I came across this article “When There’s Nothing to Celebrate” on social media and it caught my interest. It is written by a labour nurse and describes her experience of a stillbirth with one of her patients.
I think it is important to read how nurses and health care professionals are affected by a loss of a child. Sometimes it is easy to forget that they grief with their patients, even though it might not be obvious. Every person deals differently with such shocking news and like other people some nurses might not seem to know what to say or how to react, even after the doctor has broken the news. Silence or a professional distance can easily be misunderstood by parents. It is difficult to think that no one might care that one’s child has died. Some health care professionals have no problem in showing their own emotions and they might cry with their patients. Some might think it to be unprofessional, but from my experience with other bereaved parents it is the opposite: the people who show emotion and cry with their patients are the ones remembered.
We delivered our third child in the same hospital where our second son was stillborn. At the time of his death we had a caring and compassionate team of nurses, but I don’t think we realized until several months later how deeply everyone cared. Most likely because there might have been few opportunities for nurses to express how they feel or they didn’t want to overwhelm us. In any case, we were very surprised how many nurses came to see us while we stayed at the hospital a year later. The article is probably right when it states that the patient will not remember all the details of what a nurse might have done to comfort her patient. We certainly could not recall all the nurses, but they told us that they remembered us from the delivery of Tobias and where we had met, e.g. the nurse who took us down to the ultrasound to confirm that his heart had stopped beating. I am sad to say that I would not have recognized her or some of the other nurses.
But they remembered us, our story and the names of our sons which meant a lot to us. Many found lovely words to say, e.g. how they had thought about us often and what had become of us. And we could feel that they meant it and did not just say it. Thank you for having kept us in your thoughts.