Ghosts Of The Past

A tricky job to write up as it touches on a ‘thing’ that has squatted in the back of my head for some time.  Something I thought I dealt with years ago, but obviously haven’t.  My mum will read this and I don’t think it’s something I’ve ever really talked to her about, but I asked her if I could write this, and she agreed.

We were stuck in traffic on our way to someone with a headache.  It was a ‘Green’ call so we didn’t need lights and sirens, we just had to trundle there, pick up the twenty year old and trundle into hospital.  It’s a nice easy job and gets us a bit closer to the end of the shift.

Then we heard Control asking if there were any free ambulances to attend to a female who was giving birth, the nasty bit was that the woman was only 26 weeks pregnant.  Control told everyone that the babies head was visible.  We called up and mentioned that we were on a low priority job and if they wanted to send us we would quite happily go.

A crew was already on their way and as the information came in that the woman has just given birth we were dispatched as a second crew to help out.  If she has given birth to such a premature baby, then every hand can help.

We were on the other end of our patch and the daytime traffic was hectic, but I drove like a demon and we were soon there.  The job was at the top of a block of flats so we grabbed our kit, jumped in the lift and made our way to the right floor.

The doors of the lift opened and standing there was one of my mates with a tiny baby in his hands.  It wasn’t breathing.

“Do you want the baby or the mother?”, he asked.

“Give us the baby, we’ll run with it”, I answered.  With that he handed us the baby and the lift doors closed.

We were met downstairs by the father who had ran down the stairs, so we rushed out to the ambulance to ‘scoop and run’, to get this baby to the hospital as quickly as possible.  All I could look at was how tiny the baby was, it looked like the baby birds that you sometimes find fallen from the nest.  It’s arms were like matchsticks, it was covered with blood and there were no signs of life.  My mate was in the back doing trying to resuscitate the baby while I drove us the, thankfully short, distance to the hospital.

We got to the hospital and the doctors there tried their best, but inevitably the baby was declared dead soon after we got there.

It turned out that the woman, while believing that she was 26 weeks pregnant, was only 20 weeks pregnant, so the baby didn’t stand any chance at all.


This job shook me up because I believed that it had a chance.

I was less than a year old when my mother gave birth to my brother Mark, he was premature at 23 weeks gestation.  Survival rates for child at that age today are around 17%, back then in the 1970’s it was much lower.  After a few days of life my brother died.

I thought that it was something that I had put behind me many years ago, that I had a brother I’d never met, who’s grave I’ve never seen.  It’s not something that we talked about much as it still pains my mum to think about it.  Some years ago, for no reason, I started wondering what he would have been like if he had survived.  I long thought I’d put those thoughts behind me, but looking at a child that I thought was 26 weeks gestation brought those memories flooding back.  I wondered if that had been what Mark had looked like.

At the hospital there was an officer – he told us to return to station to have a cup of tea and a ‘de-stress’ and to return to work when we felt able, also that if we wanted to talk, he’d be around to listen.

A cup of tea helped, and I felt able to keep working after a little sit-down.  But now, as I write this, I can feel the sadness in my chest – not for the child that never had a chance at life, but for the brother that I never met.

Once more this blog turns into therapy.

49 thoughts on “Ghosts Of The Past”

  1. Thanks Batsgirl – I think what you're saying might apply to J, but it's not quite what I meant. I know when I was younger (say 10) I went on at my parents about how all my friends had siblings and I didn't, before I knew mum had lost a baby. Of course they wouldn't have based their decisions on what I as a toddler wanted, and I don't think I cared one way or the other about siblings when it happened – but my moaning later on (when I knew mum was a bit old to have any more kids anyway) must have reminded them of their loss. I really do hate being an only child still – I never feel I can be good enough to be the only representative of my very intelligent parents. Not that my parents have ever said that. Hence why I'm now struggling through a science PhD (my dad has one)- anyway that's off topic. Apologies!

