(Originally published May 4, 2015)
I was two weeks overdue with my firstborn son. Thankfully, the doctor said the words I wanted to hear, “We are going to induce labor.” Early the morning of September 27, 1989, my husband and I strolled into the hospital. (Stick with me here; I won’t get into the details of the labor.) Out of nowhere, I started feeling lightheaded and dizzy. The nurse at my bedside started barking orders to others, pushing buttons and making a phone call. I was quickly transferred to another bed and rolled down the hall. No one was telling me what was happening. Finally, a nurse said they would need to do an emergency Cesarean section because of heart rate issues for the baby and me. HOLD THE PHONE! This was not the way I had envisioned having a baby. I was worried—really worried. My husband was somewhere else and everyone was talking around and above me.
Once in the operating room, a blue screen was set up so I could not see the events unfolding. My arms were restrained and I wore a lovely, cafeteria-style hairnet. I was scared. Again, no one spoke to me. Tears began to drip from the outer corners of my eyes. All at once, I hear a female voice behind me saying in a soothing tone, “Mrs. Boswell, you are going to be fine and so is your baby.” She continued to utter little confirmations that calmed my spirit. Next thing I heard was a baby screaming. My firstborn! His little purple face was whisked in front of me and then off he went. I was wheeled into recovery and reunited with little Stevie in the hospital room. Life was good. Everyone was fine and we had a baby boy!
Fast-forward two months. I am lying facedown on a beach chair by a pool on the Gulf Coast. I am almost asleep when I hear a voice. THE voice. It was calming. It started stirring up memories. I lifted myself up, expecting to recognize the speaker, but I had never seen her. Still, there was something about her voice. I stood up and walked over to her.
“Hi. Can I ask you a question? Are you a nurse? Do you work in Birmingham? Do you possibly work in labor and delivery?”
She replied, “yes” to all three questions. I grabbed her and hugged her with all my being while telling her that she was my labor and delivery nurse and that she would never know what her voice meant to me. We stood there, locked in an embrace with tears streaming down our faces. It was a powerful moment. Her voice was what I needed in a time of fear and uncertainty. I never saw the woman in the operating room but I knew her voice.
Our voices are a reflection of who we are. Have you listened to your voice lately? If you aren’t happy with it, you can make changes in the way you sound. But take good care of your voice because its sound is probably special to someone, and it should be special to you!