When neonatal nurse Katrina Mullen first met 14-year-old Shariya Small, she had just given birth to triplets, and she seemed totally alone in the hospital. There were no parents congratulating their daughter and cooing over their new grandbabies and no father gazing in amazement at his children. Instead, there was just a guarded young girl who didn’t want to talk about her life. Katrina knew that she had a decision to make: should she offer the scared teen a lifeline or simply leave her to figure things out for herself?
Shariya finds out she will be a mom
Shariya was only 14 years old in 2020 when she found out over a fateful Mother’s Day weekend that she, in fact, would soon be a mom. Naturally, the young girl was terrified and didn’t feel ready for such responsibility. As she later admitted to People magazine, “I was like, ‘I don’t want to be a mom right now.’” On August 3, though, her fears would ratchet up several notches.
You see, this was the day Shariya went for her first ultrasound; there she was told, to her astonishment, that she was carrying triplets. Shariya confessed, “I was speechless. I was panicking, but I had no time to panic.” The teen mom — barely more than a child herself — gave birth to her babies on August 30, after only 26 weeks of pregnancy.
Isolated on the unit
Shariya named her babies Serenitee, Sarayah, and Samari; they spent the first five months of their little lives in the neonatal intensive care unit of Indianapolis’ Community Hospital North. While residing AT the unit, Shariya admitted to feeling isolated, telling People, “I felt like I couldn’t relate to all the other moms on the floor.” It was during this period that neonatal nurse Katrina first laid eyes on the lonely girl.
Where was her support system?
“She’d be there alone for days at a time sitting at her babies’ bedside,” Katrina told TV show TODAY. The experienced nurse began to wonder about Shariya’s circumstances. She never seemed to bring a lunch from home, nor any snacks to eat as she whiled away the long hours. She also never had any visitors: all of this told Katrina the girl likely didn’t have much support at home.