When I was 29 weeks pregnant with my son Scott, I started having contractions that would not go away. Eventually, I asked my husband to take me to the Labor and Delivery at my hospital. The triage nurse put the blood pressure cuff on my arm and my contractions left, never to return. My blood pressure was super scary high. High enough that they admitted me that night and I stayed in the prenatal ward of the hospital for the next ten days.
In that timeframe, the people who cared for me hour by hour were the nurses. They communicated with me, encouraged me, ministered to me. They relayed information to the doctor and back to me.
I saw my doctor every morning for about five minutes. The rest of my care belonged to the nurses.
After ten days, my body started crashing and Scott’s body started crashing and it became a race to see who the doctor could save first. I don’t think both of us were expected to actually survive the day. While the doctor made surgical arrangements, one of my nurses came into my room.
She tried to talk to me but was overcome with emotion and just patted my shoulder and cried. I was really concerned for her, so I asked her if I could pray for her and she just started crying harder.
I had an emergency C-section a couple hours later. A nurse held my hand and walked me through the spinal block, making sure I stayed still and calm. She actually had me bent over her, hugging her while the anesthesiologist worked. I will honestly never forget how steadfast she was, how calm, how reassuring.
Once Scott was born, I was put into ICU. But, they’d given me magnesium, and I’ve learned that magnesium turns normally stoic Hallee into a very emotional Hallee. I was hyper, upset, frantic about my 3 pound baby. Finally, a nurse came up to me and grabbed both of my cheeks in her strong hands and put her face close to mine. “Your baby is fine. You are not. If you don’t calm down and trust us to take care of him, you’re going to die.”
I believe very sincerely that she saved my life.
During the next two weeks, we only ever talked to nurses in the NICU. We never saw the doctor. He never talked to us. He was present in the NICU, but wouldn’t come around when the parents were in the rooms. I thought that was very funny. But, we talked to the nurses all the time. My stoicness had returned, and I got to know the nurses caring for our little 3-pounder as if sitting next to them in a coffee shop. I wasn’t the panicked mom who needed reassurance. I was the calm mom who needed information as plainly as possible so that I could process it. They got that. They never condescended to me. They never made me feel like I should be something or some way that I wasn’t. They just loved on Scott like nothing you’ve ever seen.
Two weeks later, we were transferred out of the NICU and into a room in the PICU. This was wonderful for us because I could room in the PICU with Scott instead of having to go home. The nurses in the PICU were fantastic. They’d come into my room in the middle of the night and watch television with me, hang with me, chat with me. They made me feel REALLY OKAY about our circumstances, almost as if what we were experiencing was normal.
Again, the entire time in the PICU, I did not talk to the doctor except during rounds. I don’t even know if was the same doctor that we had in the NICU or not.
I realize the doctors gave all the orders in these almost six weeks of hospital stay. I’m sure a doctor gave the order to admit me. I know my doctor was on top of my health and well-being during my prenatal stay and that he rocked the surgery and saved us both. I know a doctor gave orders and instructions during the NICU and PICU stays.
However, the rock stars were the nurses. They were the ones in the spotlight, being the face to me of mine and our baby’s life-giving care. They never faltered. They never wavered. They never acted like the point of their 12-hour shift was a paycheck at the end of the week. Every nurse made me feel important, cherished, a joy to care for and to know.
I will never forget the nurses who were there for us during this unfathomable time. I am so in awe of what nurses do and the way God gifts them to do it. I am overwhelmed at the care that pours out of nurses day after day.
Love on nurses this week. They have so earned it.