I work in an Ob-gyn clinic so the death we witness here is the inutero death of a fetus. Previously, I worked as a labor and delivery nurse on the floor so my experience with death has not changed.
These experiences have shaped my view of death by making me clearly understand how miraculous life really is to be occur at all. Most people take for granted that once they are pregnant that they are going to continue their pregnancy to f healthy full term pregnancy and become parents. There are so many unknown variables involved in a pregnancy that it is mind boggling.
It is truly the absolute worst feeling in the world when an expectant mother comes in for her routine check up close to the end of her uncomplicated pregnancy and we discover a deafening silence in her womb instead of an expected heartbeat. This can occur in a matter of a day between check ups and is a horrible experience for anyone involved. I have experienced this heartbreaking situation many times and it never gets any easier.
I understand that death inutero usually happens for a diagnosable reason, but there are also times where we have found absolutely no reason at all for the death and that is hard to explain to any grieving mother and family. What compounds this situation, is the mother still has to deliver this baby who has died, so she is now going through the entire laboring process to deliver a perfect appearing baby and then bury it. Truly heartbreaking. It’s those moments where the only thing I can do, as a nurse, a woman, and a mother, is sit by and pray and cry with my patients
I have only witnessed death a couple of times at work. I have worked with hospice patients that visit the doctor’s office and these have been about comfort. Since I am a float in the clinic setting, I do not come across much death. I did when I worked on the medical floor; there, acceptance of the death depended more on if it was expected or not. I think that when we know death is going to occur it is easier to accept and come to terms with. When death is not expected it can be harder because of the sudden loss. I do not think that the lack of experience at work has shaped my view on death because I have dealt with it personally.
I think that I handle death fairly well because I grew up with death being a natural part of life. As we grew up on the farm it was normal to lose animals. We also have a very large extended family and we went to funerals fairly regularly. While others have viewed that as wrong or depressing to have children go to funerals, it was never viewed that way by my family because it was a part of life and we celebrated that life. I have not shielded my children from death either. My sister-in-law and I have different views on this; I accept her decision, she does accept not mine. She was upset when we brought our children to the first funeral on my husband’s side of the family but it was very natural to me. Death is only one step in life and should not be feared.