  2. I truely sympathise with your situation. I'm the only surviving child out of four – one was a still born, one a cot death and one was nearly 1 year old when he died of a syndrom he was born with. I only knew 1 of my brothers and I was only 4 when he died – long ago you would think to be a distant memory. I am new to the ambulance service and these senarios are the ones I am dreading most. I hope I can be more understanding at the time and remember the 4 year old looking on from the corner who mustn't be ignored.I find your blogs an inspiration and a great help in my early days! Keep up the good work.

  3. Thank you and everyone involved for doing what you could for that child – it must have been harrowing.I am also sorry to hear about your brother. No matter how long ago the loss, it never truly goes away. You and your family have my sympathy.

    My mum a boy relatively late (16-18 weeks) when I was 14 and she lost another boy around 20 weeks (related to the previously mentioned abuse) when I was the same age as you were. I do wonder, as well, what they would have been like. It's a different kind of loss from losing someone you already know because you don't have the memories to work from, just longings that you can do nothing resolve. The difference, I think, is that I was able to see (briefly) my tiny brother when I was 14. That, combined with him being slightly younger, helped, I think. I already knew that there was no chance for him to survive, but being able to see him and have at least one memory helped at least with the lack of memories. I think that is one of the harder aspects.

    I wish I could give you some advice on dealing with it – but it appears that every time that I believe I've dealt with something, perhaps many years beforehand, it occasionally pops up and rears its head again in response to a situation. It doesn't necessarily mean you haven't dealt with it, to the best of you abilities. It simply means that you've been reminded in some way about an issue in your life. In this case, however, I suspect that you were always going to be affected because of the case – you've noted before how babies and children particularly are likely to affect you, and in this case it touched a nerve on a subject you are already thinking of (albeit in the back of your mind). If you hadn't have lost a brother, I would imagine this would still have been a rough call for you.

    I wish I could give you some better advice, Tom. I feel kind of frustrated that I've been through the same thing twice, and I can't give you any practical advice on easing the sadness and “unresolved”ness.

  4. Ghosts from the past come often, in this job, and when they come they hit very hard.In Lombardy (Northern Italy), ambulance crews are formed of 3 EMT-Bs or EMT-Ds: driver, crew leader and “third”. In most Services, an examination is required to pass from “third” to leader. A couple of months after my mother died of pulmonary embolia at the age of 47, I passed that examination.

    It's impossible to forget my first shift as a crew leader. On the first call, I got to a 47 year-old lady, who killed herself, by hanging with her dog leash at the upper handle of her house door.

    I didn't have much to do, but to deck her with a blanket.

    Fate teaches you these terrible things: someone who wants to live, can't and who can live on, doesn't want to.

    As a friend of mine is used to say… “Life is tough: you can't get out alive!”

  5. I don't know what to say. There are things, in this world, that no amount of tea, hugs and warm wishes will cure… though the pain does lessen, a little, over time.Thank you for what you do, Tom. Imagine how important it was, for those parents, to know you did everything you could.Elly

  6. Its a tough job ours, especially when issues are strongly linked to our own pasts. I have had 7 of these jobs within the last 9 months, which is so unlucky, but over all about 15 in total within the last 4 years of employment as a 40 year old female EMT. Its not like these jobs are given with our names on them, they are given very randomly. I didnt have adequate counselling after every job, I was told to have a cuppa tea and take my time getting back on the road after every job, which I did. Once or twice I was stood down and sent home, but it was not enough.Then one morning I felt good the sun was shining , it was one week after my 7th (25 week gestation prem delivery/death) I had just started an early shift when I was hit from behind at force in the FRU car while stationary, engine was off, about to grab gloves and go to a call. This smashed the rear of the car and sent me flying into the dash board, this is when I cracked and all the visions of all the dead babies I had worked on flooded my brain in one go, my own past experiences and current situations merged in to one at that point.

    It was then noted that due to our turn around of DSOs and Team leaders no one had noticed the amount of baby deaths Id attended, (at times on my own of periods of time while awaiting an ambulance), during the year. I was sent home on sick leave and only then given counselling with the service. The councillor was amazing, but it was all a bit too late. I have now left the job. I advise you take advantage of this counselling service.

    Best Wishes for you today.

