The one who sat next to me the first night, as my newborn was whisked away and a medical team swarmed like honeybees around him.
The one who passed tissues, held my hand, rubbed my back. Without her, my tears and I would have been alone as I whispered fervent prayers for my son’s life to be spared.
A nurse did that.
The one who watched over him, tenuous, fragile, barely holding on to life. The one who advocated, held him steady, and kept watch, as I fell asleep wondering if I would ever see him again with breath in his lungs. A nurse did that.
The one who taught me. No eye rolls or signs of annoyance at my incessant questions. What is this? What is that for? What did that word mean? I needed to mother my son, somehow, and he knew that, so with everything he did, he taught me. And while he cared for my son, he cared also for me. A nurse did that.
The one who laughed with me. My first normal conversation in weeks. My first chance to feel like a human and not just “mom of patient X”. The one who gave me a chance to tell my stories like I would to anyone else and the one who made the sterile hospital walls feel a little less constricting, a little less foreign, a little more like home. A nurse did that.
The one who rubbed his little head, saw him as more than just a sick baby, talked about his chicken legs and sweet smile. The one who saw more than just a sickness, she saw the special boy behind it, humanising him, valuing him, cherishing him, so that I wasn’t the only one. A nurse did that.
The one who coached me, who looked toward the future with me, even when a future seemed like a slim chance. The one who planned out sports and told me never to restrict him, to never put my own fearful limitations on him, but to let my baby boy only limit himself. The one who gave me hope for a future and didn’t let me give up. A nurse did that.
The one who supported me, locked eyes across a frantic room. No words were needed, only action, as code doses that we both knew by heart were drawn up. Bag pulled off the wall and in action, our eyes switched from his fragile body to the screen and back to him. The one who took the time to know my son and to know me so well that we had an understanding, an acknowledgement of the terrifying situations and the fact that she would stick by him, come hell or high water. A nurse did that.