Stillbirths

  1. I had my first stillbirth yesterday and I completely freaked out. The mother had found out the day before that the baby had died so it was not unexpected but I couldn't handle it. As soon as I could I excused myself and burst into tears. I didn't know what to say to the parents or what I was supposed to do with the baby. He was so perfect, he should be alive. When I had to clean him up I could feel the soft bones in his head shift and I lost it. I kept crying and apologizing to him for hurting him. I mean I know I couldn't hurt him but I thought I was. How do you deal with this. I just don't know if I want to stay there after this. I know loss of a patient is inevitable but I expect them to be old or sick or something.
    How do I get over this? I don't think I will ever forget about this beautiful baby.
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    I deal with death a lot in the ER. I handle it by just going on my feelings. A sincere I'm sorry is worth much more than trite sayings. Sometimes a quiet moment with the family, a prayer (if you're comfortable doing this), or the opportunity to spend time with their loved one works best. There is no right way to deal with death. It just is and I'm so sorry for you.
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Bless your heart, this is never, ever easy and especially the first time you see it. It's a horror. May I suggest you read the following thread, linked below, for some valuable insight and some sites to check out? Your hospital/manager should have some information for you on how to take some RTS (resolve through loss) classes to help you deal with the horrible feeling that go with caring for a family enduring a devastating loss. It will never be easy, but with time and some support/education, you will learn how to cope.

    Check out this thread please:

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f35/how-...fd-133885.html
  5. by   Mrs.S
    I had my first demise yesterday too and I am right there with you :icon_hug: It was difficult and awkward and I'm still trying to shake that bad-nurse feeling.
  6. by   ShannonB25
    I'm so sorry you had to go through that truly i am. *big hugs*
  7. by   Altalorraine
    Quote from eden
    I had my first stillbirth yesterday and I completely freaked out. The mother had found out the day before that the baby had died so it was not unexpected but I couldn't handle it. As soon as I could I excused myself and burst into tears. I didn't know what to say to the parents or what I was supposed to do with the baby. He was so perfect, he should be alive. When I had to clean him up I could feel the soft bones in his head shift and I lost it. I kept crying and apologizing to him for hurting him. I mean I know I couldn't hurt him but I thought I was. How do you deal with this. I just don't know if I want to stay there after this. I know loss of a patient is inevitable but I expect them to be old or sick or something.
    How do I get over this? I don't think I will ever forget about this beautiful baby.

    I handle it because I believe with all my heart that the mother, father and family need me. My own feelings, while strong, are not what it's about, and while I do allow myself to grieve (and even to show grief), I don't indulge myself in a breakdown because I have a job to do that really matters.

    Altalorraine
  8. by   sunnybrook83
    Allow yourself to grieve. You are a person with feelings and the loss of a child at any time is difficult. When I worked L&D, I dreaded the demises, but it is a part of the job, and may be the most important part of the job in supporting those parents.
    When I was 32 wks pregnant with my third child, a staff member from my OB's office was 36 wks. She came in one morning when I was working because the baby had been really active the day before, but hadn't moved for about 12 hrs. We thought (wishful thinking perhaps) that we found the FHR, but MHR was elevated and we couldn't be sure. The hardest thing I had to do was go in with the OB after the US and tell her her child was dead. I cried before I went in- another nurse offered to relieve me so I didn't have the stress. I left it up to the pt, having me (pregnant belly) or she could have another nurse. She chose me. She didn't deliver during my shift. I cried all that evening and woke up the next morning crying somemore. I wanted to call off sick. My husband, knowing how upset I was, supported me, but said, "is she expecting you to come in?" Answer was yes, and he said you need to be there for her. So in I went, crying the whole way, praying the whole way. She had delivered during the night, and they had done all the bath and pictures so I wouldn't have to. I took care of this pt and her family, crying with at times and supporting at others. They thanked me as they left, and wished me luck with my pregnancy.
    Moral of the story- someone needs to be there for these pts- if you're upset it means you're human and you're feeling their pain also. It's not easy to cope with, but talk with your coworkers, manager, grief counselor- you will find ways to cope. You are being given an opportunity to nurse someone at the time they need it most- seize it. Just remember to take care of yourself also.
  9. by   Brinley
    I am so sorry for you to have to go through this. I am not a nurse yet, but in November I had to help my cousin through the birth of her son, he had Potter's syndrome (no kidneys) and lived for about a half hour after he was born. The nurses she had were fantastic- some cried with her, some did not, but all were genuine. I think they all handled it in their own way- but they all helped her through her grief. After her son passed each nurse in the NICU held him and said goodbye- even though she only had a short time with him the fabulous nurses she had made that time memorable by their compassion. Please don't feel like if you cry you didn't handle the situation well, I think that the mothers appreciate everyone expressing their feelings in thier own way.

    Have a merry christmas.
  10. by   eden
    I think I should clarify. I wasn't in the room when I freaked out. I had taken the baby out of the room to clean him up as per mom's wishes when I had my mini meltdown.

    Thank you so much for your insight.

    I feel a little better today though I still think about him and his family. I'm not sure if I well ever forget this though.
  11. by   ladytraviler
    Please dont forget how this felt. This is part of L&D. Those demise's are part of the circle of life. The mothers need to know that you have compassion. These feelings will help in the long run. As a L&D nurse, and a women who has lost a child, I deal with these patients due to the fact that other nurses dont want to do it. After the infant is born, I deal with the bath, FP, and pictures. If the infant has sloughing skin, I use dermabond to improve the appearance of the infant for the families sake. I have had many families tell me that they are so thankful that they have a presentable infant for pictures.

    The worst thing is to forget that u are human. Forgetting how to feel is the biggest insult u can give. Give yourself time to learn how to deal with them. I wish u luck and feel for u.
  12. by   Minou
    I feel for you, indeed it is very difficult any time you have a demise, especially the full term babies that are/appear perfect. You probably never will forget your first demise, it is imprinted in your mind, but you put that in your bag of experience and you grow. Know that whatever you do for that family will be appreciated if it is sincere, so just be yourself when dealing with a demise ( you can't help feeling the way you do, and should honor those feelings ),
    Take heart, you are not alone
    Nancy B
  13. by   Mermaid4
    This is always difficult no matter how many times you experience it. Every circumstance is different and every family is as well. Much of what we react to is our own feelings and what we might feel should the same thing occur in our lives and especially if it ever does. We can only bring ourselves into the lives of any patient, right? Months ago we had a patient who spontaneously began bleeding on the way home from a doc appointment and was brought in via ambulance only to deliver a dead fullterm baby. She held him for nineteen hours and it seemed as though he was merely sleeping. I did the footprints and put a footprint (as I do in every delivery), on her hand as well. Only recently did she contact me to send the footprint page I had made because that was when she was ready. I wrote a piece entitled "George and Martha", which deals with fetal demise from the nurses point of view and is on AllNurses....I hope you are feeling better. Just know that however many times you go through it, it doesn't get any easier, but it is vitally important to every patient that you are there trying to do the best you can...{{{{}}}}

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