  7. There but for the grace of God, go I. My son was born at 29 weeks after my wife suffered a sudden and massive rise in her blood pressure and had an eclamptic fit! The ambulance crew were brilliant, as were all of the doctors and nurses in the maternity suite and SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit)….Because of people like you and your colleagues my wife and child survived – He is now four and I never have to wonder “what if”.

  8. When I was born, the doctors discovered that I had a – dead – twin brother, who had not survived beyond about 5 months. My parents had had no idea that my mum was carrying twins. I didn't find this out until about 10 years ago, when I had my first son, and maybe this is wishful thinking, but a great deal of childhood 'loneliness' (I have 2 younger siblings) fell into place. I find now that I get emotional thinking about what might have been, and I am convinced that two babies cannot grow next to each other for 5 months without there being some sort of 'connection'. Take care of yourself Reynolds – the NHS needs guys like you. (Sorry for the essay.)

  9. Use us for therapy, it's what we're here for! Big hugs to you and all your family xMy 'what if' is weird – my mum was prem (in the fifties, when chances were even lower), so it's a question of 'what if I never existed?'!!!

  10. I can relate to that Tom I had 2 brothers I never met one still born whos grave I cannot find, and one who lived for 8 weeks, and when I found his last resting place I cried and I often wounder what it would be like to have a big and little brothers,Jill

  11. That must have hurt. Or, at least, been felt. I truly feel for you, because my mum lost a brother to cot death and every headline about smoking/vaccination/mattresses/blah – and cot death – I flinch, I think of him. And of her, grieving with a broken heart.He'd have been in his forties by now.

    Thank you for writing this, and making me feel not alone in thinking about him, and thank you for rushing that child to care as fast as possible.

    All I can say is, I can be a bit of an 4rse and not perfect but I wish I could help take away that sadness, for you or anyone on earth, and I hope you know that since you speak in a public place many people care for you, and recognise that this job you do is laudable, and is often painful.

    Respect.

  12. Bloody hell. I wish I could hug you, or just do something that says I acknowledge that rawness. Your post has had me sat here blinking tears of respect and acknowledgement, for 10 minutes.I hope you – I don't know, I hope you find something that heals, or helps, or does whatever you may want.

    I cannot imagine your pain – I can just about see the outlines, and they devastate me. I cannot imagine being strong enough to cope with being you, in your job, with those experiences.

    I cannot imagine, but I do of course feel the natural human compassion and wish I could help, but I can't – so please take my good wishes for you and that's all I can offer in this medium. I so wish I could offer more.

    But I know that you are strong enough that anything a wimp like me offered would be groundbait. 's all I have to say.

  13. As an fellow Ambulance Technician this is my worst nightmare I hate going to pregnant women, with some people it's eyes, others it's fingers or jobs involing ladders. Me It's women in labour there's no rhyme or reason for it I just dont want to be there, I really have to fight the urge to run away, I take my hat off to you, Tom, for volunteering to accept the job. I've been to six births now, one was twins, all mothers and babies were fine and it's never as bad as I think it's going to be, but “The Fear” never gets any better. My mum had a miscarriage when I was about 8, in the early 70s. I was never told, untill years later, why she had been in hospital. I think I figured it out by piecing together snippets of veiled conversations that I wasn't ment to hear or understand. Then at some point my mum talked to me about it. I offten wonder if I would have had another wee sister of a wee brother and what they would have been like. This is not something you will ever get over, I think it would be sad if you did Tom, but you learn to live with it.

  14. Well what can you say – Firstly WELL DONE for doing your best, firstly for that poor little baby, but also for it's family, they will be eternaly grateful for you doing all you can for them all!life in the service is like roller coaster, ups and downs for one's emotions. For completely different reasons we all know how you feel. Every job we go to could easily pull any of our heart strings from our own personal experiances outside of work! However, it is our life's experiances that makes us all so receptive to people's needs and emotions at the worst times of life!

    And if Blog'n is a coping mechanism – go for it – you've done great so far!

    PS… read the book this week – very good! And so funny that I've got all of those patients where I work too! LOL

  15. It's a nice idea but kind of reckless considering the number of trolls there are who delight in having a go at people who are at a vulnerable point in their lives and blogging for “therapy” because it's only the internet and therefore not real.

