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By Jessica T

Why I want my healthcare providers to be my best friends

Uploaded: Oct 8, 2013

My hospital stays marking the birth of my newborn babies have been some of the happiest days of my life. To be sure, there are the physical discomforts of recovering from childbirth, anxiety about the baby's health, and the rollercoaster that is breastfeeding. But before going home to laundry and visitors and sleepless nights, you have several precious days and nights to revel in the familial joy that comes with creating a new human being.

The unsung heroines of my birth experiences have been the maternity nurses who ensure you are well on your way to recovery and are the expert professors of newborn care. I'm talking about you, RNs of Lucile Packard. (Once I get home from the hospital and settle into sleepless nights, the maternity nurses fade into the recesses of my memories - phantom angels, or "never again friends," a term my daughter coined for friends you make during short jaunts and don't see again.) But in those three or five days, who's on shift matters and makes your next twelve hours of this most important time. I was absolutely delighted to see my three favorite nurses (Xie, Andrea, and Jill) twice during my stay and sad to say goodbye to them. After all, they'd cared for me during one of the most intimate times in my family's life.

My in-laws brought me a beer (my first in 9 months) to have with my hospital dinner one night after the twins were born. We had been inundated with family all day, and I ate dinner after eight while imbibing a beloved IPA. Soon, I was buzzed, overwhelmed, emotional, and crying with my head down on the hospital tray. In came a nursing assistant to check on me. She didn't take my blood pressure, she just asked if I was OK and gave me an understanding hug.

Xie and Andrea spent loads of time with my ten year old, teaching her to swaddle the twins, oohing and ahhing over the outfits she dressed them in, and helping her develop the confidence to pick them up and tend to their needs - this was invaluable in the weeks to follow. They sent her home with a "Best Big Sister" certificate now proudly displayed on her bookshelf.

My pediatrician and obstetrician also fall into the category of people I wish I could call my best friends (without being weird). They were the first to demonstrate empathy about our infertility and the first to share our happiness when we finally became pregnant. Like me, they are working women trying to balance work and family and value how people are treated in a professional environment. They are funny and candid, and I love them.

Is it a strange statement on the estrangement of modern day life (particularly in a place with a pulse like Silicon Valley) that I want my healthcare providers as friends? I have instant trust in these caretakers that seems like the foundation of a promising friendship. There's no posturing, no guardedness - in fact, there's just a strong admiration for who they are and their chosen profession that makes me wish my maternity nurses could remain in my life beyond the day that I bundled my new family members in car seats and was wheeled out of the ward.

What about you? Have you experienced a similar fondness for your healthcare providers? If so - why?