A Father's Tears - page 2
Hi guys.... I recently had a sucky, sad, heartbreaking shift. I process things by writing about them. This is what I wrote about this situation. I'm going to use it for a project at work but I... Read More
Sep 30, '07im crying as i read this -- thank you for sharing this experience and putting things into perspective. thank you for being a compassionate and human, for grieving with the family.
I am an oncology nurse and I see death too -- not every day, but often enough, and sometimes we cant hold back either. This family was blessed to have you help them and guide them through their loss.Last edit by JennaRN1006 on Sep 30, '07
Sep 30, '07That was the most beautifully written story.
Thank YOU so very much for sharing a very sad but poignant time with this young couple and a dear life cut all too short.
Sep 30, '07I can not stop crying......I an so emotional after reading this.
Quote from Arwen_UHi guys....
I recently had a sucky, sad, heartbreaking shift. I process things by writing about them. This is what I wrote about this situation. I'm going to use it for a project at work but I wanted to share it with folks who know what it's like to deal with fetal losses. It helped me heal and I hope whoever reads it might find something useful in it as well. (I have changed/left out some details for confidentiality, of course.) I wrote it just shortly after it happened. I had to 'get it out of my system.' Now I want to share it.
I write best when my memories are still fresh. In this case, they are not yet twelve hours old.
I received A. to room X this morning. She had presented to ER at 15+ weeks gestation with ruptured membranes and intermittent vaginal bleeding; the OB staff suspected chorioamnionitis as the culprit. Rather than risk the infection becoming overwhelming, the decision was made to do a dilatation and evacuation later on in the morning. She was accompanied by her mother and father; her baby's father was at home.
I settled her into her room, showed her how to use the call bell, and let her and her parents know that I was there if she needed anything. Her assessment was within what I would have expected for an early second-trimester rupture of membranes. She had received 1000mcg of Cytotec in the ED and had received 2mg of Morphine IV for pain prior to arrival. She was not in any pain and I was hoping she would be able to sleep a little before going to the OR for her procedure, as this was her first pregnancy.
About 20 minutes later, her father came rushing out of the room and asking someone to go to the room immediately; the only words he could get out were "the baby". I knew instantly what was happening. I got her into bed (she had gotten up to void), called for help, and could see her baby's tiny legs hanging from her vagina. We got the OB resident to the room and she delivered the baby. Five minutes later, the placenta was delivered as well.
The patient throughout the entire situation was amazingly calm. I talked to her as soothingly as I could and reassured her that she would be taken care of. The OB resident was very professional and reassuring to the patient, and I had great colleagues who helped me more than I can articulate. Teamwork at its finest was played out in that room.
After the delivery, I asked the patient if she wanted to see her baby, and she said that she did. Her mother did not want to see the baby, nor did she want her daughter to. When things calmed down, we talked about this some more. The patient's mother asked me if the baby was well-formed, and I said that he (she delivered a little boy) was, albeit he was very tiny and his eyelids were still fused. She continued to be adamant that no one should see the baby.
This opened up an opportunity for us to talk about the grief process. I made it clear that we would not force anyone to do anything, but that often, families experiencing a fetal loss are greatly helped by seeing the baby that they have loved and cherished. Having something concrete to grieve so often helps them incorporate that soul into their lives in a meaningful way. I think, though, that more than anything, this lady was afraid that the baby was grossly malformed and did not want to see that. I think this because once we talked about how he looked, she seemed more comfortable with the idea of her daughter seeing the baby, though she herself still did not want to. That was okay by me, as long as this baby's mother got to see the child she had tried to four years to conceive.
I weighed, measured, and took pictures and footprints of A's baby for her, and told her that whenever she was ready, I would bring him to her. She was ready right then; I got the baby and before handing him to her, described him once more so she knew what to expect. She cradled her baby and touched him, and her eyes welled up with tears. I could tell she wanted to be alone with him. I left the room and allowed them their time and space to say goodbye. I felt very privileged to be able to give that to her.
What I will remember most, however, is the baby's father. He came after A's parents had gone home, and after A was finished holding her baby. I was in the room going over some paperwork stuff with them, and it hit me: I need to offer him the opportunity to see his baby if he wants. To the surprise of both of us, he said yes without a second's hesitation. I gave him the choice of bringing the baby to the room, or having him come with me to where the baby was. He wanted to come with me. I'm not sure why, but I guess it doesn't really matter.
I took him into the room where his son lay wrapped in a tiny blanket, and let him know it was ok to open the blanket and touch the baby. Almost immediately, this strong, macho, man's-man burst into tears. He asked me to leave; I was happy to, and told him to please take as long as he needed. I stood far enough outside the room to be available but not intrusive. I heard the sound of his weeping in the hallway and it was one of the most heartbreaking sounds I have ever heard. Tears began to roll down my cheeks in front of God and everybody, and there was not a thing I could do to stop it. I didn't really want to anyway.
Shortly thereafter, the baby's father came out and allowed as how he was finished saying goodbye. I walked him back to A's room so they could be alone together and went to prepare the baby to be taken down to pathology. If I live to be a hundred, I don't think I will ever forget what I saw when I walked back into that room. Beside the body of this beautiful tiny baby were wet marks from the tears that his father had cried.
Daddies lose babies too. I don't want to ever forget that.
Sep 30, '07Thank you all so very much for taking the time to read this; I'm really touched that it meant something to you too. You guys are the best.
My heart goes out to all of you who have lost a baby, whatever the gestational age.
I'm still healing. I don't know why some situations hit us harder than others, but this one just completely rocked my foundations. It's been nice to share with folks who know. Thanks and a great big hug to all of you.
Sep 30, '07Very nicely written. Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm sure that his mom and dad would be very happy that so many of us were touched by his pure existence...
Sep 30, '07Thank you, this experience you had and that I feel blessed to be part of, helps put a lot of things in perspective doesn't it.
Sep 30, '07This is the most beautiful and heartwarming story I have ever heard. Thank you for sharing this with us!
Sep 30, '07Oh my, Arwen...what a poignant version of such an outcome of nursing you've shared. I cannot type any more than that. Not because of tears as so many others have responded, but because,...that's all. It's simple. You've explained a part of a grieving process so uniquely private and personal, an intimate insight only you, their caring and insightful nurse, could share.
Thank you for making my evening complete. I ponder the greatness of your big, humane, and tender heart! Smiles, hugs, and bittersweet tears from me....to you. :kiss
Sep 30, '07That whole family was truly blessed to have you there. I, too, shed tears reading your story; I, too, have lost a child(grandchild). There is no worse loss than that of a child. The grief associated with that loss NEVER ends. God bless you for all you did for them.
Sep 30, '07As a new L&D nurse that still struggles to grasp how to handle myself and my emotions while providing the best care for my mothers that are delivering demises, you have helped me out tremendously. Thank you so much for sharing this.