Earlier this week, I received this message from her on Facebook. While the goosebumps were still on my arms and the tears on my cheeks, I asked her if I could use it here. She graciously edited it for a larger audience (and made sure to protect the rights of the person in the story) and sent it back to me this morning. Please enjoy her story.
I read your latest post a few days ago... As always, so touching and well-written. Truly. You tell your story so eloquently. The reason I wanted to send you this message is because there's a tiny part of your story you don't know about, a connection way off on a tangent of a tangent.
As you may or may not know, I just started my clinical rotations in nursing school. I'm currently on an ob/gyn rotation and I happened to be seeing a woman for a routine prenatal appointment who was about 8 months pregnant with her first baby. She had had an ultrasound a few weeks ago and all was well. But at this appointment, the little handheld doppler wasn't picking up a heartbeat. I took her myself up to L&D triage for an ultrasound. She lay on the stretcher as the nurse put the probe on her belly. I tend to suck at reading ultrasounds, but I could tell I wasn't seeing the one thing we were looking for.
My stomach was in my throat and during the silent eternity of the ultrasound I could feel my heart beating so loudly that I thought someone would tell me to shut up. I put my hand on the woman's shoulder and squeezed. The nurse said she needed to get someone and left to get an ob/gyn attending, who repeated the ultrasound and confirmed the loss. She explained a few things then left. A nurse came in and out of the room and was supportive, but much of the time it was just me and the woman. I sat on the edge of her bed and we talked. We talked about what was going to happen next. We talked about her hobbies and her job. We talked about support groups. We talked about her dog. She asked me if she would be able to hold her son.
The whole time, I was trying desperately to say and do things that would be helpful and to avoid saying and doing things that would make the situation worse, all while trying my hardest to hold back the tears that were coming. And the fact is, nursing school doesn't have any lectures on how to sit in a room with a woman going through this tragedy, how to be the only person there to support her for the hour before her family arrives.
I have learned so much from reading your posts. I thought of you and I let the journey you have shared with such openness and candor be my guide. And I know I was better equipped to be there for this woman because of it. So thank you. I visited her in her room the next two mornings, despite being nervous to do so. I still worried I would do something wrong and make things worse or that she would think I was being intrusive. But the glimpse you've given me into what it means to go through something so terrible gave me the courage to overcome my nervousness and be there for her. After my second visit I hugged her goodbye and later that day she was discharged home.
In the end I could tell my presence was appreciated, and I truly believe that I was a help to this woman because of you and your willingness to share your story. And I believe that it is one more way that Allie has made a difference in this world. I hope you don't mind reading the long story... I just wanted to share it with you and once again thank you.
Amazing, huh? Thank you for letting Allie's story be your guide. What a gift. And what a nice reminder to me that although she is not here physically, my little angel is indeed making an impact on the lives of others.