Letter to the hospital

Dear [],

I’m not sure if you’re the right person to direct this correspondence to, but I received your postcard in the mail and thought I’d give it a shot. I recently filled out the survey I received on my delivery experience at the hospital, but I also wanted to follow up with someone personally.

My son, Luke Wyatt, was delivered still at 2:07 a.m. Aug. 21. I have a healthy 2-year-old daughter and I had an otherwise normal pregnancy, so his death came as a complete shock (for which we still have no answers).

First of all, I want to say how wonderful the labor and delivery nurses were. I believe their names were [] (the charge nurse) and [] (came on after a shift change). They were so compassionate and attentive and made the process as smooth as they could given the circumstances.

I wanted to give some feedback regarding our experiences after the delivery. We knew that we wanted to hold him and photograph him. When we first arrived, the charge nurse had left a message for the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep photographer, but since it was nighttime, they weren’t on call. So when we delivered in the middle of the night, we gave our camera to the nurses, and they took some pictures. They did their best but unfortunately, the pictures aren’t the greatest. There aren’t that many, and some are out of focus. We don’t have any photos of his hair because he had his cap on in all the pictures. There are no photos of his face from a direct angle except for a few from far away.

I now realize that we could have simply waited for the NILMDTS photographer to be on call again, and we would have the wonderful, beautiful photos of our child like I see in the support groups I belong to. But it was something that, in my shocked and hysterical state, did not even occur to me at that time, and I will regret that forever. I wish that the nurses had suggested this to us.

They did emphasize several times that we could hold him for as long as we wanted. In the stillbirth support groups that I belong to, some of the families stayed with their babies all day. They got numerous photos, bathed them, dressed them, and the like. I didn’t even realize this was a possibility. For some reason – again, in my shocked, hysterical state — I was thinking “as long as possible” meant a few hours.

It would be great if the nurses could make this more clear to families in this situation in the future. If this is the only chance you will ever have to be with your child, you don’t want to have regrets later about what you didn’t do.

We also don’t have a lock of his hair – again, something that didn’t even occur to me to ask for. And we do have footprints, but we have no handprints.

My other feedback pertains to what happened after I left the delivery room. Instead of being taken to the family center, I was taken to a whole different floor. Many of the people coming in to the room didn’t know what had just happened to us (when we were discharged, the orderly joked, “So, how long have you been in prison here?”). I was only checked for bleeding a few times, and I was helped to the bathroom once. I went from being surrounded by care and compassion and attentiveness in the delivery room to a completely different aftercare experience. Honestly, it felt like, “Well, she doesn’t have a baby, so let’s just get her out of the way and dump her over here.” When my first child was born (she’s healthy and now 2), there was a lot more monitoring and help in the family center and it just felt completely different.

I can understand that some families might not want to be in the family center after this experience, but I think people should be given the option.

I hope that this feedback is helpful and can be used to improve the hospital experience for families in this situation in the future. Thank you for your time.

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4 thoughts on “Letter to the hospital

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. I recently had a loss too, and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. Every day since has been hard. I’m glad you’re providing your hospital feedback. Everything you’re asking them to do is important and valid, and I hope they listen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Christine. Your blog is great – thank you for starting it. I think someday you will be glad you have these writings to look back on. It’s something tangible that connects us to our children. ❤

    Like

  3. Pingback: Balloons blow | lukewyatt

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