Tuesday, October 2, 2007

It's not always happy.

If you are sensitive, or maybe just norma,l you will probably find this story disturbing. I did. If you don't want to be be disturbed stop reading. Consider yourself warned.

When a woman gets pregnant, usually the vision is of delivering a happy healthy baby, not a tragic ending. As an L&D nurse, I realize that the latter is something that happens more often than anyone would hope although I am sure it is not something I will ever get used to. I have been present at the birth of babies that for whatever reason have died before being born but today was a first for me. My patient, Jo, came in already in labor, fully dilated with her water broken and contracting. At this point there was nothing we could do to stop her labor and because she was under 24 weeks pregnant there was nothing we could do for the baby either.

We did everything we could to make her comfortable and found out she was having a baby girl she had named Claire. I called the chaplain so she could come baptize the baby, since Jo let me know this was something she wanted.

Because the baby was considerable smaller than a term infant, and because she was already fully dilated, labor went much faster than normal and starting a little bit of pitocin was all it took. I had another nurse in the room with me for delivery who is specially trained in infant loss. As soon as the baby was born she took Claire to the back to get her cleaned up so that Jo could hold her and I stayed to take care of Jo.

Once the placenta was delivered and Jo was all cleaned up and comfortable, I went to help with Claire, who to this point I had thought was born still. I had been in the back with her for a full two to three minutes before I saw her take a deep gasping breath.

It is something that you see on telivision as a comedy or a scare tactic but it is extremely startling to see someone that you thought was dead start to move. We got Claire dressed in a tiny baby outfit and took her out to her mother to spend her last minutes.

Jo's family came in, and luckily were very supporitve. It is awful feeling like you wish you could do more. Everything I did just felt so minimal. I know Jo will need the support of her family and nurses in the next days and I hope I could make some sort of positive impact in the short time I was able to care for her.

8 comments:

AtYourCervix said...

Demises/stillbirths/previable deliveries are the hardest thing in L&D. ((( hugs ))))

justbRowsN said...

Our new year delivery was (thankfully later in the morning) a 22wkr. With no urge to push, feeling of pressure, or signs of impending delivery, the md was facing the table putting on gloves when the pt started projectile vomiting all over me and herself. You can guess the rest... After 'retrieving' the baby (it was a forceful delivery to say the least), we were stunned that the baby was moving and had a heartbeat. The new year shift will never be the same. My heart goes out to you...

Rachel said...

Losing a patient is never easy....I can't imagine it being a 24 week old baby. That sucks.

Lori said...

As a brand new nursing student who wants to be a labor and delivery nurse, this is my worst fear.

The Walsh's said...

are there no ventilators at the hospital you work at for babies born this young? or no nicu at all? i was transported to one an hour away...thankfully i could hold on that long, so that my 24 weeker could be born at a level III NICU.

poor girl...

DJK said...

I was a transporter for a couple years. I got close to some of the people on L&D, so I spent a lot of time up there.

One evening I was off the floor when there was a code up there. We responded to all codes except code Browns... ;)

I made it onto the floor in time to watch a woman who just delivered triplets die. It chokes me up every time it comes to mind.

That, too, was rough.

Mrs Glenys Hicks said...

Hi, I want to thank you that you are a caring midwife... I lost twins still-born at 32 weeks. The midwives were horrible to me even swearing at me. I wasn't allowed to see my girls. 41 years later, I still grieve and have regrets that I could have been more forceful in making them show them to me. (They weren't deformed) I was 16 years old. I thank God that there are caring medical staff like you. Somehow, reading this was healing. Blessings. Glenys Hicks

Brittanie said...

As a woman who has delivered a stillborn baby (38 weeks, cord accident), it's good to know that medical staff are affected too. I'm sure it's so hard to see it so often, but sometimes it turns them cold.

My main nurse during delivery of my Cora (we had confirmed it the day before and I was induced) cried with me and took me in her arms when I broke down sobbing while trying to push. I'll never forget her.

((hugs))