Why I Give: To Honor My Nurse

by, Summer Hunt

IMG_1271“I had a textbook pregnancy,” Pam Spears remembers. She didn’t have a lot of problems with morning sickness, and she even went the Full 40 and then some (her daughter came along 15 days after her due date). “I’d been experiencing contractions for four days when we finally checked into the hospital,” she says. After a few days of little progress and even less sleep, Pam’s husband, John, was grateful when she sent him home to rest a bit. “It’ll be hours before the baby comes,” she’d told him. But waiting in a darkened hospital room at the end of the hall, things started to veer off course from Pam’s uneventful pregnancy.

“It all happened so quickly,” she says. “The nurse came in to check the baby’s heart rate, and then I knew something was wrong. She said to me, very gently, ‘We need to get this baby out now.’” What Pam didn’t know was that her daughter’s heart rate was dropping, and Pam was beginning to hemorrhage. “I was so scared and my husband had not yet returned to the hospital… but my nurse was there for me the whole time. I don’t remember her name, but I will never, ever forget her face and how she made me feel,” she says. The nurse reassured Pam that they would take good care of her and her baby, imparting a peaceful calm as the fast-acting medical team worked. “Her kindness and expertise made me feel so well taken care of—she made me feel safe.”

As Pam was whisked away for an emergency cesarean birth, she says the last thing she remembered was hearing the anesthesiologist telling her that she wouldn’t feel any more contractions. “That was a relief to hear!” Pam laughs. As she tells it, her daughter was born at 9:01 a.m. and in her husband’s arms by 9:03 a.m. “I woke up about two hours later and finally got to hold my beautiful, perfect girl,” she says, eyes shining at the recollection.

IMG_1259But Pam never forgot her birth experience—and even more vivid is her memory of her nurse. “Even 25 years later, it is still so fresh in my mind. I am forever grateful for her cool head and ability to both act quickly and keep me calm,” she says. “And that’s why I donate to Every Woman, Every Baby—to honor my nurse for what she did for my daughter and me.”

As director of development at AWHONN, Pam enjoys hearing stories of other nurses and the women and newborns they’ve helped. “I know I’m not the only person who wants to give back in some way,” she says. “And being a part of AWHONN, I’m energized by the kindness and passion of the nurses—they are so committed to our mission to improve the lives of women and babies. It makes me happy to know that my gift supports that mission and will enrich the future of nursing and research, too.” Donations made to Every Woman, Every Baby fund novice researcher grants, as well as educational programs to support breastfeeding, spontaneous labor, and more.

These days, Pam’s daughter Rachel is a vibrant, healthy 25-year-old woman starting her career in theatre. “One day, she may have a child of her own,” says Pam. “And I feel confident knowing that her nurse will be there to support her throughout labor and birth, just as my nurse was there for me.”

Summer HuntSummer Hunt
Summer Hunt is the editorial coordinator for publications at AWHONN.