  16. And once again I am moved by the sensitivity and care shown by the people who post here. It makes the world seem a little brighter knowing that there are folk out there who actually care about other people (even relative strangers).Someone who works as an EMT/Para surely must do it for the love of the job. They have to, because there is no way that you are paid enough to deal with the trauma and abuse that you face on a daily basis. Ditto related health care workers. I take my hat off to all of you because so many people just don't appreciate it, though a smile and a friendly face can make all the difference. I try to ensure that every person that I meet who treats me well gets a thank you personally and to their supervisor if they've been especially helpful. It's surely got to make a difference to them, too, getting a compliment rather than a complaint for once!

  17. As I am sure that you realise, there are a lot of us out here that read your blog for whom this will have touched a nerve. I was in your mum's position myself.My heart goes out to this family, and to you guys who dealt with it. Like you tried to do for this family, the medical staff that dealt with me were fantastic, so thanks for what you do. And please give your mum a big hug from me too.Best wishes

  18. with some people it's eyes, others it's fingers or jobs involing laddersIs this a “grossed out” type of reaction (everyone has a gross-out factor) or down to other (eg: medical management or gut/emotional reaction) factors?

    If it's the former, then *shudder* fingers, definitely. I have to say, I'm rather relieved to find I'm not the only one who has a problem with fingers. Only specific kinds of injury (crushed somehow) but it gives me the urge to, like you say, run screaming in the opposite direction. I've always had horrible visions of my fingers getting caught in sectional/sliding ladders or (for some reason) food processor blades. I can cope with most anything else, even hand injuries as long as the fingers are intact, but squashed fingers ick me out. Thankfully, no-one has to rely on me for more than first aid!

    On the other hand (no pun intended) eyes are fine, no matter how gross the injury – though my sister would disagree as she can't even use eye drops or contacts because she can't bear the thought of touching eyes.

  19. I believe in the philosphy that you are never truly dead until you are forgotten. My first child was stillborn at 39 weeks gestation and I shared his story with my next two children. It is something you never get over but you do find a way to live with the sadness. The fact that you remember him and think about him is a tribute to your brother and in some significant way he lives on. I send you and your Mum a hug.

  20. Somewhere out there I have a half sister I have never met (not quite the same, I know). I think about her sometimes and wonder “what if..”. I always wanted a sister.Reynolds, I hope the therapy works for you. Sometimes picking at scabs is a good thing.

  21. i work on a Neonatal Transfer team, and this is the one job that crews i work with, say they always dread.I have listened to crews after the event a few times now, to reassure them that they did the best possible, short of being born in a hospital

    there isn't much you can do, other than get to Hospital, but here are a few things that might help the outcome.

    ensure the baby has been dried with something, that discarded and then rewrapped in something dry (if thats possible), if its wet it will just make the baby even colder. ensure the head is covered

    whack the heating in the ambulance to max ( i know what you're going to say on that matter, i've used front line vehicles on transfers ) preferably as you run to the job

    if you can't bag and mask, give O2 from the side of the face rather than face on – it cools the baby even further.

    if you want to build on your skills with neonates, try an get on the nearest transfer team working with the ambulance service – BETS based at RLH have 6 month secondments for LAS Staff, SECAS have crews at Medway / St Peter's and Brighton

  22. i lost a baby at only 10 weeks gestation. it totally broke my heart. i was very lucky to have a great family doctor who, when i said “i can't understand why i feel so bad – it wasn't even a baby at that stage” said “what you have lost is not a bunch of cells but the whole life you had imagined for the baby – all the way to it growing up and having children”. it is the lost lives that we feel.i was lucky as my son was conceived very soon after and i found i was pregnant with him in the week the baby would have been born. and my son is so special that it takes away the sting of it all.

    i hope you feel less sore about this soon but maybe it is part of you to miss your brother. it makes you much better at the job you do even if it hurts like hell…

  23. aw Tom, great gentle hugs from me.I am lucky, my 17 yr old daughter was born at 24 weeks,

    just 1lb 12oz.

    forever gratefull to the Ipswich hospital.

    have had a few trips since with wonderfull ambulance crews.

    the last one being a misscarriage for me.

    don't know how you cope, but i sure am glad i found this site,

    thanks to Radio Kent.

    your book is on my xmas list.

    please keep up the good work.

    my love and respect to you and all your colleages.

    xx

  24. That's a tough job. I can't even imagine, since I have no frame of reference. Just keep talking to anyone who'll listen, enjoy the gift of life every day and don't lose your passion for what you do best. It's the 21st century now, so men can hug. *Hug*.

