I rarely blog about work because with HIPAA I do not want to be in violation and potentially lose my job. However I feel this subject will be safe because it really has nothing to do with a specific patient of circumstance. A little over seventeen years ago my nephew was born and it was apparent he would not survive so the decision was made to take him off of life support and have his parents hold him until he passed. I was there and it was the most difficult thing I had ever been through. Prior to this I had worked in the burn unit and been with my patients when this was done. I thought it was easier because there was no hope, however I discovered that although your head knows it’s the right thing to do, your heart is broken into a million pieces. After this happened my sister-in-law was transferred from the mother/baby floor to the gynecology floor. I had been thinking about leaving the burn unit for a few months and after visiting her there I knew it was time to transfer.
Mercy Heartprints is a program for families who experience the loss of a baby through miscarriage, ectopic, stillbirth or neonatal death. It is run by a wonderful lady who has been in charge for longer than I have worked on Women’s Health. (At some point the name of our floor was changed from Gynecology to Women’s Health but I cannot remember when.) We have an open visitation policy so if the mom wants to see her baby again before she leaves, we do that for her. I remember when I was in my labor and delivery rotation and our instructor called us in to see a twenty week loss. She was touching the baby and I remember thinking that I would NEVER touch a dead baby. See how that word bites me every single time I use it. Sadly, I have touched more than I ever could have imagined. I used the word sad because every baby is a loss for a family.
Most people wonder why and how I can do this and there are two reasons for this. One, if I could go back in time and hold my nephew even though he had passed I would. I do not want any of my patients to ever have that feeling. Two, I know it is the last time they will see their baby until they themselves die and go to Heaven. For those of you who are wondering we do indeed warm, dress, and wrap the babies in blankets. All of this is then given to the parents to keep.
My mom taught me how to crochet when I was really young. I’m thinking maybe eight or so. I even made clothes for my sisters Barbie dolls. I never played with those stupid things. Shocking I know. I always wanted to learn how to do granny squares but no one I knew could make them. I bought a book with the instructions but I might as well have been reading Chinese. So when I had Emily, an aunt made her a granny square blanket. It was beautiful and I will always treasure it.
Brian took this photo all on his own when Emily was three days old. You can see the blanket in the picture. Finally about a year ago, I thought I bet there are You Tube videos on how to do granny squares. Sure enough there was and I finally was able to do make them and then the Chinese directions actually made sense. So I started a pinkish one and then the girl who does my hair was having a baby so I made one for her but she was having a boy so I had to switch yarn colors. Then my other friend was pregnant again with number eleven and I was convinced she was having a boy so I made another blue one. However, about a month before she was to deliver I decided to finish the pink one just in case. When she texted me she had a girl I believe my response was “OMG! It’s a good thing I have a back up plan.” I have since made about three more blankets for other friends that are expecting. I ran out of people to make them for so I decided I would make them for the Heartprint patients. Since most of the time those babies are smaller, I only use one skein of yarn for each blanket. Hobby Lobby has a brand of yarn called I Love This Yarn and all of the colors are amazing. I have currently made twenty blankets (I have been asked if I think I am OCD. That answer is you better believe it) and I see no end in sight. I have a lot of solid colors from past projects so I am doing a solid and then a fun multi-colored one. I feel that if just one blanket brings one mom some comfort and peace knowing her baby was recognized then it is worth making a thousand. My husband did ask how much i was charging for them. I said they are gifts to the Heartprint program. He asked me how I am ever going to get rich. I said giving them away makes me richer than Bill Gates.
Mole Moral ~ Often in this world, we never know how one-act of kindness can make a difference to just one person.