To Rachel: We had met before, she was our nurse the first time we came to L&D triage for decreased movement back in December. Cooper was fine, I was just paranoid back then, but Rachel made me feel so relaxed. She’s the nurse who desperately looked for Cooper’s heartbeat when we came into triage for the second time, on February 25th. She told me the truth when I asked if not finding the heartbeat easily was normal. She couldn’t tell us that Cooper was gone, but gave us all of the information she could. The one who, once Branden left the room to call his parents, broke down and cried with me. She said, “I have seen so many losses, but I have NEVER seen a Daddy react that way. My heart is so broken for both of you.” Rachel, I think of you every day.
To Caroline: Our nurse for the night before Cooper’s delivery, and for the one night we had with Cooper. She was the nurse who stood by me and cried as I screamed from the epidural, I had a bad reaction to the numbing medicine and wasn’t numb. I had a panic attack and she held my hand and Branden’s while I calmed down. She cared for Branden as much as she cared for me, she helped him set up his bed and made sure he was as comfortable as possible. She answered the endless questions from our concerned family and friends. She consoled me many, many times. The night we had Cooper, she would pick her up and place her in our arms, as we were so scared to hurt her delicate body. She spoke to Cooper in her baby voice and smiled down at her. She treated my baby like a living child. She offered to take our first family picture, the picture I will always look at, remembering my favorite spot in the world. She was such a blessing. Caroline, I think of you every day.
To Angie: My delivery nurse. She was basically telepathic and knew exactly the right things to say to me when I had no courage. When I was screaming that I was done, I can’t do this, she gave me a look I will never forget. She held my hand and counted for me while I pushed. She gave our Cooper her only bath, she clothed her for the first and last time she’d ever have an outfit change. She tried to keep my spirits up and gave me many reasons to smile and laugh during the worst day of my life. She tried multiple ways to relieve my pain when my epidural wasn’t working. She was running to get morphine for me, and unfortunately didn’t get it in time before I started pushing, but having her next to me gave me so much confidence. She is an angel I will always remember. Angie, I think of you every day.
To Tammy: The first person to hold Cooper after she was delivered. She cleaned her off, bundled her up and handed her to me. She told me that my daughter weighed 4 pounds and 11 ounces. I yelled and screamed at her just minutes prior during delivery when she tried to calm me down, and honestly, I felt like a monster at the time for being so vile to her. When I apologized, she said, “You have absolutely nothing to apologize for sweetie.” She told me I did a great job. Tammy, I think of you every day.
To Elisa: Our last nurse, the one who looked for my Birkenstocks that went missing and brought me socks when she couldn’t find them. The one who apologized multiple times for our loss. She wheeled me away from my daughter, while Branden walked backward in front of me saying, “Just look at me, don’t look back”. After we got out of the delivery room, I was sitting in the wheelchair, holding a pillow instead of my baby and crying harder than I ever had before. She rubbed my shoulders and boo hoo-ed with me. We passed tissues back and forth while she said, “I’m so sorry” over and over. Elisa, I think of you every day.
To Tonya: Our amazing bereavement counselor. Unfortunately, there is no “bereavement counselor week” so I am writing this now. When I first met her, I was numb, angry, confused and lost. I wanted to kick her out of our room, tell her we didn’t need her. But we did, and she knew that. She gave us strength, suggestions, knowledge, support, and love. She made me realize that we were not alone, this wasn’t some extremely rare thing that happened to only us. If so, there wouldn’t be a bereavement counselor needed. This woman fought for us, years before this happened and made it her mission to help people in our situation. She started and runs the support group that we look forward to every month. Tonya was the last person to hold our baby, we trusted her with Cooper as I was wheeled away. We knew after handing her over that we would never see her again. I smile knowing that Tonya was the one who held her last, and I know her son, Grady welcomed Cooper with open arms. She said to us that she pictured Grady telling Cooper, “That’s my mom down there, helping your mom.” Tonya, I think of you every day.
To all of these women and the countless others who were there for us: thank you. I think of you all every single day and could never give enough appreciation.
These women are the ones who took care of us.
They gave us strength when we had none.
They inspired me so much.
They see the unimaginable all the time and spend their lives loving on hurting women like me. These women are a blessing.
Be nice to your nurses, they do so much more than we know. They hurt with us and care deeply for their patients. These women changed my life.