This is going to be a tough post. I have had a post like this brewing in my mind but have hesitated in writing it. How do you put something like pregnancy loss into words? How you talk about it without crying or brushing it aside? I have been fortunate enough in that I have not personally experienced a loss in pregnancy. However, I know I am not immune to it, even at nearly 14 weeks. And maybe that is where some hesitation comes from as well: I don’t have personal experience so why write about it? Though I may not have personal experience, I see it at work and that is why I am writing this now.
Our hospital birthing center will not see any patients for complications before 18 weeks gestation. Those patients are seen and treated in the ER. After 18 weeks, we do the best we can to treat any and all complications and complaints. Unfortunately, life is not guaranteed and sometimes it’s taken too soon. We see 2-3 fetal demise a month. Demise indicates the baby has already passed away and the mom is either in labor to deliver or is being induced to deliver.
Sometimes, baby is still fully alive with a healthy heart rate and mother nature starts the labor process much too soon. That is what happened yesterday. We had a mom admitted whose water broke at 23 weeks. Viability is 24 weeks and even our most high risk NICU in the state will not transfer a mom or baby until 24 weeks. Viability just means that the chances of survival are higher than in previous weeks, yet unlikely without the best medical interventions and advances to date. Even still, life may slip away.
I do not know the outcome for this mom or baby. She had not delivered by the time I left yesterday but my heart was in a heaping mess. To make matters worse, this was her 7th pregnancy and if she looses the baby, it will be her 6th loss. I was devastated for her. Pregnancy hormones plus natural emotions surrounding such a sad situation and I could barely hold it together. I realized that even with my healthy baby and pregnancy right now, that this life is not a guarantee. Loss can happen at any stage in pregnancy and no matter how early or late, the loss is just the same. A baby has died. A mother has lost a child. No one wants to join that club but so many have.
My words are starting to fail me so I will close with this: life has a value and pregnancy loss is something which is not shown enough value. I have seen and known many moms who feel like miscarriage and loss is not talked about enough. Yes, they lost a baby but PLEASE go ahead and talk about it. This is a part of midwifery that I know will never get easy and I don’t want it to be. I want to be able to cry with my patient, hold her and her partner. To all you mamas out there who have angel babies, please feel the love and prayers I am sending you for comfort and peace.