I don’t know her name


We walked through the ER doors and my daughter’s name slid off her. She quickly became a series of untreatable symptoms, she became ‘the infant’, ‘the 4 week old’, the child, ‘she’, ‘her’.

[Her name is Annabel Kera. It means grace, beauty, pure.  Her name is not a mistake. Nor is it insignificant or interchangeable. She has been stamped: with grace, beauty and purity.]

5 long hours later, countless Dr’s, an endless stream of nurses, one ambulance driver refusing to transport her, our shattered hearts, and my spiritual midwife walked in.

I don’t know her name. But I am forever in her debt.

She had been called as part of a specialist team to transport Annabel.  She walked into the room, looked around and said, ‘Who is the mother?’

I stepped forward.

‘What is your daughter’s name?’

‘Annabel’, I whispered.

‘Can I please pick Annabel up?’ she asked.

I nodded.

She reached over and gently picked Annabel up, looping wires and tubes over her arm with the authority of someone who knows what they are doing.

She held Annabel is her chest and quietly I heard her repeating, ‘Oh Annabel, you are delicious. You are beautiful’.

This woman’s words dripped with dignity and kindness. Unknowingly she was re-stamping my daughter, over and over with the truth of who she was, removing from her the tainted, ugly words she had been labelled with over the last few hours. This woman, by her gentle and holy words, was stripping back the fear that was suffocating my husband and I. In one extraordinary moment she gave me back my voice as ‘mum’.

In one sacred, glittering moment this woman taught me more about the importance of words and names and the power of dignity than years of theological study did.

I use names differently now. I use words differently.

I am forever in her debt.

[Annabel watches me as I write this. She is delightful and kind. She is well. And I am grateful.]

This post is part of the Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives, International Women’s Day Synchroblog, hosted by the lovely Sarah Bessey.  Go over and check out some of the great blogs people are writing as apart of this celebration.


5 thoughts on “I don’t know her name

    • Thank you. Thank you for reading and encouraging and using words so well. You inspire me daily, yep, you really do, and I am so grateful.

  1. Pingback: In which I link you up (vol 14) + international women’s day favourites | Sarah Bessey

  2. As an ER nurse this is a powerful reminder – it is too easy to dissect and overanalyze instead of assessing the patient/family holistically. Thank you for your words! As a mother I can recall being
    Powerless against my Edward Paul’s illness and feeling more Diminished because he was “the baby” and “the newborn”. Thank you for reminding/teaching me the importance of words.

  3. Thanks Cate. We were lucky to be surrounded by amazing, professional nurses and Drs. ER nurses are some of the best people out there!

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