My doctor told me it is time to pick the hospital where I will deliver, so I dutifully scheduled a couple of birthing center tours this last week. One of them was back at the hospital where I delivered (and lost) Michael. I admit to having some trepidation about returning through those doors — my visit to the other hospital in the area had left me feeling anxious and keyed up, and several loss families I’ve met both through the web and in person had cautioned me: returning to the same place is very emotional, often carrying negative associations.
Needless to say, as I parked my car on Friday morning, I didn’t really know what to expect.
It turned out to be a beautiful surprise. It was so emotional, but in a manner I was not expecting. It was healing. Heartwarming. Comforting.
The nurse who came out to give me the tour was the one who took care of me post-partum. As soon as she saw me, she asked where we’d met before… and when I told her, she wrapped me up in a hug and we walked arm-in-arm through the facility. It was like visiting with an old friend.
When we got done with the tour, I asked about the sweet nurse who sat with me through my labor, and after a short call, she walked in. As soon as the brief introduction was halfway said, I was again wrapped up in a hug, and we stood there in tears for a while.
“I want you to know that not a single day has gone by where I haven’t thought about you, your husband, or your son, Michael, and wondered how things were going,” she whispered in my ear. She thought about Michael on his birthday. She had gone back through the files and reports and charts several times to make certain she’d done everything possible that day. She had wanted to do so much for us in the days and months after, but didn’t want to make it any harder.
And I finally got the chance to say how appreciative I was of everything she and the other fine ladies had done for us. How I saw all the little things, the commitment, the caring, and how I didn’t — and would never — forget. All the things I wanted to say, all the letters I wanted to write but was never gutsy enough to actually pen… I got to tell them in person.
And I got to say Thank You.
My heart grows full again just thinking about it.
If you have found yourself in similar shoes to mine, I recommend getting back in touch with the medical staff who shared your experience. Don’t do it right away, give yourself time to process, to heal a bit… but when you can, if you can, do it. All too often, I think we view medical professionals as merely providers of a service, and we forget that they are human, too. And they care about their patients just as much as we do. In an experience as traumatic and emotional as a loss, they are right there with you, invested in it 150%. They understand in a way the average passersby doesn’t. It was such a release to be able to talk openly and freely about that day, and to be able to validate the experience. It was touching and humbling and affirming on a deeply personal level. My soul feels moved great distances. <3
And that’s a beautiful, helpful thing. :-)