"discovered" an IUFD the other day :(

Specialties Ob/Gyn


Specializes in LDRP.


trying to tell this story in a HIPAA friendly way. sorry if its vague....

Was working in triage the other day. a patient came in, around 30 weeks pregnant. had a complaint that was NOT decreased fetal movement.we always ask if the baby is moving, and she thought she'd felt the baby earlier in teh day. She was nice, I chatted with her while i was turning on the monitor, plugging her name into the computer, etc. Went to put her on the monitor-nothing. I was moving it around, at first thinking i couldn't get it. sometimes it is a little hard to find them. i was palpating her abdomen to see if i could feel which side the baby was on, so i could better place the monitor. I felt a baby foot/arm/knee(something nubby, you know?) sticking up under her stomach. like baby parts do~ this time, when i touched the baby part, it didn't move. still couldn't find the heartrate (had been approx 2 min of trying to locate).

called second RN to help find it, she didn't either. patient starting to freak. called her doctor, who wasn't in hospital. got formal sono, and the baby was dead. she started to figure it out, was crying and freaking out, she saw the baby not moving on the u/s and was crying. her doctor still wasn't there yet.

i held her hand while she learned that her baby was dead. :crying2:

ive taken care of IUFD's, i've been there when they delivered. I've never been the nurse to "discover" one. Never been in triage when someone comes in, thinks the baby is alive and find out its not. THis was the first one, and it was really hard.

it was really hard. it sucked. maybe almost more than when they deliver.

I am so sorry to hear this. It has clearly affected you and it must have been a really difficult situation. For me, since starting new hospital job and finding it quite stressful/sad at times, one of my goals is to find an outlet to release that stress and emotional tension which is something that may help you as well. Yoga, walking/running and swimming area all great ways to kind of let that go, or at least put it in a better place.....and exercise makes people happy :)

What you do every day is so very admirable, and I have wondered how I would deal with such situations as well. It must be very difficult to emotionally remove yourself from these types of situations.

Good luck to you

Specializes in M/S, MICU, CVICU, SICU, ER, Trauma, NICU.

I'm so sorry. This is a very, very sad thing. This is when I always start questioning the meaning of life...

I wonder why things are the way they are....

I hope you can find a way to reconcile this in your own time and way...

Best wishes,


I'm very sorry for you and for your patient.

It is a tough experience - You sound very compassionate.

I've been the L&D nurse for just one IUFD . .. . :crying2:


Specializes in Nurse Manager, Labor and Delivery.

You are absolutely right. It does suck...in a big way. I don't think that it ever gets any better. It is one of those things that is just going to be a shock to all that in involved. Feel it in your own way and you will let it go. Sounds like you did all the right things, especially writing it out here. Take care of you.

Specializes in ER/MIU/L&D.

I'm so sorry that you and the patient had to go through that. There are very few things harder than telling someone that their baby is gone. I have been through a similar situation years ago, twins, found one heartbeat, having a terrible time finding the second, had to chase the OB down as he was trying to go home to get him to order UTS. Baby A was great, baby B gone at 33 weeks. Such a shame and hard to deal with. But talking it out here and with your peers will help, as will the passing of time. Keep being compassionate and don't be afraid to feel with your patients. That's what makes a great nurse!

Specializes in Community, OB, Nursery.

I am so so sorry. Got nothing, no words of wisdom for you. Just a big big hug. :icon_hug: I had a particularly hard fetal loss this weekend and, FDs always makes me wonder who the heck is at the wheel up there and why they don't keep these sorts of things from happening.

Hugs and peace to you. Thanks for coming and sharing here. :flowersfo

Specializes in L&D.

I understand the feelings you're having as I've had similiar experiences. It just never gets easy.

When I train people in triage, I tell them that that is why looking for the fetal heart beat is the last thing I do after doing most of the patient history. If the baby is dead, it's dead and there's nothing you can do about it. If you do the FHR first and there is no heart beat, the patient is so freaked you can't get a coherent history and your vital signs are out of whack from her distress. It sounds really cold written down like this, but I've tried to get a history and take the BP of someone who just learned her baby was dead and I don't want to do that again.

Specializes in NICU, Post-partum.

Probably the worst case I have heard of...happened to a friend of mine.

My friend was full-term. She reported to work (at a hospital, of all places), and a couple of hours after she got there, she noticed she wasn't feeling the baby move for awhile.

She called her physician...he told her to come by AT THE END of the work day.

Yeah...that is the shocking part of the story.

She went by, baby was dead. It may not have made any difference...but it makes you wonder.

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