Brianna Bertsch

Brianna Bertsch

Brianna Bertsch, RN

FBC
Sanford Medical Center - Fargo
Fargo, North Dakota
United States
Bri assured me I was doing a good job throughout and continue to give positive reinforcement, even though every cell in me was fighting delivery.

In the evening I was admitted to FBC triage because I felt decreased fetal movements at 33 weeks. An ultrasound confirmed my worst fears as a mother, my child did not have a heartbeat. That night was horrible, I remember only bits and pieces, and they flash through like lightning, true PTSD flashbacks coming through in small slivers. The next morning I knew the inevitable had arrived. I was going to have to be induced to deliver my precious baby. Every minute counted down to separating from my child, who I grew for 33 weeks, he was healthy and strong the entire pregnancy.

Kristin Mathis was my nurse from 0700 until 1900. She walked me through every step with gentleness and kindness. Kristin knew what to say to me as a person experiencing the worst scenario of my life. Kristin supported me throughout the day. Explaining the induction. Allowing me time and space to feel what I needed to feel-guilt, shame, sadness, despair. She was beside me during the darkest hours as I came to terms with my situation. Kristin discussed with me how to explain the loss to my 2 young boys, anxiously awaiting their baby brother or sister; she helped me contact Child Life for resources and guidance. She had a packet of information for loss parents, but she said we could do it later and I could have all the time I needed. Paperwork could wait. She knew at that moment I was still in such shock; the time was not appropriate to teach me from a packet of information. A mother's brain is foggy and disconnected after the news their so wanted, and so loved baby is gone.

Kristin and I spoke about milk donation, and she contacted the lactation consultant to help me understand my options for donation after the loss. She also helped my husband attempt to make arrangements for a funeral. No parent naturally knows how to call to arrange a funeral for their infant. She gently provided resources and recommendations to us. Kristin gave me complete control during the entire day, timing my medications- increasing from Cytotec, moving on to Pitocin. Each step she was so patient, allowing me to attempt to process that each intervention was one step closer to losing my baby and having to deliver. She exuded empathy and sympathy; her compassion was apparent. Nothing ever felt disingenuous or forced. Her nature was calm and collected. She treated me so gently, guiding me along with the worst experience of my life, with so much compassion. Looking back, having her on that day, was a true gift to myself and my husband. She shared with me her passion for specialty nursing and sets the bar for excellent patient care. When Kristin left at 1900, my labor was just starting to speed up after several more unpleasant interventions. That is when Bri arrived.

Bri came on at 1900 and assumed my care for the night shift. She was given a hard task, one that not many nurses can handle. She was the support for me during the transition, as I fought my body, fighting to keep my baby inside of me. Knowing I was losing him soon. She supported my husband as he tried to navigate a situation where one cannot ever know innately how to handle. Bri was steadfast and strong. She assured me I was doing a good job throughout and continue to give positive reinforcement, even though every cell in me was fighting delivery. Bri was in the room with Dr. W, myself and my husband at 10:30 pm when I delivered my perfect, third baby boy. Bri saw him and simultaneously with my husband announced "BOY!" We did not know we were having another boy.

Bri was part of a special moment for my son, C, born at 4lb 1oz. Perfect in every way, and Bri made sure to remind me he was so handsome as she handed him to me. Bri took photos of us with C and also told us we could have the lullaby played for him. That gesture was so important. My son was treated and given the same care and special honor as other children. The lullaby playing was something simple but made a huge impact on my husband and me. Her thoughtfulness mattered. Bri is one of about a half a dozen people who had the honor of holding C and spending time with him. That is something that will stay with me forever and her grace and kindness will as well. During the night, Bri made molds and keepsakes for us to take home since we didn't get to take home C. She had a memory box and our molds ready in the morning and had C dressed and cleaned. He was placed so lovingly in a cuddle cot (to keep him cool) next to my bed, with his hat, an outfit provided to us (as we left our house in a fury), wrapped up in a swaddle, with his hands crossed across his little belly. She made him look absolutely perfect, like a little angel. She took the time and was so delicate with our son. Her shift ended at 0700 the next morning, leaving a lasting impact on myself, my husband, and our new addition C.

My time with both Kristin and Bri are forever etched in my mind. The control allowed to me and care given to me during my horrific nightmare may seem small and assumed, but it helped me to make my way through to the "other side". To my new life as a bereaved parent. I was treated with such kindness and compassion; I was impressed with both of them. It takes a very, very special nurse to be a member of an infant bereavement team. Kristin and Bri are exemplary nurses who uphold high professional practice models and strive to provide patient-centered care. It is with great respect and much sadness that I submit this nomination. If I could-I would undo it and never have met them under those circumstances. But in my story, in C's story, they are an integral part of us, as well as key assets to Sanford and the FBC bereavement team.