I was admitted to have my baby. I was nervous for a few reasons: it was my first baby, so I had no idea what I was doing; we had had a rough year emotionally for personal reasons, and I am a pediatric nurse at Arnold Palmer Hospital, so I know all of the awful things that can happen if something goes wrong during labor and that scared me. Ashley, my nurse in Labor and Delivery, was the perfect fit for my husband and me; she put us right at ease. She was the epitome of someone we could trust, and I ended up sharing our story with her. Not only did she truly listen, but she had empathy and reassured me in the most honest, compassionate way. I will never forget the kindness she showed us on the most emotional night of our lives.
During the night, Ashley’s other patient needed her for an extended period. She clearly communicated this to us and collaborated with her charge nurse to make sure all my needs were met while she was gone. The whole process was explained to me so well, it was a textbook case of superior communication. I cannot express enough how reassuring it was to know what was going to happen next and have it explained in a way I could understand.
After Ashley returned to my room later that night, it was time to push. I was emotionally and physically exhausted. There were several moments that I felt too tired or too overwhelmed to continue, and I almost broke down. Each time, Ashley saw me about to cry and kindly but firmly reminded me that I could do this. I cannot emphasize enough how the relationship we had developed in such a few short hours helped me to trust her and listen to her encouragement.
I pulled myself together and early in the morning, my daughter was born. Now, being a nurse myself, I knew it was shift change time and Ashley was not obligated to stay during my entire labor. I even told her I understood that she didn't have to stay later than required. She simply smiled and told me she knew she didn't have to stay, but that she wanted to.
It meant the world to me that I didn't have to switch nurses 10 minutes before my baby was born, just for continuity of care and emotional support. If that's not exemplary practice, I don't know what is. I want it to be known that I can't even think about my daughter's birth story without tears of joy welling up because I am so thankful for the amazing care that we received. I honestly do not think that I could have gone through that experience without Ashley's support and encouragement. We have a beautiful, healthy baby girl and I will always be truly thankful; to the nurse who helped bring her into this word.