I’ve had my four babies in four different states, so each time I’ve delivered it’s been a full new set of doctors, hospitals and nurses.

Each of those deliveries have lots of happy memories, both during the actual birth and then in the two days afterward, but in every case, the people who stand out to me most memorably are the nurses who were there for every step of the way.

When I was in labor with Ella, the nurse told me what things to avoid on the cafeteria menu (basically everything) but suggested that the milkshakes were second to none and to make sure to order at least one. I took her advice and she wasn’t wrong.

Hours later, after I inhaled my first meal in nearly 12 hours (that post-delivery hunger is no joke!), I asked the postpartum nurse if I could have another cookie and she told me the cafeteria was now closed, but she’d try to hunt one down. Ten minutes later she returned with not one, but THREE chocolate chip cookies she’d located on one of the food carts. Nearly seven years later and I still love this nurse with all my heart.

The next morning, when I woke up, I was greeted by a new nurse who said, “It’s not fair that you not only just had a baby, but just woke up and you still look better than I do!” This was categorically untrue, but I loved her immediately for saying it. And two minutes later, she said, “Let’s take that IV out of your arm – it makes you feel like a sick person to have that sticking out of your vein.” Have I mentioned that I loved her?

And then, the next morning, she came in and informed me that my insurance probably covered an electric breast pump and she called my insurance company and had the whole thing taken care of before we left the hospital. Every time I’ve used my pump since 2010, I’ve thought of this nurse who made me feel like a million bucks during the two days I was under her care, and made my life a lot easier for the next seven years.

Newborn first weeks

When Ani was born, this super nice nurse got me all situated in the delivery room as I prepared for my induction, but mentioned that she was already scheduled to assist in a C-section, so she’d be down the hall and not able to be with me. When she stepped out, Bart and I both lamented that she wouldn’t be there because we’d immediately liked her so much. A few minutes later she returned and announced that she’d swapped with another nurse because she wanted to be there when our baby was born. She was fantastic from start to finish, and I was so delighted that she’d requested to be part of Ani’s birth.

Star’s lightning fast delivery in triage was highly stressful and the whole thing is a bit of a blur, but I clearly remember the two nurses who assisted. One of them was a nurse in training, and after the doctor said there wasn’t time to move to an actual delivery room or get an epidural, she said, “I always get the exciting births!” Her good attitude made me feel less stressed about this not-ideal situation and made it seem more like an adventure.

Fifteen minutes later, as I just about squeezed her hand off and she said, “You can do this!” I barked back at her, “No, I can’t!” and she just laughed, which made me feel much less guilty about yelling at a stranger.

And the other nurse brought Bart an orange juice when he started getting super dizzy in the tiny, overheated triage room, cheerfully changed her scrubs after they got blood all over them, and then made a joke after Star went to the bathroom all over those fresh scrubs approximately 30 seconds after she’d put them on.

Two and a half months ago, I loved the postpartum nurse who arranged all the vitals checks so that I could get as much sleep as possible, brought in endless snacks for me (I never thought I’d have any interest in an Uncrustables PB&J, but I ate . . . many during my 48 hour stay), and sympathized when Tally nursed non-stop for seven hours the second night in the hospital.

I don’t remember the names of all of those nurses who made my four deliveries and hospital stays so pleasant and happy, but I think of them often and am so grateful for both their medical expertise and their amazing bedside manners that made them feel like highly competent friends who were on my team as we added a new little baby to our family.

As I was reflecting on the nurses that attended to me and my babies, I thought about how different they all were. There’s no one way to be a great nurse – some are like warm grandmas, others make you laugh, and others know when to quietly shut the door and let you and your baby keep sleeping.

They know when to give advice and when to step back and let you make the decisions for you and your baby. Sometimes they bring medications and sometimes they bring chocolate chip cookies from the cafeteria. Sometimes they’re young and enthusiastic and sometimes they’re veteran nurses who know just what to do.

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