, Paul Norden, who lost his right leg in the bombings, returned to deliver their daughter, Ella.
When Webb was wheeled up to recovery after her C-section, Casper was waiting for her.
"I assigned myself to Jacqui," Casper said. "I wanted to be there for her again."
Though it had been more than eight years since they had seen each other, Webb recognized Casper immediately.
"Nichole had this instant calming effect," she said, noting that the reunion brought her joy and comfort.
Webb noted that she had some anxiety about giving birth — specifically about going into labor.
“The whole reason for me having a scheduled C-section was so that I could have a controlled situation. I knew it would be hard for me getting rushed back to a hospital. I still have a lot of trauma,” Webb revealed. “There are good days and bad days. As time has passed, I've had fewer bad days, which is awesome. But there are definitely triggers."
Casper said seeing Webb again brought her some closure. She still carries emotional scars from the double bombings that killed three people and injured 264.
“I’ve been a nurse for almost 21 years. It was one of the worst times in my career seeing all those people that were intentionally harmed.... It never left me," she said. “Being able to see Jacqui during such a joyful time with Paul and their baby… it was just amazing to be able to share that with her.”