Thursday, December 06, 2012

Visit to the maternity ward

Today for the first time since Toren was born, we went back to the maternity ward. I wanted to meet Amelia's baby brother and see how the parents were doing. We went with Scarlett's parents. I can't imagine a better set up for having to go back there. It was an intense, emotional visit. Tears of sadness, tears of joy. Amelia's parents were overjoyed, bursting with happiness and so in love with their beautiful son, but also feeling more fully the loss of their baby girl. Her picture was there at the bedside and we got to take a family portrait of all of them. A family of four, with the eldest child very much missing.

For me, walking back onto the ward where we had had to leave Toren was surprisingly ok. I think part of my brain was shut down, the part that links past with present. I saw the room where I sometimes went for my OB appointments. I looked into the assessment room at the bed I was lying in when we were told there was no heartbeat. There was a woman in the bed, husband by her side. I felt blank. The only thing I couldn't do was look at the nursing station. Whenever I walked by it, I kept my eyes straight ahead. I think I was afraid of seeing one of our nurses. I think that would have pushed me over the edge but I don't know for sure because I wasn't even tempted to test it.

Everything that was true the day before Amelia's brother was born is still true. Nothing has changed about that. But now, there's a new piece to the story. Joy. A living baby to take home. A child to raise. He will know his big sister.

Life is so unfair sometimes. And so beautiful.


  1. Firstly, I want to say that I am so sorry for the loss of your son Toren. Secondly, I want you to know that I find it so insightful as a nurse to read your blog! I go to work through those purple doors you posted in your photo...and we both had our second babies just a week apart. My girl was born Jan 13th in the same hospital that your son was born.

    I know you would rather have Toren in your arms and be planning his 1st birthday and battling teething... but through this journey you have become an amazing teacher/advocate/resource for families effected by stillbirth.

    I'd love to see some blog posts about how you think health care professionals could better serve families who are going through the loss of a baby. Truly we are not taught anything in regards to stillbirth and families. Some of us are more naturally compassionate than others. Some of us have better insight on how to meet the needs of families, but not all. In my 7 years in maternity I have only been involved 4 stillbirths. I can still remember each and every detail.

    Anyways, phew that was a bit of a ramble!! Just sending you some virtual mama love!!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. The parallels between us are interesting. For example, we are both named Andrea. That's probably the easiest one. I do have some thoughts about how things can be improved, and have written a bit about it, but it's only one part of a very complicated story. Another part has to come from care providers. As you probably know, the best way to effect change in the workplace is to involve the people who work there. In fact, it is really the only way. I know that you have also blogged about perinatal loss, from the perspective of a care provider. It's so important for parents to tell their stories and for the people who care for them to join the discussion. Keep reading and keep writing...

  2. As a bereaved mother, I so appreciate the interest from an nurse in the field. Thank you Andrea F for your interest and concern. And, thank you Toren's mom for providing this venue for discussion. I have learned much from your posts.

    I would like to offer my two cents.

    First, I've found that meeting non-loss families with babies of the same age as our own as very very difficult. I, myself, have actively avoided them. This includes social media. At this stage of my grief journey, I find it difficult to see pictures of people holding their living babies, mostly because my type of motherhood is not accepted on these forums. In many circumstances, the pictures of our babies receive complaints, are ridiculed or even censored/deleted for their "inappropriateness". Furthermore, why are there only pictures of living babies on the maternity wards/doctors' offices--there should be an 'In Memory' wall as well.

    Second, despite what we might do to make the world a better place, it is still not a path/journey we would have chosen. More often than not, it is hard to hear from non-loss parents of happily living children that we are doing a "good job". It is not our choice--this is the way have been forced to parent.

    Thank you for your time.

    1. So great to connect with other grieving parents. And so sad. I agree with you, I would exchange any good works for a chance to have my child here with me and watch him grow and have his own impact on the world. That is the way it's supposed to happen.

      Thanks for sharing. Wishing you peace.