Veronica Foresman walked on to her shift in the midst of what would be the most painfully beautiful day of our life. After seven long weeks of living on the high-risk antepartum unit, we had met our baby girl, N, the night before at 30 weeks gestation. Before Veronica even had a chance to set down her coffee, we received news that N had taken a turn for the worse overnight and things were not looking well. Veronica immediately went to work as a quiet advocate for our N. Her gentle presence was constant, working with doctors and therapists, adjusting current efforts and thinking of new things to try. As the hours wore on it became clear that our N was not going to stay with us on earth. While we held and rocked our baby through her final breaths, our family arranged for our other daughters to join us. Meanwhile, Veronica quietly helped us pick an angel gown for her to wear and contacted the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation to take photographs.
When our three young daughters, ages 5 and 2, arrived, we told them the news and chose to have them meet their sister. It was a painful moment as they were too scared to touch or look at her. Unfortunately, as I feel is common in our society, they didn’t know how to handle death and we weren’t really prepared to help them. Soon after, Veronica whispered to us that it would be best to bathe N before her pictures. When our daughters overheard, there was an immediate sparkle in their eyes. This was something they, as children, understood! This was a concept they could grasp, and for the first time, they saw N as a real baby, as their sister.
In an act of compassion way outside her job description, Veronica quickly gathered the supplies and spent the next several minutes helping our children bathe their sister for the first and only time. She talked to them on their level as they counted each finger and toe, felt her soft skin, and admired the slight curl in her hair. For just a moment, everything felt normal; just three big sisters adoring their new baby sister. We are forever grateful for Veronica, as those are the only beautiful memories they will ever have of their sister.
As the evening wore on, Veronica stayed well past her shift to help the photographer with photographs and make sure everything was in order. Veronica was a true advocate for our child in life and in death and helped us to make irreplaceable memories on the most painful day of our life. She modeled for our children such a beautiful and loving way to treat those who have passed. When medicine failed to save N, Veronica’s nursing healed our hearts.