I wasn’t prepared with gifts packed in my bag, or something clever to have delivered within the 48 hours of my hospital stay. I have to get around to that, because I want to do whatever I can to thank my labor and delivery nurses.

But honestly—what do you get for the people who cared for you at your most vulnerable? It hardly seems like flowers or cookies are enough.

What do you do for someone who emotionally, physically and mentally supported you through the birth of your daughter? I feel like buying lunch doesn’t do it justice.

What do you say to someone who was one of the few people that was with you during a monumentally life changing event? Chocolates or coffees are just not equal.

I’ll try to think of something I can physically gift them, but for now, what I can come up with are words. Words of thanks, of gratefulness and of praise.

So to my labor and delivery nurses—

I thank you from the bottom of my very big, emotional, hormonal, overflowing heart. Thank you for recognizing the fear in my eyes and telling me funny and interesting stories to take my mind off of my worries. I genuinely enjoyed hearing about your life and I thank you for sharing bits of it with me.

Thank you also for pausing during a contraction so I could focus on getting through it without distraction. Thank you for adjusting my bed to whatever degree I wanted or needed when I couldn’t move to do it myself. Thank you for fixing my pillows, for the warm blankets, the ice chips, the cold cloths and anything else you could do to make sure I was as comfortable as possible.

Thank you for letting me hug you while I got my epidural. As I leaned my forehead against yours, while also squeezing you with both of my hands, I was so scared—but you made me feel relaxed enough to sit still and calm enough to trust it was all going to work okay.

Thank you for your positivity and genuine belief in my abilities to get my baby out safely—I had only just met you a few hours earlier, but you made me feel strong and empowered and like I could really do this.

Thank you for keeping the space calm and peaceful—the way you spoke, reacted and moved around the room kept things this way. I can’t imagine if you were more high energy or cold or rude—I don’t know what I would have done. I needed your warmth, your careful concern, your attention to my needs and your compassion. I don’t think everyone gets that and boy, am I glad I did.

Thank you for helping me hold my legs up as I pushed my baby out. You were gentle and so encouraging during this final stage. You gave me the strength to get through to the end and meet my baby.

Thank you for letting me cut the cord! I really didn’t know if you would let me. It was not only a special moment for me, you said it was also a special moment for you because you’ve never seen a mom do that before. I’ll never forget it.

Thank you for having extra support right outside the door in case of problems with shoulder dystocia which I experienced during my previous birth. (Thank you also for not telling me about that until after I delivered because that would have made me nervous.) We thankfully didn’t need the extra support, but your proactive practices assured me that I was in the right place.

Thank you for respecting my wishes of how I wanted things to go before, during and after giving birth. You were non judgemental and truly supportive. You made me feel so comfortable.

Thank you for immediately serving me not one, but two, turkey sandwiches right after I delivered my sweet girl. I have been craving them more than you know, and even though they weren’t anything fancy—I was ravenous and they tasted as good as any New York deli sandwich I’ve ever had.

Thank you for cleaning my naked, vulnerable body up after I delivered my daughter. You were quick and discreet and I was so enthralled with the beautiful baby on my chest I hardly noticed any of it. Thank you for helping me in the bathroom and wheeling me to my room. You never made me feel uncomfortable and it just warms my heart thinking of the kindness you showed me.

Thank you for being part of my birth experience. This was birth number three for me, and while I’ve had two unmedicated births (one of which was super quick and semi-traumatic)—this birth was different, and I wanted it to be that way. You helped me achieve the exact experience I wanted. That’s invaluable to me.

Maureen and Anna, I’ll never forget you and I’ll always be grateful for the kindness and compassion you showed not only to me, but to my husband and baby girl as well.

Thanks for sharing in our excitement and being part of this incredible moment.

Maybe I could have done it without you, but I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to. You’re both angels. Thank goodness for nurses like you.