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Miscarriage/pregnancy loss

Would you like to receive a card from me if this was you?

18 replies

aurynne · 02/10/2013 10:42

I am a student midwife and recently I had the privilege to care for a woman who had a miscarriage. I was with her when the tiny, perfect, beautiful baby was born. I took photos of that baby for the parents, cleaned her and placed her in a lovely little cot and took it back to mum and dad so they could spend as much time as they wanted with her. I cared for her during the following day too.

This experience has affected me deeply, but in a good way. I thought I would go home that day and cry my head off. However, I felt an incredible sense of peace, of being honoured of sharing those moments with that amazing woman and her partner, and having got to meet that tiny baby. I feel this experience will make me a better midwife.

Some weeks have passed and I have this urge to write this lady a card, in which I would tell her how beautiful I think her baby was (even though I told her at the time), say that that little baby changed not only their lives, but in her short time in this world touched my life too, and that I will always remember her name and her birthday.

However, I am torn abut this. One part of me tells me to go ahead, that this woman will really like to know someone else will remember her baby, and that she meant so much for me. Another part of me tells me to let it go, that this woman has gone through enough and receiving that card would reopen the wound, and that it is an inappropriate thing to do. I am afraid sending this card is selfish, as a way of making this all about me, instead of letting this woman grieve. I am not sure she will want to hear from me again, or would prefer to forget that part of her experience.

Apologising in advance if this thread hurts anyone's sensitivities, I would like to ask you ladies, do you think I should send this card? Please be honest, the last thing I would want would be to make her grieving worse :(

OP posts:
ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee · 02/10/2013 10:48

I think getting a card would be lovely if it wasn't too long ago. If it's quite a while ago I'd leave it until the anniversary. What you have said you will say, sounds fine - don't say too much more though and I'd avoid saying anything about it making you a better midwife etc

Bakingtins · 02/10/2013 10:52

I think it will make her cry - but probably in a good way. There is very little chance her emotional wounds are healed after a short time. If it were me, to hear that my loss had changed the way you will practise in the future would be something to hold on to as a positive in all the pain.
It's very hurtful how quickly the world moves on and forgets when you have a miscarriage. I think that hearing that you will remember will mean a lot.

shabbatheGreek · 02/10/2013 10:53

I have had four sons but sadly two of them have died. If I was the Mum you are talking about I would be so pleased to hear from you. You cannot make her hurt more by remembering her precious baby. Many, many people (who I thought were friends) avoided me like the plague after my lads died and that hurts so much more.

I personally would say yes to the card.

After one of my twin boys died (aged 7 months - congenital heart defects) I was desperate to talk to the midwife who delivered them - I tried to make contact but never could. I wanted to tell somebody who had helped so much to bring the twins into the world.

BlueSkyandRain · 02/10/2013 18:55

Hi aurynne, my son was stillborn 6 months ago, and I would have been really touched and comforted if I'd received a card a few weeks afterwards saying the sorts of things you've put here - that you felt honoured, and will remember the baby's name and birthday etc. It's not clear from your post how long ago it was, but I think it's unlikely to reopen wounds for her (& her partner) unless they've been trying to bottle it up and not grieve. Personally I've not gone more than a few minutes without thinking of my ds, even now, and I actually find it almost humorous at times when people try to avoid talking about him, as if they might make me remember!

Actually I'm kind of wondering the opposite - about sending a thank you note to the midwives who cared for me. Although it was such a horrific shock, I really was comforted both at the time and in the days afterwards by their compassion and kindness. But I have only recently felt up to writing something, and actually I worry that I might send something and them not remember me or my son. Your post makes me think maybe I should send it after all.

aurynne · 02/10/2013 20:36

Thank you so very much for taking the time to respond. This baby was born less than a month ago, so still very recent. BlueSkyandRain, the midwives who cared for you will undoubtedly remember you and your baby, and it will be a huge recognition and relieve to get a message from you. Believe me, no matter what we do or say, we are constantly doubting we did or said the right thing, whether we showed too much emotion or too little, whether the woman we cared for was comforted or unhappy with our care.

OP posts:
goosey123 · 02/10/2013 20:59

hi, I lost my baby a year ago today (hence why I'm here today!), at 16 weeks. Unfortunately i didn't have a nice midwife by my side and endured the whole experience in A and E. But when I was transferred to the maternity unit the midwife's were lovely. It would have meant a lot to have heard from one of them in the weeks that followed.

Losing a baby is a very lonely experience. No-one asks for details, and I'm not sure if I wanted to describe it to anyone, so really, it's only your partner and the midwife (if you are lucky enough to have one) who know what actually happened. That would make Me feel very bonded to the professional who was by my side.

