I was a labor and delivery nurse for 14 years of my career.
I had one patient who came in at 37 weeks pregnant. She was sent to the hospital after her OB discovered the baby did not have a heartbeat during her weekly OB visit. She had lost her baby and we were going to have to induce her to have a vaginal birth.
I took care of her the rest of my shift. When I came back the next day, she had not delivered yet, and I requested to take care of her again. She delivered a perfect, beautiful baby boy they named Andrew, later that evening. It was especially heartbreaking because it wasn’t evident at the time of delivery what had caused her to lose her baby. Later tests revealed it was from an infection. It was a very emotional shift for 16 hours, to support her and her family throughout the labor and delivery process as well as to ensure her memory box was complete with footprints, photos, armbands, and a lock of hair.
It's the greatest honor to be there and take care of someone in their darkest moment.
By the time she delivered, her entire family had rushed to her bedside – her husband, three sisters and brother, her parents, and her two and a half-year-old daughter. She had the most incredibly close-knit family I’ve ever met.
Earlier that day, I’d observed that the family valued photography because one of the patient’s sisters brought in a professional camera. I wanted that sister to be able to support her family and not worry about capturing this part of their family’s history behind the lens of a camera. After all, the entire family was in shock and grieving and she was no exception.
I knew a photographer in the area who was sometimes available for moments like this. I called the photographer to ask if she was available. She said she had an early morning appointment scheduled the next day and could only come in if the baby was delivered that evening. Unfortunately, her assistant would not be available the next day either.
I offered the family the option to have the photographer capture images of their son with his family, and they were very thankful to be able to do it. When Andrew was born that evening, the photographer was able to capture the moment. She did an amazing job capturing the overwhelming amount of love and grief in the room. She put the images to beautiful music in a video for them. About a month later the patient sent a copy of it to me and told me she would be grateful to me forever for providing this gift to her and her family.
Andrew’s mother went on to have two more sons, and I have remained very close with the family.
The grandparents have invited me to their home. They have a wall where they display an 8x10 photo of each of their grandkids. Where Andrew’s picture should be, they have a picture of the sky with the balloons they released on the anniversary of his birth. Every year they do something in his remembrance. Andrew will always be loved and remembered by his family.
That was 10 years ago, and we still send each other messages to this day. I feel forever close to that family. It’s the greatest honor to be there and to take care of someone in their darkest moment. They need you to make the biggest difference for them.