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  #1  
April 3rd, 2008, 09:08 PM
4boyz4me's Avatar Super Mommy
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Hi ladies.
First off I would like to tell you all how sorry I am for your loss. I hope you don't get offended by my lurking here. I am a labor and delivery nurse, and I wanted to ask you a few questions. Obviously you know first hand how labor and delivery is not always a happy place to be. It is heartbreaking for me as well when I take care of parents who have lost a baby. I have cried with many families.
My questions are:
What did your nurse do or say that helped in any small way?
Is there anything that your nurse said that offended you?
What do you wish nursing staff would have done differently?

I ask because when these tragic situations happen, I never seem to know what to say or do. It seems like I just want to run from the room, for fear of saying the wrong thing. And I know that is not right. I have finally come to realize that although it is hard, God has allowed me to cross paths with a hurting family and I want to try and help in any way I can.
Any input from your experience would be helpful.
Thank you.
Simona
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  #2  
April 3rd, 2008, 09:18 PM
lunarmagic's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Oh Simona, that you are even here, looking for how to better help, is so wonderful. What a great thing for the families that you have cared for.

Honestly my nurses were really really great. We had one nurse assigned to us each shift, so we didn't have a lot of nurses coming in and out, and I really appreciated that.... we formed a relationship with the nurse who was taking care of us, and they understood us.

Just saying a heartfelt "I'm so sorry" meant the world to us. I remember the nurse and midwife crying when Devin was born, and that just felt so right.... they weren't just medical staff, they were humans, and they were crying with us, mourning with us. They cared.

The nurses took good care of Devin. That was important to me. They let us know that Devin was going to be with them, and they were so respectful. When we were ready they brought him in to us, all cleaned and dressed and wrapped in a blanket. It was important to me that Devin was taken care of.

Also the pictures. The nurse took photos of Devin for us. We had nothing with us, certainly no camera, and I don't think we would have had the presence of mind to do so. But after the fact those photos are SO precious to us and I am forever thankful that the nurse took some of him for us. I would have liked more, but I have something.

There was one or two people who visited us (not our nurses, but other staff) who tried to be helpful but totally weren't.... saying, "Don't worry, you'll have another child," no matter what the intention, really wasn't helpful. I know people want to fix it, help make it better, but there is no way to fix this. It sucks, and it's enough just to say that it sucks, it's horrible, it's not fair.

I hope this helps. My nurses were just so caring and it really helped make our stay there a little easier.
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  #3  
April 3rd, 2008, 09:24 PM
Fluffy Baby's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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What did your nurse do or say that helped in any small way?
- My nurse lost her son when he was 5 weeks old. Her older son (4 yrs old) smothered him with a pillow. So she could kind of relate what I was going thru. It helped she wanted to listen to me instead of telling me how I should feel. She was oh so nice to me. I am really thankful I had a caring RN.

Is there anything that your nurse said that offended you?
- Not that I remember. It did offend me when the others refered to my son as "fetal demise" or a late misscarriage. If that is the medical lingo, great, but keep it where the mom can't hear that.
Don't say things like "It was meant to be." "(s)He WAS beautiful" Definately use present tense.

What do you wish nursing staff would have done differently?
-I wish my nursing staff would have known about an organization called NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP.
http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/
There are professional photographers that will come when a baby dies or is getting ready to so the family can have nice pictures done with the baby. I wish they would have known and asked me if I wanted them to contact one of the photographers or give me a option to contact them. They photographers are listed on the site.


If I can think of more I will let you know.
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  #4  
April 3rd, 2008, 10:29 PM
Sebastians_mom
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My son wasn't still birth but died at 4 days old, but it was still nurses there with us as it happened, just not L&D nurses.

What did your nurse do or say that helped in any small way?

As much as it may not seem like it was that important at the time, I am so glad my nurse sat with my husband and I and went over all the paperwork before he had passed, I got to hold him before he passed away and as we sat there she went over all the questions about autopsy, funeral arrangements and many other things I cannot remember. In all honesty it was much easier to get it all done before the real grief of holding my dead baby sank in. I don't think I could have answered any of those questions later on that day.

Watching her hold him, remove all his tubes etc after he passed, she was so gentle it was like she was looking after a living baby. I appreciate that very much.

My nurse did cry, I know that is not something you can ask for or expect but I just felt touched that she didn't just see it as a job.

She took photo's of us holding him, and she encouraged my husband to hold him because I was to out of it at the time to even realize i should encourage my husband to hold him too.

My husband asked her a ton of medical questions, about wires, what the machines were all for, she was very honest and told him what each was, she told him that the blood in his mouth was from internal bleeding etc I think my husband needed to understand things from a medical point and she didn't just try to say things to make him feel better.

As she was signing off her shift she came into our private room and hugged us goodbye, other then my husband I think that is the only hug I have freely accepted without feeling uncomfortable. She said goodbye to Sebastian and touched his face and then left

Is there anything that your nurse said that offended you?

Not so much my nurse, but we were holding Sebastian in a rather large NICU as he was dying, there were 2 nurses looking after the babies next to Sebastian and I remember at one point they sat right behind us and were laughing quite loudly, I guess I felt a little pain at the time that they could be laughing at a time like this.

What do you wish nursing staff would have done differently?

