During my pregnancy, I have been hospitalized three different times. My first visit to the hospital with blood pressure issues was back in February at Memorial Hospital in Carbondale. After a few days there, it was decided that going to Barnes would be best for me and for Baby H.
That first round of the hospital stay was a nerve wracking one. At that point, I was only 21 weeks, and there was a lot of talk about preeclampsia, the survival of the baby, and survival for myself: I was in serious danger, as was baby.
And while a team of doctors were in and out, it was the nurses who eased fears. Nurses who worked round the clock (not just with me, but others as well), nurses who had given birth, shared their stories, and talked with me when I really just wanted to cry.
From the first visit and trip to Barnes, I was readmitted to Barnes for a few days in March. I once again experienced high blood pressure issues, and even though I was a bit farther along in the pregnancy, there were still concerns. I saw familiar faces, nurses who remembered my first visit, remembered our story, remembered my case. Nurses had to administer steroid shots to help Baby H’s lungs develop, and nurses eased my fears about delivery. I even had some good conversations about baby things, because right now, I’m in the “starting over” boat, so I learned about car seats, breast pumps, and baby supplies.
And even though there are doctors who are in and out (and who are wonderful, by the way), it is the nurse, the nurses who really do a fantastic job on each antepartum unit (Carbondale and Barnes). I never feared about a poor choice, bad decision, or worried about medications. I felt like I made friends. I felt a connection, with each blood pressure check, with each monitor set up, the nurses began to learn that Baby H was the boss (we’ve decided he’s boss baby–letting us know he’s in charge already).
With this last visit, I saw familiar faces from my first stay in Carbondale. Some remembered me as “the one with blood pressure concerns,” some remembered that I had been at Barnes. When you stay for several days, there’s the chance you may have the same nurse. I was lucky to be that patient, the one who had repeat nurses for the day and night shift…and that made the stay so much easier.
I felt comfortable with Kendra and Kaycee. I shared with them some concerns about labor and delivery, they got to know my family. Same with some of our nurses at Barnes, they became part of our family in a sense, part of our routine, and just like the nurses at Carbondale, they are friendly faces during a time of concern and worry. They are angels. I believe that.
Nurses go above and beyond their call of duty at times. Sitting with you at 4 in the morning talking about c-sections, labor, pain medications, and delivery procedures, talking with your kids and husband about a new baby, keeping your family informed when you don’t have the words to say what you are feeling, flushing your IV, checking your blood pressure anywhere from every 15 minutes to every 4 hours, they are there with you in the highs and lows of a hospital stay.
This pregnancy has been tough. At one point, Sam and I had a conversation about it and I said, “I don’t feel like I would want to do this again.” I know that some women are fortunate to have an easy pregnancy, some women love being pregnant, and some women long to be pregnant. For me, this pregnancy comes with a load of mixed emotions. I never thought I would be hospitalized. I never imagined not going through regular labor pains (early signs of delivery on the horizon like my water breaking, contractions, etc.), and I never thought that at any minute I could go in for an induction because of blood pressure.
After many conversations with nurses, I feel at ease. What happens will happen. Baby H is already a little stubborn, determined to keep us on our toes, but he is so loved. From complete strangers, to blog readers, to family and friends, he has a lot of folks praying for him and sending him good vibes. He has some nurses ready to love on him, see him, and tell him how bossy he is already. He has a sister and a brother who can’t wait to see him. He has a dad that tells him every day “I can’t wait to see you!”
So, to all of the nurses here in southern Illinois and in St. Louis…thank you. You’ll never know how much your care and dedication has meant to me (and to my family). The conversations to ease my mind, the conversations through tears to let you know how I am feeling, those are moments I will never forget. You all hold a very, very special place in my heart. Thank you for caring for me and for my baby, and for keeping us safe.