2016 Working Mother of the Year: Amy Strasburg
Madison, Wisconsin - A registered nurse in pediatric orthopedics, Amy Strasburg has worked at UW Health for more than 5 years. A few years after joining the organization, Strasburg gave birth to a 4-pound, 13-ounce little girl named Avery. It was a happy and healthy pregnancy, but after she was born, doctors were concerned there could be something wrong.
"She was three days old when we found out she has Trisomy 18, also called Edwards syndrome," Strasburg said. "Basically, she has an extra chromosome 18 on all of her cells, instead of two like we normally have."
Statistics indicate fewer than 10 percent of children with Trisomy 18 survive until their first birthday, and many are stillborn, miscarried or pass away within the first days or weeks of their life. Avery is now 19 months old and doing wonderfully.
"We do see maybe half of the pediatric specialists at American Family Children's Hospital; she has a lot of appointments," Strasburg said. "Overall, she is doing really well and surprising everybody. Just yesterday I said, 'well, when she goes to school…,' and that was a realization for me. Before, I would have never said that because my husband and I were told she wasn't going to survive. And now, here I am thinking about school."
Being a pediatric nurse was such a blessing for Strasburg in caring for Avery, she says, because it really has helped her understand what some of our patients with special needs and their parents go through, being thrown into this world of medical terms and different things that people have probably never been exposed to.
"I'm so thankful that we live so close to such an amazing hospital and that I have that experience and background to know what questions to ask and know what to worry about and what not to worry about," Strasburg said. "Of course, all that occasionally goes out the window, too, because I'm her mom."
To juggle a fast-paced pediatric specialty and a special-needs child, Strasburg gives a lot of credit to her family for all the support they provide, bending over backward every single day to help out where they can. She also credits her coworkers and the support they provide, as well, when Strasburg needs to attend appointments for Avery, or when Avery is sick and Strasburg has to take time off.
"When they say it takes a village, that's definitely true," Strasburg said, "especially with a child with special needs."
So Strasburg said she was was "so shocked and humbled and honored" when she found out she was named University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics' 2016 Working Mother of the Year. For the 10th year in a row, UW Hospitals and Clinics has been named one of the top 100 employers for working parents by Working Mother Magazine. Stasburg's nomination came in conjunction with the hospital receiving its recognition from the magazine.
"In some ways, I feel like I don't deserve it because mothers in general are so hard on themselves," Strasburg said. "I'm Avery's mom and we just do what we need to, and any other mom would do the exact same thing if they worked and had a family and wore all these other hats of being a wife, mom, friend and sister."
"I think it's really wonderful we have this award to honor working moms because it's a really, really hard job," Strasburg said. "I don't think that people recognize that enough."
On August 8, Avery became a big sister to a happy, healthy little girl named Evelyn. No doubt the Strasburgs' village will get a little bigger and give even more love and support as the family grows.
Date Published: 09/30/2016