I also wish they had of known about the Now I lay Me Down To Sleep photographers. The hospital did take photos of us holding him before he died, and they did take them after we left of him after he passed but I think that organization maybe does a more professional job (because that is their job, not trying to offend my hospital)

I think the nurse and Dr I had that night, as well as the Dr and nurses who delivered my son were the most caring and compassionate people I have ever met and I will be forever grateful.
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  #5  
April 4th, 2008, 04:59 AM
Ben,Logan&Kaitlin'sMommy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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  #6  
April 4th, 2008, 11:35 AM
Brittanie's Avatar just me
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I, too, had a good experience with my nurses. They were so respectful of us and our feelings, and of Cora when they were cleaning her. I had two nurses, on two different shifts. My morning nurse was great. See, I was MISERABLE during my pregnancy, and I had bumped someone who was scheduled an induction from being overdue. I said "I feel sorry for her, because she's got to stay pregnant." Funny thing for someone in my situation to say, I'm sure.

She said, "Honey, don't feel bad for her. She gets to take her baby home. I'm so sorry that you have to be here."

And they were so sweet, getting me ANYTHING I needed.


After Cora was born, they gave me everything that I would have gotten if Cora was alive (the commemorative certificate with the birth stats on it, the crib card, the ID bracelets, etc), and a little memory box with her hand/foot prints and some other things. They also offered to move me out of the maternity ward, to a room downstairs. I didn't end up staying the night in the hospital (thanks to a wonderful doctor who let me go so I could sleep in my own bed), but it was a nice offer. I was glad that they thought about it, because I hadn't.

I also appreciate their tears, as they were washing her.

And I mostly appreciated their words of encouragement when I lost it during delivery and I was sobbing instead of pushing, and said something along the lines of "obviously I wasn't meant to be a mother, I can't even push out a dead baby." I honestly don't remember what she said, but I remember her holding my hand, and wiping away my tears, and telling me that I was obviously a great mother because hurting so much meant that I obviously loved her a lot.



And after the end of everything they gave me the information I needed to order a Certificate of Stillbirth from the state.



Oh, and also, the entire staff knew the situation. They all knew what I was there for. When I walked in to L&D, the nurse at the desk was holding a newborn baby. She asked if she could help me and I said I was there to be induced at that time, and she instantly knew who I was. I didn't have to tell her I was there to deliver a stillborn baby. I appreciated that, not having to explain it. She also called the nurse who was taking care of me, and took the baby back into the nursery so I wouldn't have to talk sit there and look at the new baby.
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  #7  
April 4th, 2008, 05:04 PM
heathernoel's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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God Bless My Nurses.

I was given a room in the High Risk Unit, at the nurses' desks, so that if we needed anything, they were right there.

Really helpful: My nurses became personally involved. The first that checked us in took time after her shift (I'd just arrived) to sit and tell me about her loss and how it still affects her. THe second nurse would be my nurse that day and the next. Her name was Heather, too, and we were the same age, and went to opposing high schools. She would tell me what I was going to feel, what would happen, and listened to our wishes. She kept me medicated, and kept Joe laughing. She shared stories of her kids, and listened to ours too.

The nurse on shift when I delivered him cleaned him up, and told us that we finally got our boy...and even though we didn't really care if we ever got a boy...we just wanted a baby...she smiled when I said I have a son. She referred to him by name EVERY time.

The only thing that annoyed me at all was that I could hear the night nurses laughing and carrying on...while I was in labor.
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  #8  
April 5th, 2008, 08:24 PM
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I too am guilty of lurking. That photographer website is beautiful. I was watching the main page and was crying.
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  #9  
April 7th, 2008, 08:59 PM
SarahBethsMommy's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I had a little different experience than most of the ladies here. I went into L&D not knowing that my son had died already. I went in for pre-eclampsia. I had a horrible headache and because I had experienced pre-e with my DD I called my doctor and headed to L&D. I honestly thought I was going in to deliver a premature baby boy. So the nurse who came and got me actually recognized me (she'd had me a couple of days before for a NST due to possible pre-e). She was the first to actually realize my DS had died, but of course she never said that. She called the doc to come and confirm. I don't remember much about her. I know she was very business like and wouldn't really answer questions. She kept going to get the doc if I asked anything. I wished she would have just answered. They weren't questions that could have gotten her in trouble... just stuff like how will delivery go, where will they take him, etc.

She also did not speak to my family very much. I think it is really vital for a nurse to not only take care of her patient but also the rest of the family in a way. You can't do everything, but keeping everyone informed. Just saying, "I'm so sorry." Referring to the baby by name or at least in the present tense and as a baby (I agree not to say "Fetal Demise" or something like that).

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep is a great organizations that I wish my L&D had known about as well.

I also wish my L&D nurse had gone over the paperwork with us a little more. And had known something about support groups in the area and stuff like that. I really believe nurses (especially L&D and NICU and stuff like that) should have a little grief support training. I know they have a program called Resolve Through Sharing which is amazing and can help a lot.

I know the ICU nurses who brought Bryan Luke to me to hold (I was in the ICU for 2 days after he was born) would be so gentle and loving with him. They always referred to him by name and in the present tense. They always assured me that he could stay as long as I wanted.

Another nurse who knew my family came in and said she'd seen my son (went to the morgue and looked at him). She said how beautiful he was and how sorry she was. That meant a lot for her to seek me out to let me know how sorry she was and that she had wanted to see him so much. That was huge to me.
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  #10  
April 9th, 2008, 09:05 PM
4boyz4me's Avatar Super Mommy
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Thank you all so much for responding. I have taken all of your experiences and wisdom to heart. Hopefully I will be a better nurse because of it.
Good luck to each of you!
Simona
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