  25. I always say that they day that a tragedy doesn't affect me then its time to quit. My partner and I had a call where a woman had miscarried (at about 22 weeks gestation) after sniffing lacquer and in her stoned state had no idea what had happened and could not comprehend that she had just lost her child. I was furious with the mother for her bahviour and frustrated that I could not do anything to help the baby. I'm in my child bearing years and it was like a sick slap in the face -reminding me that I do not have children and people who are pregnant are abusing theior bodies so freely. I think we all have our triggers- wether we admit to them or not- its just our ability to deal with them. If we can work through our feelings with a pot of coffee and an entry in a journal or a jog on the treadmilll etc etc and show up for our next 12 hours, then they are just another bad day to add to the pile- instead of a career ending trauma.

  26. I was one of twins, but I was born nine week's early (this was back in 1973). I survived and my twin didn't. I often wonder what life would have been like if both of us had survived.Thank you for doing everything you could for the baby.

  27. This sounds familiar..Tom/Brian, I have no words but once again I am touched by the sensitivity and care you show. My heart goes out to you and your mum.

  28. That's a terrible thing to happen to anyone, it really is and it's only natural to wonder what things would be like now if your brother hadn't died. Never forget though, it's people like you and your collegue who stop many women from going through what your mum and the lady with the 20 week old baby go through and that's what counts. There are a lot of premature children and adults walking around today thanks to paramedics/Ambulance technicians.

  29. Just to let you know a virtual hug is on your way to you. It's opened up some bittersweet memories for me too. Apologies in advance for sharing them on your space.Mum had me at 42 and subsequently had 3 miscarriages. When I was 3 we fostered a little girl, who was my adored little sister for 3 years. Her family took her back, then disappeared, when my parent used the word adoption. Can of worms as have since been informed that the miscarriages and unhappy marriage were my fault (only stayed with him because of you, and YOU wanted a sibling). Always think of MY sister though, wondering how & where she is. In the long run it's better she left as my most abiding memory is of her scrubbing at her arm in the bath complaining that the dirt wouldn't come off – she is/was of West African origins and mother dearest was a missionary who's still very proud of the empire civilising the savages! Her words,not mine.. Strangely it's the wondering that gnaws at me, rather than the loss – a sort of shit happens, now deal with it philosophy (and I apply it more to me than others, so hope that didn't sound callous). On a happier note to echo Angus Prune – my Dad was born at less than 2lbs back the early thirties – low oven of the range acted as incubator for him and his bigger twin.

    You did everything you could, and despite male ego (though yours doesn't seem overly inflated), you are not God. I hope the Mum does manage to have a healthy child, and it's good, though painful, that you and your Mum have been able to talk about it, and thank-you for expressing the 'what if' so well.

  30. It's been really interesting reading all the comments here – best wishes to everyone, especially Tom. I've never posted a comment before – set up an account specially. I'm 23 now, and when I was about 2 my mum had a miscarriage which I didn't find out about until I was a teenager. I just have vague memories of mum being away and dad finally giving in to my demands to be taken to McDonalds! I don't know how many weeks it was but I know that it was caused by an amniocentesis test that went wrong, which mum had to have because of her age (39) I'm an only child and always hated it, so I feel bad that maybe I pestered my parents lots for a sibling and didn't realise how much it must have hurt them. I often wonder what it would have been like to have a little sister – she was going to be called Laura. The amnio test was negative in the end – if only mum hadn't had it.

