I delivered my stillborn son at UnityPoint hospital in Dubuque, IA. During this experience, I had two incredible nurses who made sure that I received excellent physical care, and also incredible emotional support.
At 17.5 weeks gestation, we found out that our son no longer had a heartbeat and had passed away in utero. As we made our way to the labor and delivery floor, we prepared to deliver our third child, our son. I will never forget meeting Barb. She greeted us by saying "Hi, I am Barb. Let's start with a hug." That hug. That moment where I started crying in her arms...was so compassionate and important. We were with Barb for a couple of hours before the nurse shift change. During this time, from the first moment to the last, she acknowledged and was sensitive to the sadness of this day while also providing us with expert medical information surrounding what we could expect as labor began.
The next nurse that we had was Diane. She was with us through the entire labor and delivery. Words cannot accurately describe the comfort, warmth, and sensitivity that she brought us during this time. She helped with a difficult labor that included a couple of panic attacks as we prepared to meet our son who had already passed away and was in Heaven. She delivered our son gently and sensitively and assisted the doctor with each step. What a blessing she was to us! She offered incredible medical care, and also invaluable emotional support. She also spoke with us about the support resources that are available to us in the region. Her gentle touch and soft voice along with her masterful skill ensured that we delivered our son (under such a sad circumstance) in a comforting environment. She also set up the CuddleCot for our son's body to cool, which was such a valuable act. The time that we had with him before his body left us was an amazing blessing.
After the next nurse change, Barb returned to us. By this point, we had delivered our son and were cherishing moments with him by our sides while holding him and memorizing his features when he was in the CuddleCot. Barb ensured that our family was gently introduced to him and she provided more emotional support as the reality of our son's passing continued to sink in. She even located books from the library to help us with introducing our daughters to their brother who had passed on, and resources for explaining death to our children. She remained with us after we sent our son to the funeral home and until we left the hospital that evening. She offered several pieces of advice that will always echo in my mind. And Barb embodied everything that makes a wonderful nurse, from beginning to end!
Together, Barb and Diane ensured that we received the highest medical care as well as the highest possible level of emotional support. And for that, we are forever grateful.