Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness

I just wanted to take a moment to honor all of you mamas out there who have experienced any kind of pregnancy or infant loss. I’ve mentioned before that I have not gone through this personally, however I have many friends who have. I have also witnessed the emotions and sadness over a loss in the hospital. It is devastating and I want you all to know that I am thinking of you. I’m sending you lots of love for your strength and courage to push through such a hard time. It really does not matter how far along you were in your pregnancy; a baby is a baby, a loss is a loss. All the same. I am doing my best to learn how to help others cope. I feel so much emotion, no matter if it concerns me or someone else. Knowing what to say seems to be the hardest thing to figure out, yet I feel and I’ve been told that not saying anything at all is sometimes best and, instead, offer hugs, time and prayer.

If you have lost a baby and you want to remember your baby, I would be happy to share your story here. We need to talk about it. It’s not taboo but so many feel that it is.

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2013

Cheers and Happy New Year! Hard to believe I already have a semester under my belt with two more to go before I begin nursing school. WOW. Seriously, WOW. School as been an incredible experience so far. I finished this semester with a 3.8 GPA, something which I have NEVER seen in all my school days (well, maybe in elementary school, lol!).

I am working on ideas for posts in the upcoming months. I will be very busy with a large, pregnant belly, 3 year old, school and full time work. If there is something specific you would like to see, please let me now. I really enjoy writing articles on both personal and professional experiences, as well as anything medically related to pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Speaking of, I also welcome all birth and breastfeeding stories. Lastly, I had a great response to my  most recent post on Pregnancy Loss. If you have experienced a loss, I would be happy to share your story. As I said in the post, loss is not talked about enough. I want to shed light on it and give the mamas with angel babies a place to celebrate their pregnancy and baby. Again, send me an email or leave me a comment.

On a personal note, this baby is doing great! 20 weeks tomorrow and growing well. We are not finding out the sex. We did discover a complete placenta previa at 17 weeks and as of yesterday, it has completely resolved itself! We are elated. I shared a case study on placenta previa last fall and will be writing more on the subject now that I have personal experience, though brief.

Take care!!

On Pregnancy Loss

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.

The Reading List

I want to note the things I’ve read and hopefully stay on top of reviewing those materials once I’ve finished the reading. Hopefully this can also be helpful to those of you seeking great resources whether you’re pregnant or going to school. Bolded items indicate that I’ve read the book and there’s a link to a review.

In no particular order:

  1. Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein
  2. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
  3. Labor of Love by Cara Muhlhahn
  4. Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin
  5. The Birth Partner Handbook by Carl Jones
  6. Husband Coached Childbirth by Robert Bradley
  7. Natural Birth, the Bradley Way by RObert Bradley
  8. Ask a Midwife by Catherine Parker-Littler (REVIEW TO COME)
  9. Pocket Guide to Fetal Monitoring and Assessment by Susan Martin Tucker
  10. The Labor Progress Handbook by Penny Simkin
  11. Core Curriculum for Maternal-Newborn Nursing by Susan Mattson and Judy E. Smith
  12. Diary of a Midwife: The Power of Positive Childbearing by Juliana van Olphen-Fehr
  13. Midwives: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian (just for fun)
  14. Unspeakable Losses: Healing from Miscarriage, Abortion and other Fetal Loss by Kim Klueger-Bell (great for nurses too).
  15. A Child is Born by Lennart Nilsson
  16. Any of the many Labor/delivery/Perinatal nursing books published, produced by AWHONN, such as Periantal Nursing
  17. Varney’s Midwifery by Helen Varney (no not a midwife, but the info here is invaluable to an OB nurse as well).
  18. The Breastfeeding Answerbook by LaLecheLeague International
  19. Labor and Delivery in my Pocket ( www.inmypocketbooks.com )
  20. Resource/website to get a HUGE selection of books and teaching materials relating to Childbirth, Midwifery, Lactation, Parenting, Newborn/Childcare:

    www.1cascade.com