Wednesday, June 13, 2007


At first glance when the two of them walked through my door I had no idea what they could possibly want. They both appeared to be very young. He was wearing torn jeans with a cap sticking out of his front pocket, a soiled tee shirt and had flip-flops on. She was also wearing torn jeans and was wearing a blouse that allowed you to see her flowered bra through the fabric and had on running shoes; she had a big purse slung over her shoulder.

I introduced myself and asked how I could help them when she began to sob. They both had just left the hospital and decided to stop in to see me on their way home to be sure that the hospital had contacted us; at that point they hadn't. The previous morning she had been rushed to the hospital with excruciating pains in her swollen abdomen and they were both afraid that something was wrong with the baby she was carrying. As it turned out, their fears became reality that day. Sundrop was delivered stillborn.

Her husband was a huge comfort to her, that was obvious. He cradled her in his arms and whispered in her ear. They were not as young as they looked but still in thier early twenties and during our conversation explained to me that they had another child just three years old. They had already decided that they wanted to cremate their baby and wanted to bring her home to their three year old. They were hoping that they would be able to see the baby at the funeral home because someone, a relative I think, had talked them into not seeing the baby and they had later regretted that choice. I explained that we didn't have Sundrop just yet but we could continue with all of the necessary paperwork if they were up to it. They agreed and we completed the arrangements for the baby's cremation. I let them know that I would contact them as soon as I had their baby and they could come right back and see her.

When the child was brought into our care I immediately went to see her. She looked like an angel. I went back to the office and contacted the family and she told me she would be right over. When she came back it was with her sister, her mother didn't want to see the baby and he had to return to work that day otherwise he wouldn't have gotten paid. I brought Sundrop in the room swaddled in a blanket. I carried her right to her mother and placed her in her arms then excused myself to a point where I could keep one eye on them in case they needed me. She sat there for a good twenty minutes rocking the lifeless child all the while smiling and cooing to the baby; touching it's face and kissing it's hands. Her sister sat next to her and tears just streamed down her face. When she was ready she looked up for me; I saw her. She stood before I could get to her and she handed the child to me and asked me to be careful with her. I assured her I would and I was.

When I returned she thanked me for allowing her to hold her baby. She didn't think she would have ever been able to. Days later, she, her husband, and Julie their three year old came to pick up Sundrop when she was finally ready to go home. The two of them thanked me and the four of them went home as a family. This was one of the most heart wrenching experiences I have ever had.


MedStudentWife said...


I never knew what you folks may go through


I'm stunned & thinking what ..
all parties are thinking


Steve said...

Been there, done that. Your care and compassion will be remembered forever.

I cannot remember the doctor's name, nor her face, but I will always remember her kindness and tenderness as she held up our son for us to have a last look.

And to this day, now over a decade later, I hold in my heart an eternal gratefulness for her that she may never know - but you do.