It never occurred to me that Nurses Week and Mother’s Day are intertwined on the calendar.
Yet, it is the perfect arrangement.
In 2006, I was pregnant for the very first time. I was ecstatic. My husband was over the moon. We had been married for over 5 years and had been not so patiently waiting for this time in our lives. As the first couple weeks of my pregnancy zipped by, I had no clue that some very special nurses would become the most important people in my life.
I became sick on a Thursday night. The same night we told my parents I was pregnant. I continued to get more sick the next day, and began to lose consciousness on and off. By Saturday morning we knew that something was not right, and my husband loaded me into the back of our SUV and headed to the Emergency room.
The first nurse who came to my aid was a man named Kevin. I teased him that my dad was named Kevin before I passed out and he and my husband drug me into the ER. When I came to, several kind nurses had surrounded me. They provided soothing words and touch as my life began to spiral downward rapidly. My doctor had arrived, and confirmed that I had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. The next hours became memories that live in a misty fog.
I lived through the surgery that saved my life but also ended my dreams. When I came to in the recovery room, another nurse was there. I still chuckle at remembering that she was not wearing scrubs. We had just been through a massive blizzard in Nebraska, and the hospital was short-handed. It was all hands on deck, including a dear RN with a broken leg, who came in to render assistance. She wiped my eyes over and over and over again as I processed the reality that my baby was gone, as well as many of the “parts” needed to carry a baby. I will never forget her kindness.
Later, in ICU, a nurse named Barb became the person who received the brunt of my pent up emotion and grief as it began to spill out. At the time, it didn’t occur to me how God had planned that Barb would be the nurse who cared for me. When the fog began to lift, I realized that I already knew Barb. Her daughter had lived in the same college dorm as I had. I cried as I transitioned out of the ICU into a regular patient room. I didn’t want to go “there”. I was placed in a quiet area, away from all the joyful celebrations that were happening on the delivery floor. And still, it was the nurses who cared for me who helped me get through the next couple of miserable days in a room where I was supposed to be celebrating motherhood.
Mother’s Day came that year, and I stayed hidden away in my home. I couldn’t bare the thoughts of sitting through the church-led celebrations and recognition. Another year rolled around, a miscarriage, and I hid away again.
Time did what it often does, and began to soften the scars I wore over my heart. I stayed in touch with Barb, we wrote letters back and forth. And while its true that a team of people that included a pastor, my husband, some family, and friends helped me maintain the confidence that I would one day be a mother, one way or another…it was the team of nurses who all ministered to me in their own ways that helped those conversations even be possible. Doctors tend to get all the “glory” for their life saving work, but I fully believe that the nurses who cared for me from the parking lot all the way through to helping remove my staples some weeks later, played an invaluable role in saving my ability to carry a pregnancy, and my heart and mind for the role played in being courageous and healed enough to try again.
Its been just over 12 years since my life was so drastically turned upside down during a late March snow storm. As Mother’s Day comes each year, I hold my two daughters and think about all the nurses who played a role during those dark days, and all the nurses who have come along side since in the pregnancies, further losses, and miraculous arrivals who are the greatest gifts I have ever received.
As Nurses week comes to a close, and Mothers Day arrives, I ask you to consider taking the time to thank those nurses who have been there for you in your own quest to become a mother. They are a living example of what it means to find the best of what Heaven looks like, and let it be on earth.
Happy Nurses Week. Happy Mothers Day. I will never forget any of you.