We met over 20 years ago and I didn’t catch your name. I am sure you told me, but I was preoccupied (sorry) and at a point in my life where I didn’t realize the importance of knowing people’s names. You were gentle and kind and somehow managed to hold up my bulk as I was teetering on the edge of the gurney as the anesthesiologist inserted the very painful needle in my back to administer the epidural I had just fought so hard for.
When the doctor left, you quietly expressed admiration for the fact that I stuck to my guns and insisted on the epidural I had carefully put into my birth plan, despite the doctor’s obvious preference for a spinal. (You also mentioned that you would not have done the same thing, but this choice was mine to make.) You probably did not realize how important that comment was to me. I needed that validation, as I was actually wavering in my resolve not long before I won that argument.
I believe that you also smiled under your mask when the obstetrician commented on what a “great idea” the walking epidural was. As it turned out, this enabled me to be much more comfortable for a longer period after surgery than I would have been otherwise (an unexpected side effect).
I may have a photo of your hands, holding my son as he came into this world, via the C-section that was necessary due to his feet-first breech position. The rest of my time in the OR is a blur. I remember looking to the left, where my husband stood next to me and where the plastic bassinet holding my son was. I remember his scores were good and my husband repeating “It’s a boy,” in a tone of wonder. Then I was in recovery and you, I am sure, were showing your gentle kindness to the next soon-to-be mother, helping another baby into this world.
I have thought of you from time to time, and regret that I did not get your name or thank you properly. I probably could have sent a note. My hospital records would likely have made it possible for it to get to you, but the thought was fleeting, and life (as it often does, especially with a newborn in the house) got in the way.
I hope that at some point, someone has taken the time to thank you properly, not the simple sort of thank you we offer daily out of politeness, but the genuine, heartfelt kind you deserve. You should be told often how much what you do matters, how good you are at your job, how much you are appreciated.
You put my mind at ease. That early morning fight to get what I wanted, on an empty stomach, against someone who clearly knew more than I did about pain control, made me question myself a bit. You reassured me and made the experience better. Being a strong believer in the health benefits of reduced stress, I believe that this was beneficial to my son as well. There is no way I could thank you enough. I only wish I had done so sooner.