The nurses at Sick Kids.
Say this to the parents of children who have had extended stays at the hospital, and you’ll hear a lot of the same words. Kind, dedicated, loving, family. Aside from their unbelievable knowledge and abilities, these are the qualities that make nurses so very special. And so under appreciated.
These men and women hold such a sweet spot in my heart.
For the first 4 weeks of Killian’s life, we lived in a ward room. Which is a larger, non private room with 4 beds in it. The room always has at least 2 nurses in it, at all times. I sat there every day, for hours on end. My brain was so overwhelmed that I literally just sat and watched everything going on around me.
I watched the nurses. Saw them not only provide these tiny, precious lives with the absolute best medical care, but saw them become family for these babes and their parents. They bathed these babies. They sang to them, rocked them, read to them.
They took the time to learn our names and our stories, made us feel welcome in our new home.
During their incredibly busy shifts, they took the time to teach me everything they could. They taught me skills I needed to allow me to help take care of him. They gave me the ability to be his mom. When you’re living in a hospital with a medically fragile child, every tiny thing you do with them is different. It’s terrifying. You constantly have the fear that you’re going to hurt them, or cause something to go wrong. It’s so easy to feel disconnected from your child. Because of the kindness of these people, I never felt alienated from him. I was fully involved in his care. That something that I am so unbelievably thankful for.
The nights in the ward, there was no where for us to sleep. Having to leave your baby at night feels so very wrong. Those first few nights were the worst for me. My heart broke every night when I had to kiss him goodnight and leave him in the care of strangers. I would cry from the time I left until I fell asleep. One of those first nights I left around midnight and rushed back in around 530 the next am. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I walked in to see one of the nurses sitting in a chair with Killian, rocking him and reading a book. I started to cry again. I was so relieved and comforted to see that he was being loved, even though I couldn’t be there. It was quiet in the ward, probably for the first time all night. Instead of sitting at the desk, having a coffee and well deserved break, this woman chose to sit and rock my sweet baby.
After Killian died, they hugged me and cried with me. The nurses in his room when he died, calmly unhooked him from all the monitors and IVs and handed him to us to hold for his last breaths, and then they turned and cried. They came to see us and him that last day. I got calls at home a week later just to check in.
These nurses are the most amazing people. They see us in our most painful, scary, vulnerable and horrible moments of our lives and step up to the plate. And they do it with compassion and empathy. Things that don’t always come naturally to people. Things that must be so easy to lose in that field.
I need to thank them. And every other nurse for not becoming jaded and hard. For being such wonderful people, that weeks after leaving, I still miss them.
So thank you. From the bottom of my hurting heart. You are so appreciated.