Thankful for Nurses:: National Nurses Day


Nurses' DayIt’s National Nurses Day and every year my daughter and I make a special trip to Bergan Mercy Hospital and this year will be no different. For many people, the birth of their first child is a memorable experience—one to remember for all the ages. I guess, for me, that part of my story is no different. However, I am not only thankful for the happy moments spent in childbirth, or that pivotal moment when I held my baby for the first time. I am thankful for our lives. Quite literally.

When I needed a Nurse

When I went into the hospital six years ago, I thought I had the flu. I had been throwing up and felt overall unwell. The baby began to move around differently, which sparked a call to the on-call OB.  She felt that I should go to the hospital check things out since the baby’s movements had changed. I drove myself to the hospital to get checked out for the flu and discovered I was in labor at 34 weeks.  Of course, the doctors and nurses worked hard to stop my preterm labor.  

My nurse kept coming in and checking on me. 

How are you feeling?” she would ask.  She kept it conversational, not too clinical. Eventually, I mentioned in passing that I had been seeing little stars in my eyes for the past few days.  “Let me make a call,” she said. “When am I going to go home?” I kept asking. “I’ll be back in just a bit.”  That small piece of information ended up being the piece that most likely saved my life.  It was the end of her shift. I’m sure she wanted to go home just as much as I did. I’m sure she’d been there for 10-12 hours based on what I know about nursing shifts in Labor and Delivery. Instead, she kept pressing because her intuition told her that something wasn’t right. And she was right. Something was very wrong. I had HELLP syndrome, and I needed to have the baby now.

So, thank you…

…to my guardian angel, Michelle, for asking questions when I didn’t want you to. To my next nurse, Angel, who took over, and my entire care team who proceeded to act decisively to make sure that my daughter and I were alive and well. There were beautiful nurses in the NICU  who cared for my daughter when I was too weak to visit. Instead of passing judgment on me or ignoring me, they called up to the L&D unit and allowed me to Skype my newborn when I was too fragile to travel down a few floors to see her.

Thank you to my recovery nurse, who was my nurse for what seemed like the entire week. I was blessed to see her again when I had my son three years later, and I could tell her thank you in person. Thank you to the nighttime NICU nurses who helped me hold my daughter, when I was too afraid to hold her on my own. I’m sure there were other work to be done, but they never made me feel that way.  Thank you to the nurse who called in the lactation consultant on day 4, when I was finally able to come down to try to nurse my daughter. Thanks for not just brushing my hopes of nursing off and telling me it wasn’t meant to be. 

You all will never know the depths that you have touched my soul, and I think about you EVERY single year during my daughter’s birthday, and I remember you still on Nurses Day.

I remember you

If we’re being honest, I remember you every single day when I look at my baby girl’s eyes, hold her hand, or tuck her in at night.

I have a list of every single nurse on duty who cared for me during my delivery, recovery, and every single nurse in the NICU. You may not remember me. You probably wouldn’t even recognize me now (that extra 60 pounds of water weight can disguise anyone). To be honest, I don’t know if I would recognize you, but I remember you. 

I knew then what I still know now that you work long hours and often your hard work goes unnoticed. It is grueling and not always glamorous, but remember, you are appreciated.  I never would have made it out alive without my nurses.

So, thank you.

My daughter and I thank you. And, that is why, we visit every year, even if none of our nurses are still there, or on duty. Because we remember.

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Erica is an Omaha transplant from Northern California and has lived in Omaha off and on since 1993. She is mom to two wonderful children who fill her with love and joy. Because her husband’s career requires him being gone for long stretches of time, she has learned to streamline being a career mama while flying solo for months at a time. Her middle school reading students add some excitement to her days, and her kids keep the humor going strong into the evenings. Erica also manages to have a Mary Kay business in her "free time". She has many tips for traveling with small children as well, since she travels internationally with the kiddos at least once a year. She enjoys reading, and belongs to the best book club ever; being active; and sharing an occasional cup of coffee or wine with friends. You'll find her out and about on weekends and evenings embracing every drop of motherhood.