I'm also a cancer nurse so know what its like to be the professional involved in such emotionally charged situations. A lot of what you write makes sense to me. One thing I did think though was years ago, a colleague of mine told me off for saying I would always remember a young boy who died, saying I wouldn't. I felt defensive at the time, but I have to say 13 years later I do remember his name and his face. But all other details are faded. I'm not sure it's wrong to say you will always remember, but sadly my memories are very crowded after a long career, and although I do remember some bits, some memories do fade. x

lighthousesea · 02/10/2013 21:46

I think this is a lovely idea. However putting myself in your shoes as a professional I wouldn't. I think it's crossing a bit of a line and its a bit of a risk if she takes it badly.

You are really sweet and caring but remember you do not have a personal relationship in this situation. Perhaps there is a colleague you can chat this through with?

aurynne · 02/10/2013 23:20

lightousesea, as you well remark I also considered professional implications. I have talked with my course tutor about this and she has given me approval to send this card if I believe it would do good. I would be doing this through the woman's midwife, not directly, and only if her midwife (who knows her better and has been working with her from the beginning) also believes it is a good idea.

OP posts:
aurynne · 02/10/2013 23:26

I would also like to add I am so grateful of those of you who have shared their experiences here. Somehow this part of midwifery rarely gets spoken of during the degree (save for basic information about support groups and in the most unemotional theoretical biology aspects). In a profession in which the relationship between the woman and her midwife is paramount, the skills to support a woman during the birth of a baby who will not survive are not given enough weight, if any.

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Habbibu · 02/10/2013 23:32

I'd have loved it. When dd1 was born at 21 weeks with anencephaly, we had a lovely midwife. When dd2 was born, we asked if she was on duty, and she was, and came to see us, and it was so wonderful to see her - she gave us huge hugs, and I will never forget it. The whole dept was lovely - even the doctor who had given us dd1's diagnosis at the scan came to find us when dd2 was born, and apparently the ultrasound dept was all excited! I credit the kindness and personal investment of the people for so many things - my mental health, our two wonderful children, and so much else. I think you sound ace.

Habbibu · 02/10/2013 23:34

Also, after dd1 died, we took our bereavement midwife a bottle of wine to say thank you. She phoned me a while later to tell me that she and her partner had sat in their garden and toasted dd1. It makes me smile and feel a bit teary almost 8 years on.

QuietTiger · 05/10/2013 11:24

When DH & I lost DD1 at 32 weeks last year, we had a wonderful & amazing midwife looking after us who had only just qualified - we were her first still birth. we sent some flowers to her after it all happened to say thank you for what she did. She was quite literally amazing.

She sent a card about 3 weeks after we had lost DD1 to just let us know that we were in her thoughts and what an impact DH, me and DD1 had on her as a "junior" midwife and how it had changed her and the way she dealt with another lady in the same situation a few days after us. It was all positive, lovely stuff, and in a strange way, it also helped because it means that DD1's loss means that one midwife at least, was be able to really make a difference for the next woman she saw through such a traumatic time.

If you feel it would be appreciated, my thoughts are that it would be a nice gesture.

StitchingMoss · 05/10/2013 11:34

I'm just recovering from my 3rd m/c and when I get out of hospital I intend to send the staff a card - they have been so amazing.

I would be so touched to receive a card from a member of staff - I think one of the sadnesses about m/c is that your child is forgotten and unacknowledged by the world.

aurynne · 07/10/2013 06:55

Thank you again to all of you. The card is written and I am waiting for the midwife to come back from annual leave to give it to her. I will be hoping with my whole heart that it brings her some comfort.

OP posts:
tallulahpolly · 08/10/2013 09:39

I think you are doing the right thing in sending the card.The pain of losing a baby is always there.People are scared to bring it up in case it is upsetting,but it is more upsetting for the subject to be avoided. My second son is now 8 months old and when he was born I was touched by the number of people at the hospital who remembered my first. It helps to know other people are thinking of you. It would be wonderful if these parents go on to have another baby and you can be part of that too.Our first midwife had moved to another department but came to see us and our new baby as soon as she heard we were in.I will always remember her kindness and delight.Good luck to you.

TigerSwallowTail · 08/10/2013 09:45

I wouldn't like it, and as a professional I think you'd be crossing boundaries. I received a card after my miscarriage (not from a midwife) and it just made me more upset, dp also read it and put it in the bin afterwards as it hurt him too.

StitchingMoss · 08/10/2013 16:59

Tiger, I think it's so personal. I had a m/c last week and my living room looks like a branch of interflora at the moment. I know lots of people don't like flowers in this situation but I think they're beautiful and I'm deeply touched at the support that I've been offered and the number of people thinking of me and my lost baby. It's not for everyone though.

Habbibu · 08/10/2013 17:04

Tbh, when dd1 died I didn't like a lot of the cards we got, and hated flowers (which in hindsight is grim, but I was just so sad and angry) but really appreciated the personal contact from our bereavement midwife. I think I felt she just understood in a way that other people didn't, and I'd have loved to get something from the midwife who delivered dd1 - she held her and put her into my arms - she's part of dd1's story now, and I can't put a professional boundary line into that.

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