Hello everyone, i work in a level 3 nicu & am a fairly new nurse. I just experienced my first death & i am taking it pretty hard. I got really attached to this child & his mom. I wanted so bad for him to make it. I havent slept too well & i cry from time to time. I know it's a part of life in nicu, but does anybody have any advice on how to move forward or how you deal when you lose a kid? It's pretty easy to say "i'll try not to be too emotionally involved", but it's hard not to!
Sep 18, '11
by Elvish, BSN, RN Guide
Does your unit/hospital have a chaplain? Even if you don't follow a particular faith, chaplains can be a great source of spiritual support. We tend to think of them in terms of what they can do for patients, but they're also (or should be) there for staff - to pray or just listen.
Most of the babies I see in the nursery are normal newborns. But when I work on the floor, the floor nurses deliver fetal demises under 20 weeks. Being with someone for 12 hours (albeit 12 very intense hours) isn't quite the same as being with a family for weeks/months, but catching another person's dead baby isn't easy. Even harder is if their 18-weeker is born alive and we watch him die knowing there's nothing we can do but pray it happens quickly and peacefully. The very first fetal demise I had, I saw that baby every time I closed my eyes for about a week. After that first one it did get easier but I still had to write poems about those babies/families in order to cope. They weren't very good and won't win any prizes but it helped.
You will learn something with each death, as I have with fetal demises, whether you want to or not. Like Eric said, sometimes it's clinical, and sometimes not.
It's hard to wrap your head around a baby dying. All the best, and take care of yourself.
Last edit by Elvish on Sep 18, '11