Ok HOW DO YOU DO IT? HOW?

  1. I can't get into great detail, for obvious reasons, but let me say this much...we had a tragic death on my shift at work (labor/delivery)......tragic. It was a baby. No, I am in no way liable....it was a situation out of our control........it's not even my patient. I was just involved in NRP efforts and recovery of the mother, helping out in a crisis, you may say.

    I always thought I was strong, but this has shaken me to my core. I don't know if I can go back, ya'll. I just don't know if I can do it. This particular situation is horrendous to me and Yes, I have been involved in tragic situations in OB before.....but....

    I am giving serious thought to concentrating on getting my BSN and trying to go into research or something like that. I can't get the images of this whole thing out of my mind...My husband and friends and coworkers say not to let this shake me up. That I can and will handle it. That I am gifted in OB nursing. (I wonder)...I am just not sure. I just don't know what to do.

    So how do you do it? Find the courage and where-with-all to face it and "get back on the horse" when you have fallen? To be therapeutic and effective for your patients after something so dramatic and tragic happens? I have not a clue. All I know is I feel disorganized...scattered...shattered...shaken..... Ok enough of me. I need wisdom; anyone care to help me? Any ideas? Anyone who has been there have pearls to share? I would appreciate ANY POSITIVE feedback...please nothing negative or flaming. I can't take it. I have personally lost two babies myself this year and now, this shift.....I am really on the edge. TIA~~deb
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  2. 44 Comments

  3. by   shygirl
    I'm not sure that I can be much help. I work geriatrics and by the time my patients leave this earth, they have lived their lives. A baby never gets this chance. You just have to understand that a power higher than yourself is involved and there is nothing else that you can do. You can pray that the Good Lord takes this baby and pray for the grieving famuily.
    Shygirl
  4. by   LasVegasRN
    Debbie, I wish there was something I could say, but I can't. I was one of those who decided in nursing school that I couldn't do peds or OB. Just too painful.

    I hope things get better, but whatever you decide, we will support you!
  5. by   l.rae
    (((((((DEB))))))...l am not an OB nurse, but l can relate to tragic and untimely deaths of the young from my ER experience.....A couple of years ago we had a viable pt...(40 something) lost her when an intubation went bad...don't want to share anymore details for same reasons....we have had several infant deaths, and some teens...so l can relate....and l don't know how l do it...well l do kind of...l find tremendous strength in my faith...You say you are gifted in your specialty.....please find some comfort that your gift and calling is desperatly needed and makes a difference, even in these sad situations...please take care of yourself and decompress....here or anywhere or anyone who will listen.......feel free to pm me if you feel the need to discuss anything you don't feel comfortable discussing on the board.....God bless.......LR
  6. by   Stargazer
    I think some deaths just hit us harder than others, for a variety of reasons. We identify with the pt or the family, we're feeling especially vulnerable because of something going on in our personal lives, we get hit with several in a row, or it's just so unexpected that you don't have time to mentally prepare yourself for it.

    I think you need to be kind to yourself, give yourself permission to grieve for this baby and family, and give yourself a little space to sort it out before you make any big decisions. Do you have any time off coming? Do you have the option of being assigned to Postpartum or the nursery for a week or two?

