When Tate was born, there were many people I wanted him to meet, but the nurses from the 7th floor were way at the top of the list. More than anyone except Kevin, they were a part of my pregnancy. Every day for 62 days they listened to Tate's little heart beat and watched our strip on the monitors, diligently looking for any problem. They watched him kick and saw my belly finally getting big, and as the weeks passed, they grew more and more invested in my son. The night before I was discharged two different nurses teared up saying goodbye because they didn't believe I'd bring Tate back to meet them. I knew they were worrying for no reason and promised we'd be back, and this week I was delighted to be able to follow through on our promise.
Watching those ladies glow as they cuddled with my baby boy has been one of the highlights of Tate's short life. While they fought over who'd gotten to hold him the longest, we chatted, and I realized for the first time that they aren't just being modest when they refuse to admit they had any part in Tate's healthy birth. They genuinely believe that's true. They see the part that I played, which was admittedly the defining role, but they don't see how much impact they had on my ability to do what had to be done. It wasn't just bringing me pills or filling my water jug a million times a day. They took the time to really get to know me and talk through my fears, both about the pregnancy and about eventually being Tate's mom. They didn't have to let me into their lives by sharing their own heartbreaking and difficult pregnancy stories or their own fears about motherhood, but time and time again, that's exactly what they did. Tons of other people played a part in my surviving those two long months, but day in and day out it was those nurses who encouraged me to keep going and convinced me I was even capable of doing it.
I doubt I'll ever be able to convince them of just how big a role they had in Tate's safe arrival, and they'll probably never really grasp just how much we love them... but we'll keep visiting. Tate will know that he's a miracle, and he'll also know that these women were a huge part of making that happen.
Tate and Caryl