At a recent medical conference in New Zealand, I spotted a couple of rows in front of me a doctor who will forever have a special place in my heart. I see him often so it wasn’t rare to see him but my heart always fills when I do. I took a quick photo of the back of him and popped into my Instagram story, not thinking too much of it, but I was genuinely surprised by the beautiful messages it received.
This doctor is a neonatologist. He and I first met just over 14 years ago, under very traumatic circumstances. I have seen him many times over the years, mainly through my work with Miracle Babies Foundation, and have many photos and selfies with him but he is such a humble and unassuming man that he always seems almost embarrassed by all the fuss.
But to me, he deserves every bit of fuss imaginable. He saved my son.
When my second son Dillon was born, 13 weeks early, he was resuscitated and taken immediately to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It happened fast and everything was uncertain. When I was well enough to make my way to where he was, there were so many people around him, doctors and nurses who were working on him, that I couldn’t see him. They were putting in lines, doing everything they could to save him.
In that moment, there was nothing I could do for my baby and I stood there in shock, seeing only the crowd of people focused on him. Then something happened that would stay with me forever. I will never, ever forget his doctor, this man, a man I had never met before, stopping what he was doing, looking up, finding my eyes and nodding before turning his attention back to the baby. It was quick and anybody in that room would have missed it but for such a brief second, he acknowledged me. He acknowledged me as that baby’s mother and it meant everything. Moments later we were ushered out of the NICU into a quiet room so the medical team could keep working and the next time I saw that doctor, it was to tell me that, for the moment, my baby was okay.
I have spoken to him many times since about what that gesture meant to me and he shyly smiles and shrugs it off. That action may leave his memory but the impact on me will stay for a lifetime. In the chaos of what was going on it was calming, I had to trust him, my baby’s life was in his hands and it was acknowledgement that even though, in that moment I could not do anything for my son, I mattered.
Originally published at www.melindacruz.com