Faith recommends the following next steps:
I'm not in the medical field, but, I would hope that when a baby passes away during delivery that it would be cleaned up, wrapped in a blanket, and given to the mother to hold, if she so chooses. Losing a child is a very traumatic experience. Hopefully the hospital has grief counselors. But, they won't be in the delivery room. At one time or another, if it's your job or not, you will find yourself in a position of having to provide emotional support. I was a police officer, at the airport, and stood by many times with a stranger whose loved one was receiving what would hopefully be lifesaving care.
I doubt this answers your question, but, I hope it gives you something to think about. No matter what we do or where we are, we are human beings first and foremost, and need to treat others with dignity and compassion.
Palliative and End-of-Life care is the role and responsibility of labor and delivery nurses and midwives (roles in perinatal nursing) (ANA, 2016). Even though we would like to believe perinatal nursing includes only the birth of life, this is not the reality of the specialty or human beings.
Palliative care provides the opportunity to improve “…the quality of life of patients and that of their families who are facing challenges associated with life-threatening illness, whether physical, psychological, social, or spiritual…” (Palliative Care, 2022). End-of-Life care is care for the patient and family when death is near (ANA, 2016). End-of-Life and palliative care is a specialty in itself, and perinatal nurses need to be competent in the care of patients and families during this special time.
I am honored to have worked with families during palliative and end of life care.
The care includes the opportunity to listen, hold hands, cry, discuss feelings of blame, the future, honoring the baby, acknowledgement that a future baby does not replace the baby who died, learning to know how and what to communicate, parents setting boundaries, wrapping / dressing the baby, and taking pictures (if parents would like). The care also includes caring for one’s own grief as a nurse and colleague healthcare professionals’ grief. Many are impacted by the death of a baby.
The experience is tough and may make one doubt choosing L&D and/or thankful for being present to support parents, family and colleagues.
You decide and you can change your mind even after entering the specialty.
I did not change my mind; I knew it was part of being present to care for families.
Nurses’ Role and Responsibilities in Providing Care and Support at the End of Life (2016). American Nurses Association Position Statement.
Website link: https://www.nursingworld.org/~4af078/globalassets/docs/ana/ethics/endoflife-positionstatement.pdf
Palliative care (2020). World Health Organization.
Crawford A, Hopkin A, Rindler M, Johnson E, Clark L, Rothwell E. Women's Experiences With Palliative Care During Pregnancy. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2021 Jul;50(4):402-411. doi: 10.1016/j.jogn.2021.02.009. Epub 2021 Mar 26. PMID: 33775641; PMCID: PMC8286290.
Link to abstract of article: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33775641/
Cheri Van Hoover, CNM, MS and Lisa Holt, RN, MSN, MS
Midwifing the End of Life: Expanding the Scope of Modern Midwifery Practice to Reclaim Palliative Care
Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health 2016; 61(3):306?314
Link to article: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27148997/