In the News: Stillbirth:Your Stories @NYTimes

I’ve often written about stillbirths. In labor and delivery, we have such a unique perspective, taking care of woman after woman who comes to the hospital pregnant and leaves empty-armed. For women, in that moment, they must feel so alone. There are not enough words I could possibly say that could adequately tell a family how we hurt for them. As a labor and delivery nurse, you don’t have to have experienced your own stillbirth to understand what a woman will go through. Unfortunately, we see it time and time again, and when a woman is blindsided by the deafening sound of a silent heartbeat, we can anticipate the next chain of events that will occur. Surprisingly, they almost always unfold the same way. And although you may have a supportive partner, and you may have supportive family, stillbirths just effect women who carried the baby in the base of their abdomen differently.

For everyone else, it’s exciting when you find out someone is having a baby. Your partner may love your unborn child. They may be so excited watching your belly grow and feeling your baby kick when they place their hand on your stomach. But when a woman is pregnant, they offer every piece of themselves to the tiny child inside of them. From the moment a woman finds out she is pregnant, everything changes. We have a duty to protect and to grow our baby. It’s our responsibility, and one that only we can do.  And for 9 whole months, we share every single second of our lives with this other little person. It’s a selfless kind of love, offering our bodies to this child of ours, trying from the moment we become “pregnant” to prepare them for the world. Everyone else will have the opportunity to experience this selfless kind of love once the baby is born…but a woman experiences it immediately, effortlessly, entirely.

A labor nurse can tell you that stillbirths are sudden, shattering, and suffocatingly sad. And then you go home. Quite simply, it just isn’t fair.

Stillbirth: Your Stories

Until my next delivery ❤


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