It was 9pm at night and I had been contemplating calling my doctor for hours.
This was my first pregnancy and while I had been peeing my pants for the majority of the last 4 months, something seemed a little different this time.
But, this was also my first pregnancy. And I didn’t want to look like an idiot if, what I thought was my water breaking, was just me peeing myself (again).
What made it difficult was that I only had my best friend to talk to about it, and she’d never had a baby before.
I was single and I hadn’t heard from my ex since I told him I was pregnant. His promise to “do his part” more than fell short when I never heard from him again. He never called to check on me. He never bothered to ask me if the baby was a boy or girl. He didn’t even know when my due date was. So, consulting in him wasn’t going to happen.
I remember calling my dad at 11pm so that he could take me to the hospital. We were both sure that this was a false alarm. After all, his experience with having 3 babies resulted in water breaking just like in the movies.
After getting to the hospital, just my dad and I, a quick test determined that it was, in fact, amniotic fluid and I had a slow leak. It was time. Holy shit.
Pitocin was started and calls were made and the next day, after an emergency c-section following nearly 10 hours of labor and only 2 centimeters of dilation, I welcomed my first baby into the world.
And while I didn’t have the support of my baby’s biological father, I had the support of my friends and family and a team of amazing nurses.
Being 23 years old, this was the first time that I had really experienced the care of a nurse outside of a quick doctor’s office visit and I found myself relying on my nurse more than anyone for the next few days.
When my baby’s heart rate dropped during labor, my nurse stood by the machines and watched paper feed out until I was wheeled out for my emergency c-section.
When I was adamant about breastfeeding, my nurse was with me at midnight helping my baby latch on.
When it was time to get up and walk for the first time, my nurse was there supporting me and literally keeping me from collapsing.
When I was starving after dinner, my nurse found me a snack.
When I was dying to wash my hair before I was allowed to shower, my nurse went to another floor and found me a shampoo shower cap.
When I was exhausted and too tired to try to breastfeed (again) in the middle of the night, my nurse reassured me that giving her a bottle was not the end of our breastfeeding journey.
When I was crying in pain after walking for the first time, my nurse quickly retrieved pain medication for me.
When I couldn’t bend over to put socks on my cold feet, my nurse did it for me.
When it was time for my first shower, my nurse helped me walk in there and didn’t bat an eye at my deflated belly and hunched back.
When the bathroom looked like a murder scene after my first shower, my nurse cleaned it up while I apologized profusely.
My nurse never asked me where my help was. She never questioned me about having a baby by myself. She didn’t roll her eyes at my ridiculous needs. She didn’t criticize me or judge me. She cared for me.
Yes, she was getting paid to do that, but we’ve all experienced the attitude of someone being paid to do something that they don’t want to do- and she didn’t possess that attitude.
It was so unnatural to have a stranger care for me, to literally wipe me down and help me walk and do things outside of her job description. All the while, the person who should’ve been there, doing those things was gone.
But, she did it with grace. She did it with kindness. She did it with a genuine heart to help people.
You can always tell when someone you encounter is doing something out of passion; when they’ve found their calling.
I’m forever indebted to my nurse who cared for me with such compassion during a critical time in both my life and my baby’s life.
I’ve heard horror stories about “bad nurses” and poor caregivers and I’m so thankful for my experience.
My nurse made all the difference in the world. She made my birthing experience as good as it could possibly be.
And while I’d like to think my experience was personal- it wasn’t a reflection on me, but rather on her. I wasn’t more deserving; it’s just who she is.
Hats off to all of the amazing nurses out there!