Daily & I gave some awesome treats and card to her teachers yesterday. And I've been told that we'll be enjoying a good breakfast for Mother's Day (I'm working this weekend, which is fine, and I always love breakfast!)
But... Nurses Week is near and dear to me as a nurse myself, a parent and a patient.
Since last year's Nurses Week, I had preeclampsia and Franklin was born about 4 weeks early. In the midst of it all -- me getting a magnesium drip to prevent seizures from preeclampsia, Franklin needing a little respiratory support, the regular stuff after a baby is born -- I bled a lot. Like call-in-all-the-troops bleeding.
Thankfully, one amazing nurse asked another amazing nurse what she thought and that nurse called the troops in. (I call them "the troops", but it's really a post-partum hemorrhage team that includes many nurses, many OB/maternal-fetal-med doctors and anesthesiologists.)
I only remember this in the weird speed of fuzzy memories -- more than a dozen people swarmed in, my blood pressure was very low - 80/40 - after weeks of being high, I got amazing pain/anesthesia meds, doctors & nurses did a lot of crazy things and after losing more than 2 liters of bleeding, it was totally, beautifully stopped. I got antibiotics. I got cryopreciptate (a blood product) and hours of monitoring.
Nurses saved my life. Like, for real. Women die from massive blood loss after delivering babies. Women die from preeclampsia. Women die from these things in America, not just in far away places. I knew this was a possibility, because I'm a nurse and I'm a patient with exceptional doctors, but it still seemed very strange.
I cannot give words to the amazing attention, intelligence, speed, thoughtfulness and care of my medical team -- exceptional? brilliant? Treating me like I was their best friend/sister/mom/daughter? I can't even. When I think about this day, these hours, it's terrifying. I still don't totally understand it all, but I know that Franklin's delivery and my post-delivery course wasn't a joke. It wasn't great. It was rightfully very scary.
But I'm here & healthy. And Franklin's here & healthy because of nurses' tremendous knowledge, action and care.
A nurse was worried. Maybe she saw this before. Maybe she read about it. Maybe she just got a weird feeling. Maybe she noticed me looking pale and my pressures dropping. Maybe she saw something that didn't seem right, a tiny thing or a big thing, and then paid extra attention to some other things that pushed her toward "this is bad." I have no idea. I know my nurse that night was Agnes -- who will always be a hero in our house.
I remember this now, as a patient looking up at doctors and nurses -- woozy, uncertain, worried about Franklin, Daily & Brian, trying to make nurse-sense of what was happening to me. Nurses explained what was happening, they apologized for sticking me for labs, explained more, they put their hands on my me as they told me what to expect and brought me the most refreshing tiny cans of Diet Ginger Ale that have ever existed. They charted and charted and charted and charted.
When it was all done, a nurse brought me to see Franklin on my way to another 14 hours of bedrest on magnesium. Agnes, it so happened, asked "Will you call him Frank the Tank?"
He was a big baby and we'd settled on the name Franklin months before he was born but "Frank the Tank" had never crossed my mind but we LOVE Old School which features a Frank the Tank cheer.
Now we do call him Frank the Tank -- even though he is soft, snuggly and smiley. He's our little tank. He and I toughed out a tough labor and a tough pregnancy. We remember it now as tough -- not tragic or traumatic -- because of nurses.
Thank you all. Nurses, your work matters so, so, so much. Thank you.
*We also had the best, best, BEST doctors in the world of Maternal Fetal Medicine, obstetrics, anesthesia, NICU. Great doctors + great nurses = amazing things (like a healthy mama, a Franklin, a Daily, their dad).