I went to my obstetrician's office at 25 weeks pregnant because I hadn't felt my baby move and was feeling anxious. I was told there was no heartbeat, and I was admitted that evening for labor induction. Needless to say, I was apprehensive about which nurse would be helping me through this physically traumatic event but had no idea I would be getting so much more than just a nurse; I would be getting a friend to help me through the emotional trauma as well.
We first met Tracy on the Tuesday morning shift after a very long, sleepless night. I had been given cervical softeners and had gotten a high fever from them. She pulled up her stool that morning and cried with us and prayed with us. She offered us real, heart-wrenching compassion that is so hard to come by in patient-care. As someone who works in healthcare, one often becomes jaded simply by the commonality of traumatic health events, but in her care, there was nothing but empathy. It was clear from that very first encounter that even if we had no luck elsewhere, at least we had been given her.
I didn't start Pitocin until Wednesday because the softeners were taking so long to work. I was told they hoped I would deliver that day but was cautioned that it could take into the next day. Tracy assured me without hesitation that even if her shift was over by the time I was ready to deliver, that she would be there by my side.
Throughout the labor and delivery process, she was the epitome of a great nurse. She anticipated my every need, and even then, things I had never even thought to ask for. We had no idea there would be so many decisions that we were not prepared to make. She sat and explained every option, talked us through every concern and second-guess, and did so with the patience of a saint.
Tracy cried and prayed with my family and kept them informed of progress when I wasn't emotionally able to speak the words myself. She helped them pick out an outfit, hat, and blanket for the baby, and I found out later that they had casually mentioned that purple was my favorite color. That night, she had the box for the clay molds of the baby's hands and feet painted purple for me.
After she was born, Tracy dressed her and brought her to me and my husband, and then brought my family in as the time came. She stayed for her baptism and prayed with us and helped with funeral home selection and arrangements.
Under the worst of circumstances, she stood out as a ray of sunshine. Tracy made us laugh when we never thought we would again. Her compassion, patience, and empathy seemed never-ending, and I hope that anyone who has the misfortune of having to go through something so devastating has their own nurse like the one I had to help them through it.