42: Angels Among Us

42: Angels Among Us

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

Angels Among Us

Knowledge is knowing that we cannot know.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Piles of dirty, crusted snow lingered in the shade of the hospital as my daughter Nicole labored to deliver her twins. She had been in labor for eighteen hours but those stubborn babies refused to come out. The two nurses assigned for her double-birth had tried everything to get the babies to drop into the birth canal but nothing worked.

Nicole anxiously watched the heart monitor. The babies were getting tired and their heartbeats were slowing. She pleaded with the nurses and the OB/GYN to do something.

The doctor was used to a birth turning sour. He quietly told the nurses to prepare Nicole for an emergency caesarean.

But the operating room was busy with another woman and her baby; Nicole would have to wait. Nicole’s husband, Ian, took her hand. The large twenty-four-hour clock ticked silently as they stared at the green iridescent blips of the laboring hearts.

Nicole was just about to be transferred to surgery when a nurse in blue flowered scrubs entered the room. She was a stranger, unknown to the doctor and his team, but she offered to help. The nurse explained she had just finished a practicum in London, England. The British were using a new method that was successful in helping mothers in this situation. Everyone moved back, making room near the bed. The nurse told Nicole to grab hold of the iron rail above her head and twist her body until her belly was on its side; then she was to push. Nicole grabbed the rail, twisted and bore down. With the first push, Keira slipped into position in the birth canal. A few more hard pushes and she slid out and was whisked away.

Sometimes with twins, the mother labors for the first child and the second flows through the opened door. That didn’t happen in this case. The second baby, Brynn, still didn’t move. Nicole kept staring at the heart monitor by the bed. The blips were further apart and fainter. Frantic, she yelled to the doctor, “Get the baby out! Now!”

The doctor found the head, grabbed on with forceps and pulled Brynn out.

The ordeal was over. It was quiet in the room and the babies lay cocooned in flannelette and pink knitted tuques. Ian remembered the mystery nurse and said, “I should go find her and thank her.”

He went to the maternity wing’s nursing station. “Do you know of a nurse who’s just returned from a practicum in England? She helped my wife deliver our twins.”

The nurses in pink, yellow and red flowered scrubs looked up from their files and shook their heads. He searched the halls, enquiring of all the doctors and staff if they knew of a nurse who had just returned from England. No one had seen or heard of such a person.

In 1993, the American country music band Alabama recorded their hit, “Angels Among Us.” The refrain says: I believe there are angels among us, sent down to us from somewhere up above.

It seems that an angel in a nurse’s blue scrubs helped Nicole birth her twins that day in early spring.

~Jeannette Richter

More stories from our partners