When I give my testimony, I talk about my belief in angels. I believe in the celestial beings that are around us all of the time. But, I also believe in angels on Earth. These are just ordinary people who God uses to touch us at a time when we need it most.
During our journey through Melissa's death and Ann Catherine's NICU experience, we met many of these angels on Earth. They were people who God put in our path at very specific times to get us through that tragedy.
Susan was one of those people. She was one of the charge nurses on the Labor and Delivery floor at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children and she was there on April 15th, 2005, when I was admitted with complications that put Melissa's life at risk. It was a Friday, and the following week Susan had surgery and took 7 weeks of leave. I only met her that one day, but she did so much to put my mind at ease on what was one of the most terrifying days of my life.
Her first day back at work was June 1st, 2005. She arrived early because she had been gone for so long. As she checked the computer, she saw that Melissa was in trouble. I had a prolapsed cord and it was an emergency situation.
She ran to our room and saw that I was already surrounded by nurses. It was a chaotic scene in my room and those nurses were frantically working to prep me for surgery. Melissa was in dire straights and they knew the doctor had to deliver both of my babies immediately to give them a chance to live.
Susan calmly explained to me what was happening to Melissa. I knew it was bad, and I had known for seven weeks that there was a possibility something bad would happen, but I was still in shock. I remember I kept thinking, "I'm only 26 weeks. This is way too early." I have never been so fearful in my entire life.
As Susan explained the situation to me, I nodded my head. I knew it was bad and I felt that my world was crumbling around me.
Then, she did the most amazing thing.
She grabbed the doppler that nurses use to listen to a baby's heartbeat. She put that doppler on top of Ann Catherine and she said, "But, do you hear that Amy? That's baby 'B.' (I hadn't named my girls yet. Ann Catherine was "B" and Melissa was "A.") That's her heartbeat, Amy. She's alive and she sounds good."
Ann Catherine was alive. I could actually hear her heart beating and I knew that she was alive.
But, Susan didn't stop there. She kept that doppler on top of Ann Catherine and rode the ENTIRE way to the OR on top of me, and kept saying to me, "Do you hear that, Amy? That's baby 'B.' She sounds good."
She kept saying that to me over and over - even as I was in the OR being prepped for my emergency c-section. Because of Susan, the last thing I heard before they put me under for my surgery was Ann Catherine's heartbeat. Even though I knew Melissa was in trouble, I also knew that Ann Catherine had a good chance. It was the only shred of hope that I had.
What a gift she gave me.
I have shared that story with hundreds of people as I have told my testimony, but I had never told Susan. I sent her a thank you note after the girls were born, but I don't know that I truly conveyed what she did for me.
Until this weekend.
I was at a church retreat at Lake Guntersville State Park Friday night. I came thisclose to not going because Ann Catherine was sick. But, when Chris came home from work Friday he encouraged me to go.
I'm so glad I did.
I had just finished dinner in the restaurant at the lodge, and was chatting with my friends. All of a sudden, a lady walked up to me and said, "Amy George." I looked at her and then she said her name.
It was Susan.
We talked about my girls, and life in general. And then I told her that I was so glad to see her because I needed to tell her something.
I told her about the hope she gave me that morning. I told her about the amazing gift she gave me when she rode on top of me, allowing me to hear Ann Catherine's heartbeat. I told her how she was everything a nurse should be.
She had tears streaming down her face. I don't think she had ever realized what that meant to me. In her mind, she was just doing her job. To me, it was so much more.
As we hugged and said goodbye, she thanked me for sharing with her and said it had made "my day, my week, my year." I told her that I was so glad I could let her know and again, I thanked her for what she did for me on that terrifying morning three and a half years ago.
What if I hadn't gone Friday night? I would have missed the opportunity to see Susan and share with her. And, seriously, what are the odds that I would be at the Lake Guntersville State Park lodge on a Friday night? I know that God put that entire chain of events in motion.
She's, by far, not the only angel on Earth who ministered to us during that time. But, I think she was the only one who wasn't aware of the impact she made on our lives.
I'm so glad she knows now.