Oh, Donna

June 4, 2009

Some stories and memories both hurt and heal.  Have you noticed this?

All of our nurses were wonderful, and after my few days in the hospital I was convinced that at least three of them were angels in human form.  This is a story about one of them, a beautiful nurse in the NICU who helped us move Teddy, with his ventilator tubes and equipment, into a little room where we could hold him and have some time with him before letting go.  She had dark hair and dark eyes, and calm, sure hands, and her name was Donna.

She moved tubes aside for us, sometimes taping them up and out of the way so that we could hold him and see as much of his face as possible.  She would shift things around for us when I passed Teddy to Nathan, when he passed him back to me.  She stood outside the room, within reach of our voices in case we needed any help or in case we noticed any signs of distress from our little boy.  Without compassion and quiet competence she helped to make the grim practicalities of our time together as easy as possible so that we could focus on what was important, on Teddy and how much we loved him.

She helped move him to the manual ventilator when we took him outside to say goodbye and she waited with us in the garden until we could say, yes, we are as ready as we can be.  Until we could say, yes, please take the tube out.  And after he died, she took his small body away to be cleaned and dressed in the clothes we had chosen for him.  N and I sat in the garden, with some of his family, waiting for her to bring him back, to bring his body back.

And this, this is the part that breaks my heart and makes me more grateful than I can write in words – when Mom went to say we were ready, ready to see and hold our son’s body, she found Donna, having given our little boy his first and only bath, having dressed him and wrapped him in a blanket, was rocking him and singing to him, holding him as though he were the most precious thing in the world, pouring love onto him.

How do you say thank you for something like that?



  1. The world certainly needs more Donnas. And they should all become midwives.

  2. Oh hon! Thank you for the cry. I haven’t cried since J’s anniversary but this just brought back the memories.

    *hugs* This is why I want to be a nurse midwife, I want to say thank you. Hopefully in 5 years, maybe I’ll be there

  3. What a beautiful person. And what a beautiful memory to have of a stranger showering Teddy with love. You must have such a special place in your heart for Donna.

  4. No words. Just tears.

  5. No words, just tears.

  6. What a beautiful soul. An angel indeed.
    I am so glad you had Donna; that she was there for you, your family, and Teddy. What a bittersweet story, Erica, I so hear you about memories that hurt and heal… xo

  7. What a wonderful woman. Tears from me too.

  8. That is the most beautiful story. You’re right, some nurses are worth their weight in gold.

  9. tears. how absolutely beautiful.

    we just had dinner with our friend last night, who is a nurse at the hospital where we had lev. it was powerful to sit with her and hear of her experiences. she also told us that a few of the nurses still ask about us- they were amazing too-angels.

    much love

  10. What a beautiful woman. I am so glad that she was there for you, your family and especially for Teddy.

  11. wow. that’s really wonderful

    I know that some hospitals have ways for patients to commend staff, , or you could do a donation in her name tot he hospital, so that it would be published in the annual report.

    She deserves the recognition.

  12. You just did, Erica… This is gorgeous. I have always wondered what it was like for Tikva’s nurse, Elaine, to be alone with Tikva’s body after we left the hospital for the last time… I might have to ask her.

  13. What an amazing woman. I wish we could clone her.

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