Saturday, December 20, 2008

When Life Just Isn't Fair

So I was on call tonight just long enough for me to change out of scrubs and head to a Christmas concert with my parents...then got called and told there had been a scheduling mis-hap and if I could please come to work. Ok, no big deal, that means time and a half for the first 6 hours. I figured (that's the last time I "figure" anything about this job!) that they would want me out of there ASAP since I was a call-back and making extra money. So...what do I walk into?

J met me in the lounge as I was putting my stuff under the counter and going to change and said "girl, get ready to cry your eyes out. You're walking into a sad situation." Great...what happened now. So over the next 2 hours as I piece the story together...G1 came in for a cervidil the night before, good pregnancy, no real problems, labored all day on Pit, good strip, got to complete, pushed and wouldn't descend, went to the back for a C/ came out dead. Parents declined an autopsy, but from the x-rays the most popular theory is that it was a heart/lung problem and baby just couldn't transition. They coded the baby for 2 hours before they pronounced the time of death.

The baby was perfect. Completely perfect. I just don't understand. I've been thinking...I couldn't even really tell you what I did for the last 12 hours. I felt like the biggest jerk in the whole wide world every time I had to walk into that room because I didn't know what to say, and I felt like I was totally invading a completely personal/intimate moment every time that door squeaked open. When I had to take the baby for the NNP to draw blood for the genetic studies and then do the plaster hand molds I felt like I should be fired because I was the one taking the baby away. Why did it have to be me to take him away?

After about 0200 when Mom and Dad had said their goodbyes and all the pictures were taken and everyone had cried and it was time to take the baby to the morgue, I was the one who had to put him in his bassinet and cover his little face for the last time and I was the one who had to roll him out of the room away from his mom and dad. Carrying him down the back steps to the morgue and then standing in the hall waiting for the security guard to open the door. Then leaving him wrapped in a blanket on the cold shelf, all by himself. It's not fair!

They were expecting to take a very long awaited and prayed for Christmas baby home with them on Monday. Now they're taking nothing but some bloody blankets, some hats, a strand or two of hair taped on a piece of paper, and the Christmas stocking that goes in every bassinet during December. When they were taking pictures they had him dressed up in the most adorable outfit with his Christmas blanket in the stocking and mom said "We've been waiting to take pictures with the stocking for a long time."

When I was tucking Mom and Dad in for the night they said thank you for everything I did. I didn't do anything. Really, I felt like all I did was invade their privacy and take up time that they should have been spending with their baby. They were the most amazing couple I've seen in a long time. They were grieving the death of their first baby and they were thanking me? It's just not right. So many things tonight just weren't right.


  1. I'm so, so sorry - for them, for you & the other careproviders - what a sad, sad situation.

  2. Oh, sad! Almost 3 years ago exactly my husband's best friend and his wife also had a stillbirth. In their case the umbilical cord had strangled her in utero. She's still scared to try to have another one. So sad.


  3. That is so, so sad. I had never thought about a nurse having to be the one to take the baby away. I imagine your job is quite stressfull.

    Thank you for sharing your stories.

  4. I'm in school because I want to be a birthday nurse when I grow up. This is the only part scares me. My heart breaks even thinking about it.

  5. Your story brought tears to my eyes. You did a great job, I just know it. I'm in school to be an RN and will graduate in June. I've heard that L&D is the happiest place to work, but when things go bad, it's the saddest place. :(