Pediatric Nurses week was a month ago…. I think…. maybe more. I have had this post on the back burner for awhile, but life happened. While more than one friend of mine is a nurse who works with little ones, I want to talk about one in particular. I have known her for about four years and I knew she was a nurse. I knew she worked with kids. But I really had NO idea what she did. In my head I pictured the nurse at the pediatrician’s office. No no. That is not what Jen does.
Jen and her sister were two of the first people to figure out that I was pregnant. They noticed how green I was at her sister’s baby shower and how far I sat from the food. While I didn’t know it at the time, Jen was always checking on me during my pregnancy. Just checking in. She was one of the first people I talked to when we started to get hints that something that might not be normal with Lyra.
She just listened, and provided words of support. But she didn’t talk about what she did or where she worked.
After Lyra was born, I planned on Jen being one of the first people to visit. But things didn’t go well and we were very quiet about our little girl. She was struggling and I was scared.
Finally, after almost losing Lyra when she was 10 days old, I sent an email to a select group of friends to let them know Lyra was in the NICU at Children’s National and we didn’t know what was wrong. All we knew is that she wouldn’t eat. It was 3 AM. Almost immediately after sending that message I got a text from Jen.
“I get off work at 7am. I will meet you outside of the NICU. I work on the same floor.”
Jen was a nurse, at Children’s National. She was one of the few people who really got how scared I was and how sick Lyra was. She also knew that Lyra was in the best possible place she could be. During our next hospitalization at Children’s National (when this blog started), Jen would check in on Lyra on the pediatric floor. She works nights and knew that I didn’t always stay there. When she had the time, she would pop in and just see how my baby was.
Jen works with GI kiddos and over the past 16 months has been an amazing sounding board and source of information. She is also able to tell me things that I might not take as well from doctors, simply because she is my friend. She doesn’t sugar coat the reality of raising a child with complex GI/medical issues, but she also points out all the positive things that I haven’t always understood were tremendous milestones for children like Lyra.
“Kids like this fight for every oz they gain.” – Every time Lyra gains weight I think “Jen would be so proud.”
“Sometimes we discharge kids and they are back 24 hours later. It’s just not always clear what the answer is and why something stops working.” – I thought she was crazy. Totally nuts. How could a kid be good enough to go home and be readmitted 24 hours later? …. Then March happened and we did just that. At least Jen prepared me!
There are many others, but you get the idea.
In the end, Jen is my friend. She is my friend who quietly does amazing things and never brags. I know what Jen does because many Jens have taken care of Lyra (and me). Remember, she works on the GI floor, so she deals with a lot of “ew” every day. She has been a source of comfort, honesty, support, and humor. Even if she will never say anything herself, she deserves some bragging. So, I will do it for her.