I am a college student who is writing a paper about OB nurses. i need to know what nurses do when a woman has a still birth and when a woman has a miscarriage please help me and be as descriptive as possible thank you
Support the mother both physically and emotionally as much as possible. Chaplain services or a bereavement counselor may be called according to the patient's wishes. Most facilities also put together bereavement packages- a photo of the baby, a lock of hair, foot prints and hand prints, etc. The family is allowed to keep the child with them until they are ready to say goodbye. At my previous hospital they could keep the child for as long as they needed- there is no time limit.
What Ashley said. Most hospitals probably add their own touch to things as well. In our care packages at the hospital I work at, we include a locket in the bereavement package that splits in two - a small one for baby and a larger one for one of the parents. We let the parents take home any blankets, clothing, or hats, that they used to clothe or wrap their baby in. We also offer to take photos of the baby and parents for them, if they so desire. Some parents don't want the photos right away, and will call the hospital several months later asking if they can still have them, and we are happy to oblige. We offer consults with the Chaplain and with Social Services. Not just any OB nurse on our unit is assigned to a miscarriage or fetal demise - only nurses that have experience in dealing with such tragedies and feel that they can handle the emotional load. We also try to keep these patients in rooms that are closer to our Antepartum unit, where they will be less likely to hear the crying babies of other patients.
Needless to say, this is a very sad, emotionally draining time, and I'm sure every OB unit across the nation does their best to remain extremely sensitive to the situation and give the family as much time to grieve and as many resources as is necessary.
I discuss the different ways that men and women grieve, the feelings that may arise unexpectedly, the things people may say in an attempt to be helpful that are, in fact, hurtful (you can always have another, at least you have other children, you shouldn't be still feeling so bad, etc), do you want a full burial service, or a memorial service, do you want the baby to be buried or for the hospital to dispose of the body (depends on gestational age). If you want a burial, do you want it in the same plot as another family member, does your cemetery have a special section for babies? Do you have a mortuary, if not, here's a list. It seems crass to have to talk about morticians and cemetery plots, but these moms often choose to leave early and the decisions must be made.I encourage the parents and any other family to hold the baby. Especially it is anomalous or badly macerated, I try to point out something perfect (look at those tiny little feet with 5 perfect little toes). In the old days when I was a young nurse and unbaptized Catholic babies went to Purgetory, I baptized a lot of stillborn babies. The priests didn't like to baptize stillborns because baptism is for the living. But you don't know exactly when the spirit leaves the body and it gave the parents a lot of comfort knowing that the baby had been baptized. The Church has since changed it's position and states that all babies go to Heaven, so I don't do that anymore. But a couple years ago, I found myself asking a mother if she wanted me to baptize her baby. I don't know why I asked, I hadn't done one in years, but she said she wanted me to do it so I did. I believe things happen for a reason, so perhaps this was something the mother needed. Sometimes I just sit quietly with the mother, sometimes we cry together (it's OK for a nurse to cry as long as she can keep functioning safely)
I have to ditto all these posts here. We also assign this patient as 1:1, so that the family has one nurse the entire shift and the nurse can devote all the time needed to taking care of the family, baby and paperwork. There is a lot of paperwork. Something I wanted to add was that sometimes we do cry, and sometimes with he patient. Some of my most tender nursing experiences have been when I've sat with a grieving mother and cried with her. I also cry on the way home and sometimes cry myself to sleep. Having said that, I feel that taking care of a family who lost their baby has given me opportunities to make the biggest difference in someone's life, to be there and help someone through one of the hardest parts of their lives. When a family heads to the hospital to have a baby, the expectation is that they WILL leave with a baby, so any thing the nurse does is basically expected as part of the whole package and birth experience. However, in my view, when they come to have a baby (or discover their baby died at any gestation), the nursing care they receive during their tragedy will set the tone for their grieving, and the momentos offered by the nurse are the only tangible things they will have from their baby to take home, the compassion given to them at that time will forever be appreciated...perhaps to a more intense level than if they came, had their baby as expected and took it home.