For that moment during labor when I didn’t think I could push anymore…thank you for reminding me it’d be worth it in just a few short minutes when I had my tiny baby in my arms.
For that scary moment after delivery when they said my baby was sick and ripped her from my grip…thank you for brushing sweaty, salty labor hair out of my eyes and crying with me.
For the moment when my 8-minute old baby needed oxygen and sticky leads and a bundle of wires…thank you for caring gently, warmly, carefully for my baby when I couldn’t.
For the moment when I was afraid to hold my child because of all the monitors, bandages, and tubes…thank you for reminding me that a mother’s arms are just right and helping me find a perch for the entanglements so I could finally feel my baby breathing against my chest.
For the day I felt like my baby would only ever be a patient, never a real child…thank you for decorating a personalized name sign and proudly hanging it above her isolette.
For the moment it was time to teach my baby how to eat with her 11-day-old lips…thank you for unhooking the NG tube and placing a warm breastmilk bottle into my hand. “Go ahead,” you nodded. “You know how to do this. I’ll be right here to help you.”
For the day I thought I’d suffocate in the hospital hallways and my older daughter needed me too…thank you for forcing me to go out for a bit.
For the moment when I couldn’t enjoy my day out missing my hospitalized baby too badly and surprised you with an early return…thank you for being found in the rocking chair, humming lullabies to my babe cradled in your arms.
For the long hospital nights filled with beeping monitors and midnight checks that don’t afford the exhausted parent any sleep…thank you for sending me to the Ronald McDonald House for a real bed and answering my check-in questions over the phone at 4am.
For that one summer month that we lived inpatient…thanks for putting my Starbucks order on your coffee run list and treating me like a friend instead of another hospital mom.
For the procedure day when my daughter had to lay flat for 6 hours…thank you for bringing a bucket full of Disney movies, snacks, books, and a new pillow case to keep her entertained all afternoon.
For when my daughter could finally get out of bed to walk but didn’t want to…thank you for setting up a craft station 20 long-feeling steps away for her tired feet but close enough to entice her with sparkly nail polish and pottery.
For that moment when I sat sobbing in the hallway covered in the “scusting” medicine my 3-year-old spewed back in my face…thank you for hugging me, offering a warm cloth, and telling me you’d administer the next dose.
For the day when discharge came and the pharmacy sent up a suitcase full of meds…thank you for scrawling down the daily schedule on a notecard, complete with check boxes for me and reward stickers for my daughter.
For the first time I left her in church nursery, equally hopeful and worried that she’d be treated like every other kid…thank you for just so happening to be the one volunteering in her age class that year.
For the time I had a breakdown in the corner of my kitchen because I couldn’t get enough blood for her finger prick…thank you for interrupting your family duties and walking across the street to help your neighbor out. I thought you could do it because you are a seasoned pricker. Instead, you encouraged me that it’s just because it would not be easy to do on your own child. “Call me anytime,” you offered. “You’re doing a great job at all this.” I’m surprised but I believed you, and I really needed to that day.
For every second of your obvious and unseen careful care….thank you. Because of all of those moments, I get to enjoy regular life with my child.
From every mom who has ever needed a nurse to help her love her child, we all thank you for the courage you give us, for the way that you step in when we can’t, and for the normalcy on the other side. You have changed our lives forever for the better.