The only way I will be able to get any sleep tonight is if I write & get out everything I have running thru my head.
I got one of those phone calls tonight that I wish had never happened. It was a dear friend and she was crying.
“Why are you crying??!!”
And she said, “You’re gonna be cryin too, sister. You know, Angel?”
Of course I knew Angel. Angel R. was my Angel. She was one of our heroes. She first came into my family’s life on April 10, 2011, in the early hours of the morning, when MB was born via c-section.
(That’s Angel in the background in the blue gown)
Angel was our baby nurse that night & she cleaned up MB, helped Will cut the cord, and once I was in recovery & MB’s temp was regulated well enough, Angel brought my sweet baby to me and placed my first born in my arms for the first time.
She was Heaven-sent that week during our stay in the hospital. She would work the night shift, and since they served dinner at 4:30 on Post Partum, I was starving by MB’s 9 o’clock feeding, let alone midnight or 3 am! So one night Angel brought me tons of food…sandwiches, graham crackers, Gatorade…I could have kissed her! But she was too busy kissing on my sweet MB! 🙂 I remember her kissing on MB & apologizing, saying that could get her in trouble for kissing babies, but I appreciated the fact that she truly loved my baby.
I was able to rest easy knowing MB was in the nursery with Angel & Angel was watching over her. The nights that Angel was not working, I would make Will spend the night with me. One night she surprised us & walked in my room & I just looked at Will & said, “well, you can go now! Angel is here! I’ll be fine!” She was so much help overnight with helping me learn to nurse, so if she wasn’t there, I had Will stay because I just did not have the confidence as a new mom yet.
I remember telling Angel goodbye at the hospital & then taking MB home & later crying to Nickie, one of my BFFs who worked in L&D at the time, telling her how I wish I could have brought Angel home with me.
Fast forward 21 months and I am being wheeled into the OR again, except the mood this time is very different, much more somber & I am much more nervous. More like petrified. Scared that I’m about to give birth and then mourn the death of my baby at once.
I remember looking to my left & PTL, Angel is standing there! I was so relieved. She did not remember me at the time but later she told me how special it made her feel that day that I remembered her. How could I forget the nurse who was my saving Grace those first few days with my first born when I was crying at the drop of a dime and had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
Several hours later, Will and I waited in my hospital room for news about our sweet Rosalie. Finally the door opened and in walked Angel, Kendra, and Dr. Young. Dr. Young was here to deliver the news that our precious baby was born with an extra chromosome and Angel and Kendra were there for support.
After learning of Angel’s passing last night, I spoke to several other mothers who were in similar shoes when their babies were born and we all had one thing in common. Angel. Angel was there with us, holding our hands in the most uncertain of times. That just speaks volumes of the amazing, gentle, compassionate human being she was.
I will never forget the time I spent with her in the NICU, talking to her and watching her care for all of the babies while I sat and rocked Rosalie. She would talk about her granddaughter who she was so proud of and her love for her family. I was fortunate that she knew a good bit about Down syndrome because I did not have time to Google. I knew nothing and I learned a lot from her those first two weeks. After Rosalie came home with us, we kept in touch, as I have tried to do with all the nurses because they all have a special place in our hearts.
A few weeks ago, we were so happy to have Angel and her husband as our guests at the Down Syndrome Association of South Georgia’s World DS Day Celebration. I am so thankful that we were able to spend this time together. She was so happy to see the girls and so many other babies that she has cared for.
We will never forget Angel and I will make sure my daughters always remember how she cared for them and how special she is to us. My heart goes out to her family and to all of the wonderful people she called her work family. You are all in our prayers.