Nurses have been front and center this week after Miss Colorado’s monologue about being a nurse and The View hosts’ denigrating comments about it. It has caused me to give a lot of thought to the nurses I have crossed paths with, especially in the years since becoming a mom. Here are some of my memories…
- When I had been battling infertility for three years, it was a nurse who called me with the results of my blood test to say, “Congratulations! You are pregnant!”
- When I was six weeks pregnant and thought I was miscarrying, it was a nurse who talked me through my fears and got me in for the blood tests that showed everything was fine.
- All throughout that pregnancy, it was a nurse midwife who guided me through all of those firsts, helped me know what to expect, and reassured me when I was worried about being of “advanced maternal age.”
- When my daughter came into this world, it was a nurse midwife who delivered her, got her crying, and handed her to me.
- When my daughter was three days home and it was midnight and she wouldn’t eat, it was a nurse in the hospital nursery who answered my phone call and gave me ideas about what to try.
- When my daughter had a croupy cough as an infant, it was a nurse at our pediatrician’s office who told us what to watch for and what to do for her.
- When we were pregnant again, and I was hospitalized for an abdominal infection, it was a nurse who came at my panicked call from my hospital bed, who held me and prayed for me at my request when we realized I was in labor. It was our nurse-midwife who as gently as possible told me that our baby Naomi was gone, and who helped me deliver her. It was that same nurse-midwife who offered to let us bury her on their family farmland. It was nurses on the floor who cleaned our baby up, who took pictures and made casts of her footprints, who treated my daughter with dignity. It was my nurses who shared their own stories of loss with me and gave me hope that I could survive the loss of my child. It was a nurse who guarded my door to make sure I didn’t have too many visitors when I was recovering from emergency abdominal surgery. It is those nurses who I still visit from time to time, over six years later, because we shared something sacred … time with my Naomi.
- When we went through loss again, and again, it was always a nurse who broke the news to me, with as much compassion as possible.
- When we were pregnant after loss and anticipating the birth of our son, it was a nurse who gave me a private tour of the labor and delivery wing, allowing me to face my shadows and memories ahead of time. And although our obstetrician was beyond amazing, I know his nurses make a huge difference in his office.
The last eight years of my life have been dominated by the medical profession, either because of pregnancy, my own medical issues, or issues with my children. And over and over again, I have been impressed by the dedication of those we have encountered in the nursing profession.
I see that dedication in the nursing students who visit our Naomi’s Circle meetings, too, who come to learn from the parents in our support group so they know what to say and not say when they have patients going through a loss. I see it in a nursing friend who has had no losses of her own, but who comes alongside our ministry to help because of her compassion for others.
Miss Colorado was right. There is no such thing as “just a nurse.” I will be forever grateful for their willingness to live out a profession that is not glamorous or lucrative, that costs them in many ways, but that had made a lasting impact on my life.