As I sit here marveling at my brand new baby girl, I’m replaying her birth story over and over in my mind, trying to recount every detail and commit it to memory.
One piece sticks out in my mind as the most beautiful illustration of a woman sacrificing and giving of herself to help another laboring mother.
When I had gotten triaged and sat waiting for the doctor, a nurse came in to place my IV. I don’t particularly like IVs, but I was GBS positive and decided a dose of antibiotics outweighed the potential risk to baby Ingrid. The nurse placed the IV skillfully and painlessly, something other nurses have struggled to do with my “rolly, wiggly veins.” I was thankful for her skill and her bedside manner calmed my nerves as I waited to meet the on-call doctor.
As she worked, I learned that she had a little boy. I asked her his age, thinking about my own sons and daughter at home and hoping they weren’t too unsettled at how suddenly my husband and I had left them with Gaffer and Grandmama to make it to the hospital in plenty of time. She said he had just turned four years old (the same age as my oldest son) and that it was his birthday! I smiled and said aww, happy birthday to him! She finished her work, the doctor came in, and she went on to her next patient.
It wasn’t until after she left that I noticed what she had written on my IV sticker.
I’ve been known to notice typeos and misspellings- it’s an annoying quirk to most people. I read the newspaper with a red ink pen. But I noticed the date was incorrect. 12/29/15. It was 4 years off– That was odd… Or not. I immediately remembered she said her son turned four years old that day… My son was born in April of 2015, and hers was born in December 2015. In thinking about her son, she had written his birthdate instead of the current year.
This sweet, kind, beautiful, and skillful woman was working, late hours, earning an income for her family. She was sacrificing time away from her boy on his birthday. She was giving up time with her child in order to help me in birthing mine.
I saw her again briefly in passing, but never got the chance to express how thankful I am for her commitment to providing excellent care or to commend and encourage her in the many roles she fills, likely thanklessly, day in and day out. It’s easy to forget your nurses are people too, with their own families, interests, passions. It’s easy to miss actually seeing them in the hustle of childbirth- they work swiftly and mostly silently, prioritizing the care of others.
Thank you, nurse Hailey (forgive me if I misspelled your name) for all that you do, and may God bless you in your work and in your family.