A Discovery of Emotions Hidden Under an Entertainment Center

How a dust rag, visitor’s badge, and masked man gave me gratitude

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Recently, I found this relic wedged under my entertainment center framed in dust and cat fur.

My first reaction to its existence was shame — I suck at housecleaning. As I wiped the tag clean, my next reaction was nostalgia.


I remembered my husband’s hand on my back, gently guiding me to the hospital check-in desk.

I remembered my emergency c-section after 24 hours of unsuccessful labor.

I remembered the anticipation of hearing my baby boy’s first cry.

I remembered my sister’s compassion and humor while she taught me to nurse and swaddle — I really sucked at swaddling.


Other memories suddenly emerged. Scenes of my first pregnancy flooded my mind.

I heard the hum of ultrasound equipment accompanied by the technologist’s anxious silence. Once she realized the baby was gone, she kept repeating, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

She escorted me to the doctor, who compassionately explained my “missed miscarriage” options.

I felt the warm tears on my cheeks while I waited to be wheeled into the operating room for my D & C, a procedure that clears the uterine lining after a miscarriage.


And then I heard the words of a stranger.

He was my anesthesiologist for the D & C. Before the surgical team pushed my bed into the operating room, he leaned in and whispered to me, “In a year you’ll be back here on your terms.”

My throat swelled with emotion. I swallowed the lump of grief in my throat and nodded my head in understanding.

I don’t remember his name. I don’t remember his face.

But I do remember his green eyes peering above his mask and the tiny seed of hope his words planted in my heart.


The date of my D & C was March 1, 2012. It was 13 months prior to the birth of my son.

The anesthesiologist’s prediction was alarmingly accurate. I don’t believe he was clairvoyant; my doctor told me that women are more likely to get pregnant within three months after a D & C.

Regardless, it was a bold assertion. An administrator would have probably cringed at the risky statement and advised a more cautious approach.

I am forever grateful he chose kindness over caution.

I’m passionate about personal and professional leadership. I write about lessons learned from managing teams (and myself) for 20+ years.

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