Joanna is the nursing director of the intensive and progressive care units (ICU/PCU) at Mary Lanning Healthcare in Hastings – one of the areas in Nebraska hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. She and her team of nurses saw an influx of patients and deaths in 2020. 

“We wanted to take care of these patients,” Joanna said. That’s why we are nurses because we care for people; we want to make everyone better.” But they also worried about taking the virus home to their families. 

“[My husband and I] wanted to have another baby and… it just didn’t happen, it didn’t happen,” the mom of two (Jack, 5, and Jade, 3) explained, “And then COVID hit, and I thought, ‘This is why God didn’t give us a baby. I need to be here [for my nurses and patients at the hospital] because COVID is stressful and scary.’” 

Fortunately, Joanna, her family and her team have stayed relatively safe and managed the unknowns of COVID-19 well. And then last summer, she finally got pregnant. 

Because Jack was born prematurelyJoanna’s third pregnancy has also been considered highrisk and she was prescribed medication to prevent pre-term labor. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) reached out to her to help make sure she was able to get the medication she needed, as well as other support to deal with the heightened stress of her circumstances. 

“This has to be the most stressful year she’s had in the hospital – and to throw a pregnancy on top of it is quite amazing,” said Jenny, Joanna’s nurse case manager through BCBSNE’s maternity care management program. 

Jenny is one of several registered nurseat BCBSNE who work with members like Joanna throughout their pregnancies and roughly six weeks post-partum. 

“She checks in with me weekly, if not more often,” Joanna explained. “It’s not just an app or a program… She really does care about me as a person.” 

Joanna is due to give birth in March 2021. 

This baby came at a time when the world was so unsure,” she said. There was so much death last year, and now this year we have so much life.” 

See more of Joanna’s incredible story here:  

Joanna’s journey is just one of many. What’s yours? Please visit to share it with BCBSNE and help inspire others. 

P.S. We’re pleased to share that Joanna welcomed one of BCBSNE’s newest members, a healthy baby boy named Judah, on March 25th. Congratulations!

Everybody has a story