Birth after Loss

June 5, 2014

Day Four WordPress 101  Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more. Today’s twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.

This prompted me to write about loss in Midwifery.  Birth after loss.


When you say to people that you are a Midwife, people generally exclaim, “Oh what a wonderful job”.  They are right; indeed it is, ninety nine percent of the time. We are privileged to be involved with families at a very wonderful time in their lives.  We are there when a couple first become a family. Then we watch as those families grow and develop. If we are lucky we see women back for their second and third babies.

But sometimes birth can be sad and emotionally hard, not only on the couple involved but the midwife in attendance too.  But let me tell you a story


I met a mother and her husband on their second pregnancy. I met them when they were already in the throes of labour, in a busy labour ward situation. The history was that she had suffered a very early neonatal death with her first child and was being induced for her second due to family anxiety. All the antenatal scans and care had advised that all was well with this baby.

I arrived in the room and introduced myself. The couple acknowledged me, but appeared very bonded in their own world. It was like there was a wall between them and the professionals.

The midwifery handover was that she was fully dilated but that they were waiting for an urge to push. All was well with baby and the mother.  She did look very comfortable.  The midwife was at the end of her shift so said goodbye and wished them well.


Is i took over care I talked about trivial stuff, whilst performing observations and recording the results. I offered tea to Dad but he declined. The air was incredibly tense.  Contractions came and went, but there were no signs that she was going to deliver soon, despite a normal delivery last time with a routine second stage.  The room was noticeably quiet.

The minutes passed and all remained well, but still with no apparent progress to wanting to push. Then, after a long while, something clicked in my head. She did not want to deliver this baby!

The baby she had now was alive and well inside her. Once out there was no guarantee of survival, so she was holding on for as long as possible.

I sat down at the bedside and took her hand in mine. I asked her how she was feeling. She said “fine”.  I gently asked “Do you want to have your baby today?”  She looked at me incredulously, as if I was completely mad.  “Of course I do” she said, more than a bit sharp.

I calmly asked her to tell me what it had been like, the last time she had given birth.  Her eyes welled with tears and her hand tightened around mine as she began to describe the events in minute detail.

Her baby was born with a diaphragmatic hernia, where the stomach had protruded through the diaphragm so much so that the baby’s lungs had not been able to develop normally. Although there had been valiant attempts to save her baby’s life, at the resuscitation machine in the room, they had failed and she had been handed her lifeless son to cradle in her arms. They had watched it all.

Both parents were crying now at the stark memory of events. I was moved by the clarity of the story, as if it had happened yesterday. She proudly showed me a picture of her son and shared his name.  We agreed that somehow he was with us all in the delivery room.

Then she looked up, smiled at me and said  “I think I can deliver now”.

Within a couple of pushes the baby’s head was visible and after a few more she was born.

We all cried and laughed in unison as she cried lustily on her arrival into the world.


3 Responses to “Birth after Loss”

  1. Put It Together 4 U Says:

    What a whirlwind of sadness, joy, and triumph! I am not sure if you intended on leaving a cliffhanger, but you have me eager for more. Awesome writing – and a very noble profession. I applaud you for both!

    ~ Angela
    (If you desire to read my entry for the day (forewarning: it’s a tear-jerker of sorts), here’s the link: http://putittogether4u.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/i-cried-today-the-serial-killer-part-one-blogging-university-day-four/comment-page-1/#comment-96 )

    • Thank you. I really appreciate you taking the time to read and to comment. I was aware that our daly writing challenge was for a three parter thus the read on aspect at the end. Of course I will read your work I have more time this week.

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