On the evening of January 18th, I checked into the hospital. Baby #2 was on her way.
During labor for baby #1 a labor and delivery nurses told me, “Each baby has their own way of getting here.” She told me she thought we, (as laboring women), would have an easier time if we didn’t clutch onto our expectations for dear life. So the second time around, I heeded her advice.
At 7pm the hospital staff had a shift change and so my first nurse, Dala who was considerate and made sure to give me every comfort she could – even through the pokes and pricks – said goodbye and Sarah said hello. (I’d later find out that they are best friends and bloggers themselves!)
At 12:53 am I gave birth to a healthy baby girl — and by 1:30 or so — a cloud started to loom over my hospital room.
The baby was fine, but my placenta was not coming out and more severe measures were going to have to be taken. The doctor explained the 2 or 3 procedures they would try before resorting to a C-section. I was losing blood and my placenta needed to come out. And for safety reasons, they needed to move me to an operating room just in case things went south.
So while my husband held our minutes old daughter, they transferred me onto a gurney and away I went.
As they rolled me out of the room – I locked eyes with my husband and told him I loved him and that I would be okay.
Sometime after delivering the baby and before I was wheeled away – I brought my faith close and I started to hum one of my favorite church songs. No words, just humming.
As they transferred me I hummed, as they wheeled me into the OR, I hummed, as they took off my bra (for the just in case) — as they strapped my legs to stirrups, as they connected IVs to my arms, I hummed.
What actually happened in the OR is hazy. I remember the brighter than bright fluorescent lights and I remember seeing a large digital clock with red numbers. And I remember catching glimpses of the symphony of nurses, but I couldn’t see much else.
During the procedures they had my chest and torso WEIGHTED down with a mound of white cotton blankets because I was so cold it was like my body was convulsing. It was like someone had unzipped my skin and the insides of my body were exposed to the icy temperature of the OR.
Half way through the procedures (which were insane and I’ll save for another time) I said, “I’m losing blood, I can feel it.” And yet I continued humming.
“Yes you are and more blood is on the way for you.”
Minutes later I heard the doctor ask the nurse, “Where’s the blood?” “We have someone at the door waiting for the blood – it’ll be right up.”
I knew I was losing blood because my vision started to go grey and I could feel my brain shutting down.
“Nope, no more energy for that.”
The next morning the doctors explained to me that I had hemorrhaged 50% of my blood.
Sarah, my labor and delivery nurse, was absolutely my guardian angel that night.
I met her around 7:30pm. She walked in professional and kind. She asked what kind of labor we were shooting for – and she was open to all of it. We explained how we wanted a minimally invasive labor. And I told her that during my first labor I had staked my pride on not having an epidural — but that I was wiser now. (ha!)
During my four hour labor Sarah watch intently, joked with me, helped me through contractions and was ultra-supportive.
And when things started to get serious – when I was wheeled into the OR- Sarah was the only person I “knew.” And even though I had only interacted with Sarah for 4 hours – she KNEW ME. She had seen me go from casual to in pain to in excruciating labor pain – she had seen me and helped me push a human out of my body AND she had seen things take a turn for the worse.
Sarah walked with me through the hospital halls from my labor room to the OR – she held my left hand the entire time and never left my side.
For as long as I had the energy – I hummed my faith filled song. And at the point that I stopped humming because I just couldn’t anymore– Sarah leaned in and asked, “What song are you humming?” The only response I could muster was, “a church song.”
She took over humming for me.
I could feel her – holding my hand – giving me warmth – literally and figuratively.
I didn’t have the energy to hum with her but I could hear the hymn and in the midst of the chaos – I felt peaceful.
To Sarah, my labor and delivery nurse, thank you for investing in me and the life of my baby, thank you for your boundless heart, thank you for giving me strength and grace. I see how hard you work and what you do reverberates WELL beyond the moment – maybe even a lifetime, and I appreciate you. Sarah, during one of the holiest moments of my life – you were there with me – guiding me with ease – and for that, I thank you.
And to all labor and delivery nurses – we more than see you – we appreciate you and honor you and we thank you for pouring your hearts into our labors and our families. You change the world for the better.