I was 32 weeks pregnant when I took the “Birthing Naturally” childbirth class for women planning to deliver at Miami Valley Hospital’s Family Beginnings Birth Center. My husband and I learned various massage and breathing techniques and prepared as best we could for a drug-free birth of our first son. As someone who is not super touchy-feely, I can distinctly remember asking the nurse who taught the class laboring techniques for someone who did not want to be helped or touched in any way. She looked at me with a bemused expression on her face, and nine weeks later I understood why.
For 24 hours I labored on Christmas Day as my nurses sat by my side for every second. I can still recall the lightning speed with which my primary nurse retrieved a bucket for me to throw up in as I moaned my way through painful back labor. It warms my heart when I think of the patience of the nurse who asked me if I wanted to warm up the water in my birthing tub. I told her “no” and not more than 10 seconds later, I began to shiver and requested she warm it up for me. I remember the absolute strength of the nurses who supported the full weight of my body as it bore down with a contraction while they transitioned me from the toilet onto my hands and knees.
I remember the nurse who treated my husband and I like we were her all-time favorite patients. Who delighted in seeing our baby boy for the first time and cradled his small, fragile body as if he were her own.
It was because of the wonderful experience I had and the love I received that the decision of where to deliver my second baby was no decision at all.
On September 5, 2016, I labored one room over from where my first sweet boy had been born less than two years before. As shifts changed, our morning nurse watched my quickly advancing labor and cheerfully told me she couldn’t wait to meet my baby when she came back at 7:00 PM. I once again experienced the patience of a saint in the form of my nurse who asked me if I was ready to fill the birthing tub yet. I replied “no” and promptly changed my mind after my next contraction. After my baby was born, I was so humbly and immeasurably grateful for the nurse who climbed up onto the bed next to me and held my hand as the doctor stitched me up. I felt so loved, supported and taken care of during what could have been an ugly and painful experience.
It’s been a year since my second born son’s birth. And yet, I still remember the names of Danielle, Megan, and Pam. Three of the larger team of amazing nurses who made the births of both my boys so full of love, support, and goodness. I truly believe that should I die and go to Heaven, I will gladly wait my turn behind L&D nurses. Thank you, ladies, for being a part of the most important moments of my life and filling them not with fear, but with peace and comfort. Though the busyness and exhaustion of motherhood has prevented me from writing the “thank you” notes that I know I should, I hope this makes its way to you. And I hope you sleep well tonight knowing how special and valued you truly are.