Hearing is the last sense to go ... when one leaves the body, one does not immediately "disappear" but lingers some time and observes what's going on. The Tibetan Book of the Dead gives an extraordinary account of the stages of dissolution of the self, and the words that the living can say (prayers) to help guide the soul out of this bardo (state between two worlds), to guide the soul (in the book they are referring to monks who are highly trained in meditation states) through the realms of the dead into the realm of their choosing (sort of). I think here, in our secular hospital, talking to the dead and sending good energy can serve somewhat the same purpose, to help the soul let go on its way ... if I was not working in women's health I have thought of working in home hospice. Birth is kind of the reverse process of dying, another form of bardo, in which the newly besouled human comes out of its mother into this world of impermanence and suffering. Newborns need to be talked to as much as the dead, and mothers instinctively do this. A baby hears and knows its mother's voice while in her womb. This helps ground them in this world. Terminations and stillbirths don't bother me because the "vibe" I get from these situations is it simply isn't the right time for this little being to be here now, it's a neutral situation, but is sad for the parents. I talk to these little ones too, if they are still around, and wish them well on their journey and their next embodiment. When a fetus is crashing and we are scrambling to save its life (usually in the OR) I can feel the presence of the angel and of death (will the angel breathe life into the baby, or will death cut the cord and claim it?) and it sends chills up and down me. Larger forces than we are at play here. Peggy Vincent, in "Babycatcher," has a section where her son explains what happens to the souls of babies that die ... I won't tell you what it is, go read the book; this is one very, very wise young man. There are many bardo states in life (think life transitions), and we all need reassurance and human contact, to hear a soothing voice to lead us through, when we are in the midst of them.