It was 1979 and I was carrying my first child. I didn’t know the Lord yet. That wouldn’t happen until 4 years later. But things were going well with my pregnancy. I was approaching the 9th month and the doctor said that all was well.
I had noticed that I had not felt my baby moving or kicking. I read in a book that, towards the end, the baby’s movement sometimes slows down, so I tried not to worry. I went for my appointment with the obstetrician.
One thing that did bother me was that my friends who were having babies spoke about hearing the baby’s heartbeat on the Doppler machine. My doctor didn’t use that. He would listen using a stethoscope.
It had been about three days since I had felt movement. The doctor listened with the stethoscope and told the nurse that the fetal heartbeat was good. After I mentioned to him that I had not felt movement, he looked concerned. He opened a drawer and took out a different stethoscope and listened again.
He moved the instrument all around and listened over and over. Then he said words that I will never forget. He said that my baby might be gone, but that I was to come back in a week – so I should go home and try not to think about it.
Try not to think about it?
I remember driving home with tears in my eyes. I had to pull over once because I was having trouble seeing. I have never cried so hard in my whole life.
When I got home I called my mom. After telling her what the doctor said, she asked me to come over to her house. She told me that she wanted me to see my sister’s obstetrician. I was skeptical because this was the sister who had been so cruel to me my whole life.
But for the first time I saw compassion in her. She drove me to her doctor’s office. After listening with the Doppler, the doctor confirmed that my baby was gone. He prescribed a sedative for me, and told me that my body would most likely go into labor within a couple of days. He said to go home and call him when my labor started.
That night my labor began. We met the doctor at the hospital. He told me that he did not want to do a C-section on me. They began giving me a drug that was supposed to bring on labor.
At night I slept on a sick ward – away from babies. Each morning they wheeled me down to maternity, put me in a room and gave me the Pitocin all day long, but I would not dilate. So after another mentally and emotionally exhausting day, they wheeled me to my room again. This went on for almost 6 days. I felt numb.
At about day 3, a new nurse came into my room in the early evening. I remember that she was very beautiful – long black hair and blue eyes; but I would come to see that she was just as beautiful inside.
She had so much compassion for me. When I would cry, she would sit on my bed and hold my hand. I even saw her eyes fill with tears. She didn’t say much, but her presence was so calming. I could tell that she truly cared.
This nurse was so involved with my situation, she would go home after her shift was over and come back just to sit with me. I was overwhelmed by her caring heart.
After 5 days of this emotional torment, my doctor knew that he had to take my baby by Cesarean section. I was very close to having a breakdown. When I was being prepped for surgery, a nurse asked me “Are you going to be awake for this?” My doctor had just walked in and heard her. He said “No, Geri will be going under general anesthesia.”
I was on the gurney, ready to be wheeled into the operating room. Suddenly I saw my sweet nurse friend. She walked beside me and told me not to be afraid. She said that she was assisting my doctor for the C-section.
When I woke up in recovery, my nurse was there. She told me what my little baby boy looked like. She said that he was so beautiful and described his features to me – it was as if she had painted a picture of him which would stay with me forever.
Nowadays, doctors always want the mother to see the baby who is deceased. It is part of the grieving process. But this happened many years ago before doctors knew the importance of this.
Back at home
I was only home a day when the phone rang. It was my nurse friend asking if she could bring lunch over. I just couldn’t believe it. I told her that I would love to see her. We had a wonderful time.
A few days later I kept thinking about her and realized that I didn’t have her number. I called the hospital and got through to the maternity ward. I had forgotten her name (which is SO me) but I talked to the head nurse and described my nurse friend to her.
The head nurse told me that she didn’t recall any of her nurses who looked like what I had described. I even spoke to other nurses, and they said the same thing to me.
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2).
I could find no other explanation for what happened. In the darkest time of my life, this beautiful and compassionate friend came into my life; and I really do not know how I would have gotten through that time without my angel nurse.
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