    I'm sorry this was so hard and painful for you. You know there's support here, whatever you need and whatever you decide to do. Hugs.
  7. by   dianah
    Sounds like you've been traumatized, and may need professional help to work thru this. Can/will you see a chaplain? Counselor (provided by the hospital for such times as these)? Perhaps someone who helped folks de-fuse after 9/11? Don't know how your facility is set up for such things. Some places have an assigned person/team for the staff, for just such times of need. Please check into it. Perhaps check into having a post-event de-briefing (in your interest and that of your colleagues, who may be experiencing something similar, -- you could ostensibly say it would be for QA or something: post-event assessment to help future events go more smoothly -- and then the meeting would probably evolve into something therapeutic for all . . .). Please talk about this with your fellow nurses who were involved as well. They probably need you as much as you need them. It is probably because you are so "gifted" that you feel this so intensely. Time does have a way of smoothing the rough edges that cut and hurt so much now. Let us know what happens and how you're doing, what you decide, etc. Thanks for sharing. Hugs to you. -- Diana
  8. by   nursegoodguy
    Of course it's going to affect you... allow yourself the time you need to grieve for yourself...
    How can we not be affected... You go through so many emotions as a nurse... You have to wonder how we go on...
    I have a fear too... it's not about a death upsetting me... it's more that it will cease to affect me... We had a death a few weeks ago and one of the new techs was obviously upset and a more experienced person said to her, "Oh you'll get use to it..." I told that new tech that it was ok to feel sadness...Something what helps me, (and maybe it's just a cop out) but I think to myself that the spirit is going on somewhere else... even though sometimes I wonder and am not sure what or where that place is and that it doesn't make any sense, I know that when my turn comes I will be reunited with so many souls that I have sat with as they took their last breath as well as souls that my physical body was no where around when they took their last breath! It will all make sense then... but until that time comes, I have to keep doing that which my heart tells me to do...
    So tomorrow my alarm will go off at 4:45 AM and I'll hit the snooze til about 5:30 and then I'll come in here and check on my friends... gotta make sure they are all ok before I get ready for work... And then I'll head out for my first of two doubles... Lucy will be asking for her medication before I even get my jacket off and Ellen will be coming out her door too!
    We keep doing that which our heart tells us to do...
  9. by   nursegoodguy
    Wow! Just had to say I thought I was going to be the first post to your thread and by the time I finished... Well... See how many people worry about you and love you...
  10. by   SmilingBluEyes
    that so many have replied so far when i only just posted this 30 min ago really, really uplifts me. more than you guys know. i truly am in hell over this, you just dont' know. or, maybe, really, you DO. you guys are wonderful. thank you for caring.
  11. by   hoolahan
    I agree blue eyes, you need to talk with a professional. How about the EAP? You get like 6 free counseling sessions usually.

    To be completely honest, I couldn't do it anymore. I bailed on peds after I got so attached to a beautiful child, and then lost her after 7 weeks of TLC in our ICU. I hung in for a little while, but finally said, "It just hurts too much."

    I personally felt like the weight of the world was off my shoulders when I left peds ICU. Just so you know, if you take another path, you are NOT a failure!!! I think I was just too sensitive. It can be a curse sometimes.

    I can suggest two books that helped me. A window to heaven, by Diane Komp ( http://www.amazon.com ) and Embraced by the Light by Betty Eadie. It may sound hokie, but the first book, really truly helped me, just so you know it has a Christian theme, but you don't have to be a practicing Christian to appreciate it.

    There is nothing wrong with being human. {{{{{{{Deb}}}}}}}
    Last edit by hoolahan on Dec 1, '02
  12. by   live4today
    Deb ((((((((((((lots and lots of heartfelt hugs to you tonight)))))))))
    I don't know what to say other than I care, and am here for you if you need to vent privately. Much love, Renee :kiss
  13. by   babynurselsa
    ohh man Deb. I am so sorry. Been there and know how tough it is. If you wanna talk msg me.
    Love you girl.
  14. by   sbic56
    Oh, I know how this sticks with you. It's the last thing you think of before you go to sleep and the first thing on your mind when you wake up for days. I was similarly effected by one particular infant death about a year ago. She came in for a routine induction and the baby was gone...cord accident. It still haunts me. This awful reality truly is the hardest part of our job! There are no answers that can explain away why it happens. Nothing makes it easier. Time lessens the effect on you, but nothing will make it easy to take and nothing will prepare you for the next time it happens.
    But, if not you doing the resusitation, if not you at the bedside, there for the parents as they grieve, then who? You are the best one for the job. You are because you do care so much. You were an important part of this babes short life and an important part of this terrible experience that mom and dad have had to endure. Yes, it is so painful, but you made a huge difference just being there and doing your job to the best of your ability. It isn't like riding a horse; you won't get right back on and ride, not to worry again. You are a human of the kindest and most giving breed. OB nurses ROCK like that...

    Keep on talking about it
    Cry as you need to
    Be very good to yourself

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