  31. Thought I'd add my little bit too – you did great Tom, despite how it affected you personally. For which thanks…My mum lost a newborn son 20 years ago this month and she has been thinking deeply about this – so this post has resonated quite deeply. We children were aware of this at the time as mum went away and we expected her to come home with a baby and she didn't. But we didn't know why and being very young soon got over it. She never did… although the arrival of our youngest sibling the following year helped a lot…

    When my mum (young, asian, newly married and arrived in this country back in the 70s) lost 3 babies one after the other (including twins) she found the greatest kindness was given to her, not by her husband, or in-laws, but by the Royal London hospital staff. She still remembers this kindness now.

    We talk about this topic occasionally, me and my younger 3 siblings, as the 'what if' in our case would have been me being the youngest of 4 children and not the oldest and the others not being born. I feel I would have made a better youngest child than eldest – the siblings will attest to that!.

  32. Many, many hugs sent from across the Pond. I am extremely fortunate to be a younger sister instead of an only child. Back in the mid 70's, my older sister was born at 22 weeks with a collapsed lung. She weighed less than 2 lbs. Because of the efforts of emergency and medical personnel like you, my sister lived and we've happily driven each other crazy for 20-some years. I've always known that my sister nearly died, but your post really brought home to me just how lucky we are that she survived.Thank you for all the hard work you do to try to save lives. It may not always work out, but sometimes you achieve the impossible and save people like my sister. Thank God there are people like you.

  33. You are a lovely open person, all your experiences must make you even better at your job and even more empathetic.Had your brother survived I am sure he would have loved you very much. I think that the people who read your blog have a big soft spot for you too, spose it's sort of a virtual friendship

  34. My son was born at 26 weeks gestation by emergency caesarian – I was told he had a 50/50 chance of survival and that was with delivery under controlled circumstances with a neonatal unit just down the hall. You did all you could in an imperfect situation Tom, it was a valiant attempt. I am touched that you care as much as you obviously do, one worries sometimes that those in the medical profession can be too clinical to see the tragedies for what they are.I can also relate to your sense of loss for the brother you never knew. My sister died in a motorcycle accident when she was 18 and I was 10. With that age difference we moved in totally separate orbits around the family home. I hardly knew her and can barely remember the things I did know about her. The older I get the more I miss her.

  35. mine is eyes, and associated with that, the idea of anything pointy going in or near them. I can put eye makeup on, even eyeliner if I have to, but only after making sure whoever is in the house knows that is what I am doing, and not to make me jump or even come into the room I am in.This is also the reason why, when I am using a biro, I don't put the cap on the other end – makes it too pointy and pointing at my face.

  36. Helen and J – I doubt if at the age of two or three your parents gave you everything you wanted just because you pestered for it – and almost 100% certainly not to the extent of deciding to have a baby, with all the stress and expense and so on that it involves, just because you as a toddler said you wanted one.Any “pestering” you may or may not have done at an age where you were only just learning to speak properly, would not have been a sole factor in your parents, as adults, making an active decision to try and add to their dependent family.

    They as adults and parents may have decided that they didn't want you to grow up an only child – but that was their adult decision and not your toddler decision.

    You did not do it and you are not responsible.

  37. That's true but when you are told “I only stayed in this marriage/did it because of you for *reason X*” then it's incredibly hard to erase that feeling of responsibility. Although, as an adult, they should be able to take responsibility for their own choices for some people it's easier to blame the innocent for their actions (or lack of them). Knowing that and believing it, however, are two different things.

  38. Thanks batsgirl and Ratchick, I know that now. I was always made responsible for Mum's emotional well-being, she's a very self-centered person. It didn't cause me too many problems until after I had my first child, then it was 'how the feck could she do that to a child', it was also then that she started 'needing' me, in competition with her grand-daughter. With impecable timing Dad died around the same time. The only way I found to cope, some years later after 2 bad PNDs, and after I heard her tell my daughter, by now 3, that it was a shame she had such a nasty bitch for a mother, was to cut her out of my life, cruel but my kids come first and I can only be a good Mum to them if I 'keep it together'. I do feel guilty for not looking out for her, but not for any of the crap she put onto me. I am now strong enough to contact her occasionally and the last 2 calls were, for the first time, without accusations and recriminations, so maybe, just maybe, old dogs can learn new tricks. Hope so as she's now quite poorly and I would like to be closer by the time she dies. Cripes have wittered on again, juist meant to say thanks for taking the time to batsgirl and Ratchick.

