Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Good Omens

I don't think many people remember or feel so attached to the nurse who cared for them in the hospital, but I think our nurse who delivered Merrick shares a special place with our family.  I previously mentioned the baggage I carried into the hospital on the day we headed in for my induction; I had packed like I was heading there for a month, but that is the norm for me traveling anywhere.  So, you can only imagine how a first rate member of Overpackers Anonymous Club felt about packing for a trip to the hospital to deliver our first born son! What I did not mention was that I also brought along our doula.  Her presence would become crucial throughout what seemed to be, the never ending induction.  I think the nurses were intimidated, doctors were intimidated, and they all thought it was the funniest thing that I came in carrying my big yoga ball!

Here enters Suzy, our nurse!  She was my nurse the first full day of the induction.  We talked throughout the day as you would to any nurse that cares for you in a hospital.  It's all business - "How are you feeling?" "What can I do to make your more comfortable?" "No, you may not eat anything!" "How much more can you possibly drink, girl?"  Little did I know, she was beginning to get me prepared for a c-section which I adamantly did not want.  I was not progressing and I knew her secret the moment she started limiting my intake of water and ice!  So, needless to say, I immediately called my doula and we began the fight to start the induction process all over again (it's known as a serial induction).  So, on to day 2 of my hospital stay.  Most people have likely already birthed a child at this point, but they aren't likely as tenacious and determined as me.  Low and behold... Suzy is my nurse again for Day 2 and was there when my water FINALLY broke and I was ready to deliver.  She was our nurse who cared for me during, after the birth, and for the remainder of the day until I was moved to the postpartum wing.

Most would think... this is where it ends with the relationship with your nurse, however I think this is where our very small wondrous world brings two people together for a very special reason.  Suzy only works the labor and delivery wing, yet on this day, my 3rd day in the hospital, now in the postpartum wing, in walks Suzy.  Surprise!!! She was there to nurse me through my recovery too.  My mom and I were thrilled!  It just so happened there was a shortage of nurses on the floor that day and she was assigned to me.  We bonded even more as she guided me through my breastfeeding, answered all the questions I had about caring for a newborn (I seemed to have forgotten everything I read or learned in baby care class), and shared her story about her three children and nursing.  My favorite memory of her was the dedication to be sure we left fully prepared for Merrick's arrival home.  Now, I don't want to get Suzy in trouble, but this woman hooked us up!  She gave us so many baby blankets, diapers, extra lady things I needed... she just kept filling me up and up and up!  It was AWESOME!

As we walked out of the door that day and we said goodbye, she said to me, "You know, you will probably never be forgotten."  I thought she was being nice, but she continued on, "When women come in with a yoga ball and a doula, we, at the nurses station unfortunately have an inside scoop of how this will typically turn out... it usually means we should get the c-section operating room prepared! I'm not sure why, but for some reason it just seems to be the statistic.  Let's just say that, I think you are probably one of the very few, if any, who have actually made it through a natural delivery despite that yoga ball!"  My heart was beaming with pride that we accomplished the birth we had desired.  Even though we had our doula, I think Suzy really helped make sure I had the experience I had been dreaming of for 9 months.

So, what does this have to do with Landon?  Well, as I mentioned before, I had to enter the hospital this past week to begin steroid shots for Landon's lung maturity.  On the first day there, I asked repeatedly about Suzy, just hoping that she might be there.  Unfortunately, she wasn't.  What was I thinking... this woman was not going to remember the Franks' family.  She delivers umpteen babies a day, not to mention it has been 15 months since she's seen us and I'm more than sure my math is good enough to know that is a lot of babies/families she has seen.  So, I figured I'd let it go.

On my second day of shots, I went on my own because there was no need for Patrick to take a day off of work for me to get a shot.  We had checked with the nurses the day before and she agreed, I could go alone.  I had to wait for a very long time in the waiting room of Labor and Delivery because, unfortunately, they were booked with many emergency deliveries, women in lots of pain, and what appeared to be a lot of c-sections.  As I waited in the waiting room, I saw the other side of delivery... the anxious family awaiting the arrival of granddaughters, nieces, and nephews.  This was moving as I remembered the birth of Merrick, yet it also brought me to the realization that my soon to come delivery was going to be full of excitement, but also shadowed with extreme fear and worry for the health of our dear Landon.

As I waited, a nurse and a dad in scrubs came out the door pushing the little clear bassinet and a precious baby wrapped in one of those very blankets I received from my nurse friend, Suzy.  The family jumped up with excitement, took pictures, and beamed with pride.  I, of course, began to cry.  I wanted so badly to place my sunglasses over my head and hang my head low, but out of the corner of my eye... I saw her.  I saw someone pushing a gurney quickly through the hallway.  I immediately recognized the long sleeve thermal shirt under her scrubs, the dirty blond hair with highlights, and that very sweet smile.  I jumped up and leapt across the waiting room and into the hallway where she stood waiting for the Labor and Delivery doors to open.  She immediately remembered me, hugged me, and I just cried into her shoulder.  I told her our story, shared the proud mamma moments of Merrick, and she, as she had done before, provided me with comfort.  Our visit was quick as she needed to get back to work, but my day was made by a little ray of sunlight.

I immediately called Patrick as she walked away.  His laugh of relief that there was some familiarity in this hospital for us made me feel even better.  I think seeing Suzy was a good omen for us.  I felt like we had been touched by something... like something bigger than us is watching over us.  When my nerves were about to get the best of me as I sat there alone waiting to be called, I was soon reassured I was being protected and guided.  Though the encounters between Suzy and me have been short in the big picture of life, it made me realize that people come into your life and touch you... whether it be for the small moments or the big ones, they are there.

We so often take for granted the blessings that surround us.  I know now that I will now seek them out in a different way than I ever have before.  They are there, yet often forgotten.  When you do see them for what they are, they can bring us back to a place in which we can take a look at life in a more gentle way.

At our meeting on Monday morning with the team of doctors, I'm requesting that she be our nurse while I'm in the hospital.  I know these doctors are going to think I'm crazy, but I think they'll understand.  Having her there to be a part of our story, brings me comfort.

I have a picture of Suzy, Merrick and I, but need to find it in my never ending Iphoto log... hey, I was a first time mom for the past 15 months, there are a lot of pictures to go through.  I'll post as soon as I find it.

Thank you!


  1. I'm certain that reading this will make Suzy very proud, and I hope she'll be able to be there for you during the delivery.
    Thanks for keeping us posted.


  2. Suzy was my first nurse as well, when I was in labor with Drake. She was incredibly supportive of us and our desire to have a natural childbirth! How wonderful that she will be able to support you again!