stillborn births


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Specializes in L & D and Mother-Baby. Has 14 years experience.

I recently had a patient with a 39 week demise. I was her nurse for the induction, delivery and then again the next night for postpartum. The baby had also been deceased for several days. It had a tight double nuchal cord and a true knot. She was a beautiful baby and I cried for several days after. The thing that helped me most was caring for the mom after. Her priest came in and did a beautiful blessing ceremony with all of the family involved, and I got to participate as well. It was very comforting. I think it really helps to talk with co-workers and if that doesn't help definitely check in to talking to someone professionally.


35 Posts

Specializes in Urgent Care, Pediatrics, Hospice.

Jumping in with my first post here, but I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to you, shearermom, for showing such compassion to that mother. It is incredibly heartbreaking. And Vandermom, thank you for the memory boxes. You have no idea how much it means to these families. And to all of you others who support families in these situations. Families like mine.

Like your patient, shearermom, I was "blown off" by my CNM at my 32 week appointment. It was my first and I was your typical naive primip.

I told her that I felt like I was leaking fluid and it was dismissed as either urine or just increased vaginal discharge without her ever checking. I also noticed that I wasn't feeling kicks like I had been. I was also given the excuse that the baby was running out of room. (You can probably guess where this is going.) I trusted her, but still didn't feel right over the next few days. At that appointment, she "found" the FHT's after a lot of searching. In hindsight, I know she was listening to mine. At the very least she should have been able to at least pick up the cord sounds at that stage. If only I knew then what I know now.

One week later, I found myself back at the birth center again because I *knew* something was wrong. The CNM's could not pick up FHT's and I was simply handed a piece of paper with directions to their OB backup's office. This OB, whom I had never met, had to be the one to perform the U/S and tell me that my baby died. I was immediately sent over to the hospital to start my induction. I never saw my CNM's again.

I had chosen a birth center birth for my first pregnancy because the idea of a hospital birth scared the bejeesus out of me and I wanted a natural birth with minimal interventions. Here I was, finding out my first child was dead and now having to go to the hospital and be at the mercy of complete strangers. I was terrified.

The support of those L&D nurses got me through the most horrifying days of my life. I had never stayed in a hospital before in my life, nor had I ever lost anyone close to me and I found myself dealing with both on the same day. They let me cry and they cried with me.

27 hours after my induction started, I finally delivered my daughter. They were with me when I held her, they were with my family as well. They took care of all of us. They told me my daughter was beautiful and they pointed out how she looked like my husband with her head full of dark curly hair and her sweet little mouth. They took pictures for me. My daughter had been gone for close to a week, so you can imagine what it had been like. However, these amazing women helped me see her as the beautiful baby that I had made and grown during those 8 months. It wasn't until this year, on her 6th birthday, that I went back and looked at the pictures the nurses had taken for me. I knew what my daughter looked like, but my memory is based on the picture my mother had taken of her and had it colored and retouched.

After seeing my daughter as those women saw her in the raw, hospital polaroids, my heart absolutely broke for them. I had no idea what it must have been like for them to experience it on that end. For all but one of them, it was their first experience with a demise. Knowing what I know now it makes me even more grateful for the way they took care of me.

I am now the mother of a beautiful, healthy 4 1/2 year old daughter. She was born at home in my bed, alive and perfect, into the hands of an amazing CPM. My experience with my first daughter's death and the birth of my second daughter are what led me to midwifery myself. Now, after some significant life changes, I have left midwifery and I am persuing a nursing career.

Enough rambling from me. I just want all of you to know how much your support matters to women and families in my situation. While I have yet to have the experience from your side, I hope that you find comfort in knowing that the support you give to patients in times like these is appreciated. You have no idea how much it means to us.

Thank you.


222 Posts

Specializes in OB L&D Mother/Baby. Has 7 years experience.

Starsgirl... Thank you for sharing your story. It means a lot of hear it...

Specializes in L & D and Mother-Baby. Has 14 years experience.


THank you so much for your story. I know it takes alot of courage to share such painful memories.

Specializes in L/D, and now Occupational Health.

In March of 2004, I arrived at work early as usual. Night shift was slammed and they asked me if I would clock in early, I did. There was a G2 P1 previous c/s that came in thinking she was in labor, she was 381/2 weeks. She was hurting and breathing with her contractions. She was scheduled for a repeat c/s the next week, which was also on their other daughters birthday. I knew I needed to move fast. I attempted to find FHTs with no luck. I changes out monitor parts, still with no luck. I brought in the bedside US. This woman was tiny, she was nothing but baby, I knew there was no way I was having trouble finding the FHTs. There was no cardiac activity on the US. I called the MD, the pt was 6cm already......we epidural.....decided on vaginal birth......augminted with pitocin.....all the while this family was trying to comprehend the fact that they thought they were comming in to have a baby, and now they learn the baby was demised. I myself was 18 weeks pregnant with my second. We usually do not have pregnant nurses take care of these moms but the unit was soooo crazy, I had been with them so far, and I was not that big yet so I buttoned up my scrub jacket and went with it. I bonded with this family so much, we did the paperwork while her labor progressed. The MD called and had me do the AROM since there was no live infant to put at risk of prolapsed cord etc. The most thick mec. I have ever seen came running out. It was the end of my shift when she became complete, I had been with them all day, and there was no way I was going to turn them over to another nurse at that point. I stayed and we began pushing, inbetween pushes she asked me when I was due, I was stunned !! She knew I was pregnant all day but was afraid to say anything, I hurt for her even more then. We delivered the most beautiful baby girl, she had not been gone long, I would say less than 24 hours, and the pt said she had felt her move the night before.

I visited her the next day in the hospital, some time later she and her husband brought me flowers to the hospital. We have kept in touch with cards ever since. That family, and my experience with them has changed me forever. I was SO much harder on me than I thought it would be. It was no where near my first, but it was my first since I had given birth to my first child and became a mother myself. The chaplain and I talked a lot after that, I couldnt stop thinking about them, why them and not me, or anyone else for that matter, WHY ANYONE !! To this day I will still cry when I think of them or talk about it with others. That was just one of those life defineing moments for me. The pain dose become more distant, but never goes away. If it didnt bother us anymore than we have no more buisness doing this work anymore.....GOD BLESS ALL THE BABIES AND THEIR FAMILIES !!

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