  39. I wish my mum could have found the same kind of strength to walk away when I was that age. It's hard cutting someone out of your life, but you have to do what is best for everyone. Sometimes that means you have to limit your contact with certain family members. Unlike friends, you can't choose them, but it's never easy.

  40. Smoochi thank you so very much for your kind words. This whole Ghosts of the past blog has helped me bring about closure in many ways. When I was off work sick earlier this year, the first book I read was Blood Sweat and Tea, I loved it up until page 98 Dead Babies especially reading the last line, I then threw it against the wall, thinking what does he know? Hes a bloke blah blahbut now after reading Toms most recent Ghost of the Past blog I think if you have ever asked a question regarding any sensitive matters, life has a funny old way of making you look at ghosts from your past, always when you least expect it but when the time is right to cope with it. I went along with all the baby jobs as normal, hiding behind my green uniform, then one job was ironically 10 years to the very day when I had miscarried, something Id chosen to forget, then the jobs kept coming and coming one after another, Miscarriage BBA-Resus ectI now believe that when you have taken part in a total strangers grief like this, then held in your hands a tiny soul who has not even drawn its first breath and its life is already over and everything you have done to help bring it back didnt work, questions are asked. But what I realised now is experiences such as these brings about necessary change. It makes people look hard at themselves, questioning beliefs, faiths, where they are at right now. It should bring people closer together, time and talking heals, this blog a great example. Its all part of our personal and human evolution.

    I now bless all those beautiful 7 babies from this profound year; I clearly remember all their tiny faces that looked like pure perfection. I bless the mothers and families for giving those incredible unforgettable experiences to me, thanks to them I am now making those desperately needed changes in my life and have fully come to terms with my own loss and feel much happier and clearer as a result.

  41. Finally, a fellow sufferer for this. There are many meetings at the office where I have to call a halt and ask someone to stop waving their biro around as my flesh is crawling and I'm about to scream. Thanks batsgirl, I feel less crazy about it now 🙂

  42. It's always a dilemma – balancing professionalism with compassion. Sadly many of my colleagues get it wrong. I trained as a nursery nurse and dealt with one such case with no worldly experience and any ability to empathise but followed everyone else's example and tried to remain professional throughout. It certainly left me feeling that I could have done so much better. Now I'm a student radiographer due to qualify next July. Ultrasound can be harrowing when the news is not good. I've seen fabulous communication skills from colleagues but not always joined to compassion. Some professionals seem to hide behind their starched exteriors when the patient just needs to know you are human too. It sounds like you managed the balance more than adequately despite your own demons.

  43. Tom, a few months ago I posted here when I'd had a paed resus that didnt make it. Your comforting words then were a great help. I hope that the comments made by others here have helped you this time around. I lost a brother who was 4 when i was 18 months, then lost a sister when I was four- her twin sister is now in her mid forties. None of my family, close or distant ever discussed it, there were no pictures of my brother ever to be seen in family albums, birthdays or anniversary of his death never celebrated.

    Your very powerful piece has had me thinking over the last few days why this was.

    I have no recollection of events surrounding my brother and sister and as I sit here I feel guilty as I have no emotional attachment to there loss or thoughts about how the family would have been if we'd all be still around today.

    On a lighter note, got your book as a birthday pressy last week. I'm sure it will be good but cant get it out of my dear ladies hands yet!!

  44. This post has haunted me for days. I knew I had to comment, but have no idea what to say. Myself, my sister, my mother, my son's future mother in law and HER mother have all given birth to very premature babies, who all died. You can imagine how over protective we will be when my son's fiancee gets pregnant.It is good that there are people like you out there, who really care, rather than dismissing the event as 'just' a miscarriage – and yes, that was said to me, just hours after my newborn baby died.

    thank you

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