When I experienced an ectopic pregnancy and needed emergency surgery, I was greeted with the most gentle beings.
I was terrified of surgery and was in complete shock that I had no choice but to terminate my pregnancy. My husband couldn’t be with me while they were prepping me for surgery. Alone, I pulled back my hair and started removing my clothing in order to put on the dreaded hospital cap and gown. The only other times I had worn a cap and gown was for joyous things like birth and graduation. The stark contrast only made me feel more depressed. My hands began shaking so hard and fast that I could barely tie my gown. Then the nurse came in.
She gave me her condolences and stayed and talked to me. She asked me if I had any other children, their ages, and continued the small talk. It was small talk but its impact was nothing of the size. She made me feel less alone. Another came in to place an IV. My skin was ice cold and, once again, I was shaking and couldn’t stop. She held my hand and began to massage it to help with circulation. Little did she know that her touch made me feel connected to someone, something, as I was going through what felt like a complete out-of-body experience.
I had no control. I couldn’t stop what was happening. But these two nurses held space for me in their hearts.
Before I was put to sleep, one had her hand on mine. She reassured me, ‘Everything is going to be okay.’ That was my last memory before falling asleep. When I awoke, I felt secure and safe. I was waking up to an empty womb, my baby gone. Yet because of those nurses, I was mentally and emotionally okay. I felt nothing but love and support. They were with me during my time of need when my husband couldn’t be.
They are the ones who take our loved one’s place when we are prepped for surgeries. They are the ones holding our hands as we cry tears of loss. They are the ones guiding us through a panic attack when we feel like we have lost all control. They are the ones who hold space for our emotions, no matter what they are. They are the ones who work tirelessly to comfort us, even though they have not slept in who-knows-how-many hours. They are the ones who are always what we need, whatever that may be. They never complained or told me to get ahold of myself. They just loved me through it.
And we cannot forget about the special nurses we have in recovery. Those women are the angels of this world. While I sat in my bed bleeding, they cleaned me. When I could barely walk myself to the toilet, they carried me. When I needed clean sheets, they became my maid. When I needed food, they served me. When I was in pain, they reminded me that it was okay to accept the pain medication. When I felt overwhelmed and tired, they cheered me on.
These women never looked at me and said, ‘That isn’t my job.’ They simply jumped to help me. That’s a hero… someone who sacrifices their own time, their own family, to become the hands and the feet to others who need them. They sacrifice their own emotional needs to support the emotional needs of their patients.
To the women who took care of me when I couldn’t take care of myself, I see you, I thank you, I’ll never forget you. I don’t know what I would have done without you.