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To the Nurse Who Was There for the Birth and Death of My Son

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Dear labor and delivery nurse,

Four years ago we met under some terrible circumstances. You were my nurse the day I delivered my son at 23 weeks gestation.

That is a day I will never forget, and you are someone I will never forget. It cannot be easy to be the labor and delivery nurse taking care of someone you know is about to lose her baby.

You were kind to me on the worst day of my life. You cleaned our son up, swaddled him in a blanket and gave him to us to hold. You held our precious little boy like he mattered. You silently stood in the background during the two hours he was alive. You had to check every once in a while to see if his heart was still beating. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for you to do that. After his tiny heart stopped beating, you gently carried him over to weigh him and measure him. You waited to do all of that until after his heart stopped beating so we could hold him while he was alive, and for that time you gave to us, I will be forever grateful.

You went out of your way to find a hat that might come close to fitting our tiny little boy. In fact, you went out of your way to find two. They were still entirely too big, but you tried the best you could with the supply that was available. You let us take our time saying goodbye to Robby. You did not rush us. When our family was done saying goodbye to Robby, you took him in your arms like he was a baby who was still alive, and carefully carried him away. The moment I handed him over to you was one of the hardest moments of my life, but your kindness helped. You handed me the first hat he wore so I could hold onto it. That hat is the only physical evidence I have of him and for that, I will be forever grateful. Then you took the second little hat that was identical and placed it on his head as you took him away.

After we handed Robby over to you, you made sure I was moved to a different floor. Being on the labor and delivery floor and in a labor and delivery room was too hard. I did not even have to ask – you just moved me to a completely different floor, a floor where there were no sounds of all the joyous others who were delivering full-term babies to take home. A floor far away from the room I had just painfully lost my little boy in and for that, I will be forever grateful.

The next day you came up to my new room and  brought me a fresh chocolate chip cookie from the cafeteria. You wanted to check on me to see how I was doing. You helped me on the hardest day of my life and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Thank you kind nurse for being so thoughtful, understanding and caring during that terrible time.

Originally published: August 17, 2016
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