Liz Smith is senior director of nursing at Franciscan Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. She always wanted to be a mother, but thought her opportunity had passed, until fellow nurses introduced her to Gisele, who weighed one pound, 14 ounces, when she was born at 29 weeks. Her mother was addicted to drugs and could not care for her, since Gisele would need an experienced care giver to help her live outside the hospital. The nurse and baby bonded quickly, and Smith went to see her every day, "It was my reward after a long workday," she said. "You can't just love a certain percentage. You have to give it your all."
533 days after Smith first met Gisele, the two finally shared a last name. Gisele was two years old. Smith never expected it, but she went from nurse to mom, and Gisele went from a frail preemie with complex medical needs to a beaming little girl. And now they have each other for the rest of their lives. Smith said it was the power of love that brought her and Gisele together. "To witness how love can transform a life -- how it's transformed hers and mine, is unbelievable," she said.