Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sad Update

A few weeks ago I posted about a hard day I had at work. Well, unfortunately, that day was followed a while ago by a hard night.

Again, I can't go into too many details because of the privacy laws but the baby I spoke about in that post passed away. He had been doing pretty well for such a little preemie. But all of a sudden he took a turn and got sick very quickly (as preemies can do). He had been a relatively normal preemie and, within 36 hours, had died. It was a "super-night" at work that night (meaning I was by myself with just the attending, taking care of the practitioner team of babies and the resident's team of babies in the NICU) and it was very busy. This baby ended up being placed on the resident team and when the resident's were giving me check-out before they left, I was told that they didn't expect him to make it through the night. The family was having trouble making it in to visit and they were hoping I could try my best to keep him alive until morning so that certain family members could come in a say goodbye.

Talk about a busy, taxing, emotional night. He was a very sick little man. We did a lot for him and he just wasn't responding. His little body just couldn't win the battle that it was fighting. (I don't want to go into his specific diagnoses, again, for privacy reasons.) I was able to keep him alive during the night, though. I never heard if the family was able to make it in time to say goodbye but he died shortly after I left the next morning.

This little boy was only 5 days "older" than my little girl. Yet, he was born early and didn't make it and she is still safe and healthy and growing inside me, thank God. I don't know why this happens to some babies and not others. The field of neonatology is pretty young there is a lot that we just don't know. We don't really know definitively why some babies come early. And why some of those babies do well and others don't. We have theories, ideas, partial explanations . . . but not a whole lot of it is concrete.

That's so scary for me as the care-giver for these little ones and as a mom-to-be. Sure, we know that the more prenatal care a mother receives the better her and the baby fare, on average. We also know that healthy moms do better than moms with pre-existing conditions, on average. But there are some women who do everything right and have no risk factors and still, the worst happens. Why? It's just so scary.

I'm so grateful for the time I've had with my little girl. For the time she has had to grow up healthy inside me. For the fact that, despite my diabetes, she is doing great. Every day that I'm at work I pray that she stays put just a little longer. I pray for her to be healthy. I pray for a safe delivery for both of us.

So many babies are born healthy and full-term to moms who have had a safe, complication-free delivery. I know this happens. But I don't see it. That's not why I'm there. I'm there for the sick moms. And for the small babies. And for the deliveries that are high-risk, whether they are term or preterm. I just keep reminding myself, healthy moms deliver healthy babies every day all over the world. And I tell myself to stop worrying.

But it's still hard.


  1. I can't imagine how tough this would be under normal circumstances, let alone when you yourself are pregant as well. I am glad the little one had you to take care of him while he was here, and I hope you've been taking good care of yourself as well after this happened. What an emotional toll it must take!

  2. I'm so sorry that this little one passed. The work you do is so very very important and I can't thank you enough for being there to take care of these babies and their parents.

    Thinking of you and wishing you and your little girl a very healthy 40 weeks.