Friday, April 10, 2009

What's My Name. . .?

There were no balloons, no cameras, no proud papa's standing on the other side of a double pane window pointing at the "one". No one making goofy faces as they ooohed and ahhed at all the tine wrinkled faces with tightly bundled up bodies in white hospital blankets. No, this little boy had no one. . . .

I was in my 3rd semester of clinicals and was so excited about it being my OB rotation. I just knew I was going to do so good this semester. Really, how hard can it be to just love up on all those sweet little babies? Boy was I ever wrong about that!!!! I had clinicals twice a week at a local hospital. One day I would be assigned to a "mother" and the next day I would be assigned to a "baby". I didn't really care for being assigned to the mother's. They all just wanted to be left alone. Understandably, they wanted to spend the next 24-48 hours (all the time they had in the hospital), with their husbands, boyfriends, baby and other family. They did not want some nursing student coming in asking them about pain, pushing on their belly's and looking for more drainage. They did not want a nursing student reminding them to wash and stay clean. And they certainly didn't want a nursing student trying to help them learn how to breastfeed their child.
I just knew after that first day with a mother, that I would love being in the newborn nursery even more. I would bathe, and hold and just love on all those babies. That is exactly what I did.

Day #1 - He's a boy!!! A sweet little bald headed boy. That is who I was assigned to. I went in the nursery, found my babies chart, wrote all the information I would need to write my paper. He was healthy, nothing unusual, normal weight, not eating really well, but that was to be expected. He was less than 24 hours old. While I am writing, I realize the nursery is much noiser than I expected. There is this one baby crying non stop. All the nurses were busy with other babies. In my mind, I kept thinking, "Why won't someone make that baby stop, why won't someone just pick him up, take him to his mother. . . something!". I put down my paper and pen and go to the crib of the now SCREAMING baby. I learned this was MY baby for the day. I also had heard from the other students that Nursery Nurses are VERY possesive. . . ask BEFORE you pick up ANY baby. So I asked the nurses if it was ok for me to hold him. They just looked at me with this weird face and said, "Sure, if you want. . ". I picked him up and he immediately stopped crying. I was hooked right there! I looked at the little blue "tag" in his crib but there was no name. It just said "Baby Boy". I took him to a rocking chair and rocked him with is pacifier in his mouth. Once he was quiet I asked another nurse about the name on the crib card. Maybe the mom hadn't decided yet . . .?

This is where it all went south!! I learned that his mother in fact had not named him. This little one didn't know his mother, his father, his grandparents, aunts, or uncles. Did he have siblings? See, his mom had given birth to him late the night before. When the nurses went to check on her that morning, shortly before I got there, she was nowhere to be found. She was all of 19 years old. She had come into the hospital alone and now alone is exactly how she left this sweet little baby boy she brought into this world. She had abandoned her baby!!!

Before I could stop myself, I had tears streaming down my face. How could someone do such a thing?? I just didn't understand, couldn't understand, and really didn't want to understand. It was totally unacceptable!!! Social services had been contacted. They had tried to contact the mom of this baby, without success. She was gone. . . long gone! This "Baby Boy" would now become a ward of the state, he would be in foster care until a judge decided he could be adopted. He was now crying again. . . I was crying. I couldn't contain myself. I just held him and prayed. There was nothing else to do. I wanted to take him and run as far away as I could. I could give him a good home, I would love him, I would take care of him. But I knew that I couldn't do that. I knew that would just be worse. It was my moment of irrational thinking. You know the one. . . when someone is in crisis and you will do just about anything to make it all better, even if it means breaking the law. Then all of the sudden reality hits you so hard in the back of the head you feel like you have whiplash. . . that is what happened. So, instead of running, I prayed. I prayed that a good family would be found, QUICKLY! I prayed for his mom, that she would be ok, that she was healthy and would somehow, someday find resolution in what she had done. I prayed that he would grow up knowing he was loved and have a big full life of all that is wonderful! Together we cried and rocked for what seemed like my entire day.

It was that day in paticular that I remember most about my OB rotation. The day I decided I wanted NOTHING to do with being an OB nurse. The day I realized my heart would break every day if I had to deal with new life being taken for granite like this. The day I realized I really didn't like this part of nursing school. The first day of a semester full of tears.

That was in 2004. "Baby Boy" would be 5 years old now. I still think of him often and it still brings a tear to my eyes. Did he find a good home? Is someone loving him enough? Is he healthy and happy? Maybe I have seen him somewhere and didn't even know it. But there is a connection. That day we were both grieving his lose. Today, I pray that he is living an abundant life, full of hopes and dreams. Running through the grass barefoot, playing in the dirt and learning to ride a bike. He would be a "Big Boy" now!



  1. Wow... what a story. Exactly why I have become a foster parent. You must be a great nurse, because you care so much. (((hugs)))ag

  2. Oh wow.....Only amazing women can be nurses.

  3. oh! wonderful profession you have chosen, sister. you are nearer to many angels and gods.

    i see sister nightingale in your heart.

    My prayer with the almighty to strengthen your heart and give nerve of steel, to lend helping hand to this lame world.

    gurudEva dayaa karo deena jane