I am a nurse in a much different specialty, I have a question that seems a bit "morbid" to me, and do need some help with it.
I recently had a patient that delivered a stillborn infant at 37 weeks. She was encouraged to visit, hold the baby after she delivered. This was very helpful, emotionally for the mom along with the rest of the family. I believe this is a theraputic practice, I don't have a problem with it at all. But here is where I get confused.......
What do you to with the baby's body after the mom and family have had time with the child?? How much time do you allow for them, and when are they encouraged to say goodbye?? hours, days?? If days go by, where does the baby's body stay?? How much is this talked about on your unit?? Does the baby's body go to the morgue or stay on the unit until mom is discharged, where is the body if it stays???
Please let me know what your thoughts are.....
Thank you all so much...this is a tough one for me
Oct 26, '07
This is back in 2002 but the info of course is still current.
You could contact SmilingBlueEyes: http://allnurses.com/forums/private....18678She's
an OB/GYN nurse and a moderator/administrator of the OB/GYN forum. I'm sure she would be glad to help you.
Also PRMENRS: aka Antique Baby Nurse: http://allnurses.com/forums/private.php?do=newpm&u=7440
is also an administrator and I'm sure would be glad to help. Good Luck Hon.
Last edit by DutchgirlRN on Oct 26, '07
Oct 26, '07
This is not a morbid question but a darn good one! Grief crosses all lines and specialties. Any nurse providing patient care, deals with grief in their patients, family members and themselves. Nowhere is it more keenly and painfully felt than in OB when a pregnancy or newborn are lost. It disrupts what some think of as the "natural order of things"! We are really *not* supposed to outlive our children. And when a late-term loss happens, sometimes, there is no definite answer as to WHY. But always, we must encourage and offer the opportunity to mourn these losses. And many, many of our patients will tell us, holding and grieving, as well as saying "goodbye" to their lost children (and yes, they are children, no matter gestation) is one way to honor that grieving process and heal. Some will refuse, and we honor that too. But I have talked to people who did and regretted it.
Personally, I Have lost several pregnancies and in only ONE case, was there a fetus to observe and mourn. In the cases where it was too early or surgically-handled, to this day, I feel sad that I had no one to hold and say goodbye to. I have chosen instead, to plant living flowers or trees in their honor. This is one way some cope. There are myriad others, all we must respect and encourage.
You see, when we lose loved ones, we have to honor this grief that overcomes us in order to begin healing. Different people find different ways to do so. But when a baby is lost, it is so very important to the majority of grieving parents and family members to be able to hold their children and say goodbye. It's not morbid; it's honoring that person who was lost and giving some form of "closure" (I hate that word but lack for better) to begin with.
I hope this makes sense; I am speaking from an emotional standpoint, not really a nursing one!
Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Oct 26, '07
Oct 26, '07
I work with Arwen now, so that is how we do things there. The other hospital I worked at, we had a small refrig. on the unit that we kept the babies in, between visits, even if the mom was there for days.
Another thing I think should be mentioned is, even if the baby is born severely decomposed, third-spacing, very early, severe deformities, etc, the parents still should have the option to see their baby. I have found some nurses/docs, will try to spare them from this, and won't let them see the baby, and this is not helpful. Just prepare the parents for what they will see, and try to point out the beautiful features the baby has.
Last edit by crissrn27 on Oct 26, '07