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Thursday, April 11, 2013


“Being a nurse means to hold all your own tears and start drawing smiles on people’s faces.”

We met a lot of people on our journey with Bristol, a few of them have even made a lasting impression on me.  One of those people is the nurse who met us after we were given the news that Bristol was gone.  We has just finished making all of our required calls to family and our respective jobs to let them know that Bristol had passed away and that I was going to be induced that day when a nurse came to take us to our room.  She introduced herself as nurse N and told us she would be our nurse for the day.  She seemed very nice but our world had just collapsed and I really wasnt paying attention to anyone or anything.  I didnt know what to expect....I was only 26 weeks and had never been through labor or delivery before.  I hadnt held a baby in years let alone one that had passed away and was only measuring at 21 weeks.  When we walked into the room, N sat with us for a while and talked with us about what to expect....she let us know that our daughter would become cold after we held her for a while.  That her skin would be dark because she was gone.  She told me that labor was going to hurt (though I figured no amount of physical pain could top the emotional pain I was in).  The situation was horrible and N did everything she could to help us through it.  I remember at the end of her shift N came to say goodbye...she told us that if we were still there two days later that she would be back and we could request her as our nurse again.  

And when we were still there Saturday morning we requested N to be our nurse again.  She was so wonderful.  The drs and nurses had pretty much left us alone that day, which was in stark contrast to the day before when people were in our room every few minutes.  Sometime around 3pm that day, after the guy from the funeral home left, DH and I were talking.  I told him how I felt like a, for years my body couldn't or wouldn't do what it was fundamentally designed to do and then once it did my body failed my baby.  What if this was my only chance to be a mom and I failed my baby???  I couldn't stop sobbing, though what I really wanted to do was wail.  When N came to check on me one time DH told her everything I was saying.  She told me that she understood what I was saying....and with tears in her eyes told me that at her age women are considered "advanced maternal age".  I knew at that point that her and her husband were battling infertility too.  She told me that anything I feel is normal....that I had every right to be as sad as I was....that one day DH would eventually get worried cuz I was still crying all the time and that it was ok as long as I was taking care of myself.  She told DH that he needed to watch me and watch out for postpartum depression....she said it was ok if I didnt want to do anything or get out of bed but if I started to neglect the dogs that was a warning sign that things were not ok.  

I will never forget the way she talked to me about postpartum care.  She said that we could not have sex for 6 weeks and that "no sex" meant didn't just mean actual sex but it meant no vibrator and no "digits" either.  I had no idea what she meant so I asked her...both DH and N laughed....apparently digits referred to fingers.  Seriously???  They really need to tell people that?!?!?!?  I will never forget that moment of levity as long as I live...a brief moment of laughter in a period that seemed like such a deep dark hole I would never escape from.  She also referred to my private parts as "lady bits" which is a term I have now stole from her because I HATE the word vagina.

I will never forget when we left the hospital on 2/25/12....N wheeled me out in a wheelchair to the car that DH has pulled up.  She gave me a hug and told me that she hoped she would see me again under different circumstances.

When we finally decided with our second pregnancy that we would be delivering at U of M I was really hoping that she was still there at that she would be our nurse.  I wanted to tell her how much she helped me.  When we were at the hospital I asked before every shift change if N was there and if she could be our nurse.  Though she was never able to be our nurse she did come in to say hi to us.  I gave her a huge hug.  I told her how much I thought of her over the past year and how her words had helped me in my grief.  I am where I am today, in part, because of her.  I hope I was able to convey my appreciation to her, but frankly I dont think there are enough words in the English language that can tell her how much she helped me.  

Nurse N, from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU!!!

Below is a link to a video entitled "Nurses Grieve Too:  Insights into Experiences with Perinatal Loss."  It is a wonderful video about the feelings that nurses feel while dealing with couples experiencing

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