When I was a student nurse, I was doing a clinical in the labor and delivery ward of a large hospital. A patient was admitted to us already in labor. She was alone. As I assessed her and spoke with her, I found out her name was Amma and asked if she had family coming. She simply said, “No. “ After a few more minutes, I asked her if she drove herself here, and she said someone from her church dropped her off at the hospital.

Amma then said to me, “I have no family because all of my family was killed in Rwanda during the genocide in 1994 when over 800,000 people were murdered. I lost my parents, my brothers and sisters, my grandparents, my cousins, aunts, uncles, everyone. I lost my entire family.”

I was stunned into silence. I was struck by how calm Amma was. She was concentrating on having her baby.  She said to me, “I am all this baby has.”

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When Amma’s labor became more intense, I went to the RN I was working with and told her that our patient was alone and had no one. I will never forget what the RN said: “She is not alone. She has us.”

 Amma’s labor was very difficult but she finally gave birth to a beautiful girl.  She was so joyful, Amma said, ” I have a family, now! See my new family?” 

I cried, the nurses cried, but Amma did not cry. She was so happy and smiling at her new family. I brought in gifts the next day for her family of two and so did the other nurses.

I had the honor of seeing Amma and her sweet baby several months later when she brought her daughter in to the ER due to a cough. Amma remembered me and we hugged. I was so happy to see she and her family were doing very well. I will never forget Amma’s strength and courage.

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