Best.Shower.Ever.

She only knew my name from a white piece of paper. I assume it was even typed and not written in anyone’s own handwriting. It did not matter if she knew my name or not. She was here for only one reason and she called me “Honey” the entire time we were together.

I noticed she was kind of heavy set in my cloud of painkillers and it was slow going as she helped me get up from the bed.

Tim had gone to get a decent lunch instead of one from the hospital cafeteria (who could blame him) and promised me I’d feel better after a shower.

Her cold fingers seemed even more so as they touched my skin that had just been lying against warm, bleached sheets for hours on end.

I wanted to get up but I also did not. I wanted to see my baby but I also did not. I DID want to get clean.

After fussing with the things on the bed that a woman who just gave birth has underneath her, and the various other accoutrements that go with a hospital bed, I was up. I looked right into her dark, chocolate eyes and grabbed her thick arm with my hand for support.

We slowly made our way to the bathroom together as she lilted over and over, “Now go slow honey, this ain’t no race…”

I wanted that warm water on me. I needed its cleansing powers.

She gently helped me get out of my gown and mesh panties and the next thing I knew, I was standing naked in front of a complete stranger as the drops of water fell from my hair and my nose, my fingertips.

And I didn’t care.

I just had my first baby the day before and plenty of people who knew nothing much about me had seen all kinds of parts of me that normally they would not.

I was certain that I was not the first naked woman she had seen and that I would not be the last. However, I did wonder what she found different about my post-partum body versus the others she had seen. Maybe it was the mole on the side of my face, or perhaps the shape of my knees. Maybe she couldn’t care less and just thought about how many more hours she had until she could go home from her job, after washing strangers who needed her help just to get clean.

As she finished helping me dry off I thanked her several times and each time she said, “Oh Honey, you’re welcome, it’s my job.”

As she readied herself to leave she asked if I wanted to be back in the bed or in the chair and I said the bed was fine. She helped me raise it up so I could eat my lunch and watch television and then just like that, she was gone, on to the next patient.

Tim returned just a bit later and he could tell his promise was fulfilled as he glided into the room and saw the smile on my face.

He smiled back as I told him how a complete stranger helped me have the best shower ever.

The prompt:

Your assignment for this week is to write about a memory of yourself WITH someone else.

Comments

  1. I marvel at the fact at how unashamed and ‘unshy’ we are after giving birth. My husband helped me take my first shower after delivery, and throughout, I was bleeding copiously. He did it without complaint or hesitation, and I don’t think I could have loved him more than that very moment.

    A warm memory, Elaine. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I love this! Giving birth (twice) has made me the least modest person on the planet. As a matter of fact, it’s hard to remind my kids to be modest in my post-baby world!

  3. The gift of a good nurse cannot be overstated. And it is funny how we lose all sense of privacy so quickly when delivering a baby is part of life.

  4. I’ll never forget the CNA who helped wash me off after having my first baby. Thank God for her!!

  5. It always amazed me how I could care less if people saw me naked after (or during) childbirth. The Dr. asking if students can watch and help. Didn’t care.

    And how wonderful a shower felt after babys!! A wonderful nurse makes a huge difference in all that too :)

  6. I love this story. :)

  7. The nurse bustled around the room, “supervising” me while I showered, but she had that maternal hovering thing down cold. If I’d so much as squeaked, she would have been in there to catch me.

    I’d forgotten about that little post-partum moment.

    Thank you.

  8. A caring & competent nurse is a godsend after giving birth. I had some lovely nurses both times, and it really helped me feel more human & ready to take on motherhood!

  9. Ah god love those nurses, the ones who help us on our way. I didn’t have one give me shower but I did have all kinds coming in and out during my stay after I had the boys. Their calm, their giggles and just making conversation is something that I treasure for the small gift it was to me.

    I love this!!!!!

  10. Yes, having a baby really does make you lose any reservation about a stranger seeing you naked huh? Well at least while you are at the hospital that is :) Greatly written.

  11. Three kids and 11 years later it still amazes me how much reservation is lost after giving birth. But that first shower afterwards? Makes you feel absolutely amazing.

  12. It’s been so long for me I don’t remember my first shower having a baby. However those kind nurses always make an impression on me because that’s time a woman really needs TLC. Loved your post.

  13. Oh, that first shower after you’ve had your first baby is essential. I remember mine. I didn’t wait long enough and almost passed out cold in the shower. But darn it, I was going to have my shower.

    The nurses at the hospital where I gave birth to all three of my boys are saints. Absolute saints!

  14. That first shower after having a baby is great. Weird to need a stranger to help us but it’s so worth it.

  15. Love this story. But, I’ve gotta say, I’ve never been offered help for a shower! And, one time, the showerhead was broken and sprayed me right in the face with a leak!

  16. I have so many fabulous memories of my postpartum nurses… and oh, how modesty does go out the window when babies are born! This is a sweet memory, and one I’m sure many of us can relate to!