A letter to all nurses, especially those who have touched my family’s life personally:
I want to thank you. Thank you for choosing a profession where your work might be undervalued or overlooked. I want to thank you for having a heart to serve — a heart to face the hard, exhausting, emotional, sometimes gross, and sometimes grief-stricken job that you go to every day.
Before getting pregnant with Christian, I didn’t have much face-to-face interaction with nurses. I was fortunate enough to rarely need to go to a hospital or doctor. When I was packing my bags and preparing for my labor and delivery, I came across a Pinterest post about making sure to bring gifts for my labor, delivery, and postpartum nurses. “That’s such a cute idea,” I thought. So I set to work making the gifts. I knew nurses would play a role in my hospital stay, but I just honestly had no clue how grateful I’d be to have those gifts to give them. And after my stay, I realized just how deserving they were of those gifts, and just how deserving they were of so much more than those gifts. So I wanted to take a moment to truly thank all the nurses who have come into mine and my family’s life this past year.
Thank you to the absolutely incredible L&D nurse, Megan, who was there every step of my labor and delivery. Thank you for encouraging me and making me feel like I was a superstar. Thank you for taking care of my physical needs — no matter how gross — with a beautiful smile. Thank you for staying positive and coaching me through every contraction, and for even staying past your shift’s end to meet my daughter. You played a huge role in making my birth story as incredible as it it.
To the nurse who brought me something to drink right after I delivered. Who held the straw for me and refilled my cup as I chugged down that apple juice. Who helped me get onto my wobbly legs and half carry me to the bathroom. Who showed me how to use the bathroom during one of the most vulnerable and humbling parts of the L&D journey. Thank you. Thank you so much.
To the postpartum nurse who gave my daughter her first bath. You may not know this, but throughout my entire pregnancy, I feared how people would react when they saw my daughter for the first time. Up until this point, I had the chance to tell every nurse about my daughter’s cleft. I wanted to prepare them so they could spare my feelings when they saw her. You were the first person I didn’t get a chance to “warn”. I watched you closely as you held my baby for the first time. Thank you for looking at her so lovingly. For congratulating me on my little miracle.
Thank you to that same nurse again, for being a part of my husband and mine’s first hours of being new parents. You showed us how to change Christian’s diaper, how to swaddle her, how to wash her bottles. You were patient with us, you repeated instructions for us, and you helped us take our first shaky steps into parenthood. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
To the nurse who specializes in helping breastfeeding moms, thank you for your constant help in trying to help me nurse my daughter. We tried everything, and you helped me every step of the way — encouraging me with every tiny win. It’s hard being so exposed and vulnerable with a stranger, but your compassion and true eagerness to help put me at ease. Breastfeeding wasn’t in the cards for my daughter and I, but thank you for your help, and thank you for your encouragement to exclusively pump.
Thank you to the postpartum nurse charged with helping me recover. Nothing can really prepare someone for how uncomfortable and painful postpartum can be. It’s like you’re in a stranger’s body. I’m so grateful there was someone like you to take care of me at a time I was too tired and too weak to take care of myself. Thank you for teaching me the ins and outs of your glamorous job — the mesh undies and dermoplast and spray bottles. What a job you’ve taken on, caring for such vulnerable and emotional women — thank you.
To the nurses who stayed by our side during Christian’s lip repair surgery. Thank you for doing your best to ease our worries in pre-op. For going the extra mile to keep our sweet 4-month old warm in her over-sized hospital gown. For carrying her like she was your own daughter into the operating room. Thank you so much. Thank you for singing to my daughter as she woke up from surgery. The process was so hard for our family, but thank you for never leaving our side.
To the recovery nurses after Christian’s lip repair, thank you. I can’t imagine a job where you have to take care of little babies after surgery. How emotionally tolling that must be. But thank you for taking such good care of my family. Thank you for lovingly showing us how to keep Christian’s stitches clean. For helping us get the hang of Christian’s complex medicine schedule. Thank you for being there for us when we felt too physically and emotionally exhausted to go any further.
This is just a short list thanking the nurses we’ve personally come into contact with this last year. But if there’s anything I’ve learned this year, it’s that every nurse deserves to be thanked. Their hard work is worthy of recognition. They’ve taken on a career where they help people through their hardest, most vulnerable moments, and they show up everyday with grace, patience, and a heart to work hard and serve others.