Mom Gives Birth To Stillborn Baby, But Never Thought Nurse’s Comment Would Stick With Her Forever

The loss of a loved one is always going to be something difficult to face but when a parent loses a child, it is especially tragic. Rachel Whalen is a mother who knows that tragedy all too well. When we have something like this happen to us, it is rare that we talk about the subject but Rachel decided that she would talk about it for the benefit of everyone. She knew that it would help her to get through her grief and in her discussion, we learned a lesson about compassion that we can all follow.

Unlike what you might think, it wasn’t the close personal contact of a family member that helped her to get through the loss of the child. It was something that she experienced at the hospital when Dorothy, her baby girl was stillborn. She is now talking about those who gave her a degree of hope when things seemed at the lowest level possible.

When you experience something this tragic, you can’t really expect that condolences from others are going to help to ease the pain. It takes the support of many others and the passing of time to really do the trick. This mother’s network included nurses at the hospital who gave a degree of love that all of us could use from time to time. She decided that her story needed to be told, so she posted it on Facebook.

“To the nurses, Thank you for saving me. Your skills and your knowledge saved me from following my daughter into death, but it was your compassion that guided me back towards life. The humanity you demonstrated is what brought me back into life; you made it possible to think about living after death. For this, I owe you my love and deepest gratitude.

Thank you to the nurses who always made sure my husband had enough pillows when he had to stay in my hospital room. And thank you to the nurses who let him sneak popsicles from the freezer. You recognized that this was an experience for him and that he also needed your care.”

We may sometimes forget that the father is also suffering through this difficult time. We have to make sure that more is considered than the physical body as well. The doctors helped Rachel to get back from a time when she almost passed away and the nurses saved both the mother and father in the end.

The nurses acted as their guides, taking the mother where she needed to go.

“Thank you to the nurse who came with me when they rushed me to the ICU from Labor & Delivery. Thank you for being my advocate when I couldn’t speak up because I was too busy fighting for my life. I’m not sure I would have lived to see my daughter if you hadn’t been there.

Thank you to the nurse who taught me how to fill my bra with ice packs when I needed to suppress my milk after my daughter was stillborn. I also want to thank you for holding me as I wept at the burden I could not release. Your embrace did nothing to lighten the heaviness in my breasts, but you brought a glimmer of light into my very dark world.

Thank you to the nurse in the ICU who came in to clean me up after my daughter died. Thank you for taking the time to help me wash my face and brush my hair. I can still sense how it felt to have you smooth my hair back into a ponytail, it was a touch that wasn’t a poke or a prod. It was a gesture.”

It can be difficult to care for yourself when you just want to disappear. There is self-care that is vitally important, however, when it comes to the healing process. The kind gestures of the nurse help to fill that role.

People may not talk much about a child dying because it is uncomfortable to discuss. The nurses were there to acknowledge what she had gone through, including wonders that said something that amazed Rachel.

“Thank you to the nurse who crouched by my bedside and asked me about Dorothy. Thank you for knowing how important it was for her to be real even though she was gone. I will never forget the way you leaned in, just like we were friends, and asked: ‘Do you want to tell me about her?

‘Thank you to the nurse who dressed my baby and took her picture. Thank you for making sure her hat didn’t cover her eyes and that her hands were positioned so gracefully. That picture means the world to us.

Thank you to the nurses who took the time to read my chart before shift change. I want to thank you for learning our names and learning the name of our daughter before you walked into my room. It meant so much to hear our names spoken together. It made us feel like a family.”

It really doesn’t matter what we say, we can never match what a mother has gone through when a child is lost. Sometimes, they acknowledge what they have gone through and allowing them to experience it and recover is the best thing that we can do.

“Thank you to the nurse who slipped quietly into my room on my first night without Dorothy so that you could hold my hand. Thank you for whispering to me your story about your own child who was born still. Thank you for being the first person to lead me out of the isolation one feels after losing a child. Your presence felt too good to be true. I’m still not convinced I didn’t dream you up just, so I could make it through that first lonely night.

Finally, I want to thank the nurses who saw me through my pregnancy with Dorothy’s little sister. Even after Frances came into the world, you never forgot that someone came before her. You knew that the birth of Frances did not make me a first-time mother. It made me a mother of two.”

The letter was signed, “Gratefully, The One You Brought Back.”