I just happened to be 20 minutes early going to work when I got the phone call that the baby was born. I was so excited; I mean, what are the chances that I would actually be early for work on that particular day? So I was able to visit with them in the morning and during lunch and share their first joyful moments as a family together. They are both very close friends of mine; you could actually say I was instrumental in getting them together, so I was very grateful to be able to share these moments with them. I went back to work, absolutely beaming with happiness.
Then the second set of troubles started. Before you read further, please don’t anticipate that there was any trouble with my friend’s baby. He is healthy and thriving. No, the trouble was with me. It is after all, my blog.
I will preface this by saying that my husband and I have been trying to conceive a child for the past year and a half, without success. It’s a very frustrating situation, but I guess I didn’t know just how frustrated I was until the afternoon I was deluged by a mob of pregnant women at work.
To set the scene: It was a half hour before shift change and I was receiving a new patient. Picture 5-7 people in a tiny ICU room, each person doing a different task in an amazing display of teamwork, in order to get the new patient settled in. It was my admission, but everyone was so competent and quick and more experienced than I, that they kind of took over. I tried to absorb everything and contribute what I could. It was so second nature to them that they immediately fell into this animated conversation that had nothing to do with the patient. It in fact had everything to do with…pregnancy.
One of the senior nurses has this odd psychic habit of dreaming of fishes each time a nurse on the unit finds out she is pregnant. She had recently dreamt of fish and the charge nurse was telling us that she believed the dream was about her. Squeals of delight ensued, everyone was ecstatic. I looked around the room and realized that out of the group of nurses that were helping me, two of them were already pregnant, another one had just given birth a month ago, and the charge nurse was announcing that she was pregnant.
Well. That was just a bit too much for me. I could feel the tears about to come, the flood gates were about to open. But like Tom Hanks says, “There’s no crying in baseball.” Thank god for the face shields that we wear when our patient is on isolation. No one could see that my eyes were welling up.
So I swallowed it down and continued about my business. Eventually the patient got settled in and everyone left to go get ready for shift change. Now that I was alone I couldn’t stop thinking about what had ensued. The events from the past few days flashed through my mind: the brain dead mother with the expelled fetus, my friend’s baby downstairs, and now this. The floodgates broke. At that exact moment, the charge nurse (who is a wonderful person, by the way, and I felt horrible for inwardly raining on her parade) came back around to see if I was okay. She saw my tears and immediately handed me some tissues and sent me to the back office to let it all out. Then she set about tying up my loose ends for me.
So let it all out I did, wiping my eyes down with the sandpaper-like hospital tissues. The charge nurse came back and I explained the whole awkward situation to her. Coincidentally, she just happened to be the one who guided me through the whole deceased pregnant woman situation, and she was very understanding.
Later that night, I had a premonitory dream about the patient that I had just admitted.