A lesson in unconditional love through the unexpected.
Most families go to the hospital for the birth of their baby and will leave with that precious new little bundle of joy. But, this is not the case for every family. Sometimes bad things happen to good people - sometimes families experience infant loss. I have worked along side some of the strongest labor and delivery nurses in this town and have had to be the one assisting in a delivery of a baby that would not get to know life with his or her mother and father and had to help families grieve during this tragic time. It never gets easier to be in this position as a nurse, but recently I had the privilege to hear this story written by Fallon Guidry a labor and delivery nurse at Lafayette General Medical Center. This is her story of a family she cared for and with their permission, allowed Fallon to share it with the world. - KW
On Wednesday, August 15, 2012, a co-worker asked if I could work that Friday for her. Since I had no prior engagements, I agreed to work for her without hesitation. Little did I know, that decision would forever change my career as well as my personal life.
Once the schedule change was made, I volunteered to be the nurse for all scheduled c-sections that day. Some people say it was coincidental that I did sections that day. On the other hand, I believe I was meant to be there that day in the operating room. Upon arriving to work Friday morning, I met up with one of my friends in the waiting room (before I even made it to the nurse's station). She informed me that one of her friends was having a c-section that morning. After explaining to her I actually was going to be doing c-sections today, she informed me that they didn't know if her baby would survive.
I was perplexed and assured her I would take good care of her and hurried to the nurse's station to receive report.
It was then that I realized her sweet baby was diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta type 2. Unfortunately, this condition carried a very poor prognosis and babies are not able to survive once delivered. My heart instantly broke. I knew I would do everything in my power to make this as easy as it could possible be for them. I'm a woman of science - I'm very gracious that I have a strong knowledge base in the field of obstetrics and can apply this knowledge to take care of expectant mothers. I'm also a woman of faith - and I know my skills and the care I provide can only go so far and then God steps in and His will always reigns supreme.
We delivered sweet baby Braxton on August 17, 2012. He had the cutest face with long eyelashes, and an equally beautiful cry. I was so happy his mother was able to hear his cry. It was the one thing I promised her: that I would try everything to let her hear his cry - even if it was only once. I remember him crying on cue when his daddy read him a story in recovery. Braxton lived seven amazing hours surrounded by all of his family and friends. I've never seen so much love in one room before. I wanted SO MUCH for them to bring their baby home. I prayed for a miracle. Words cannot describe the agony I felt when I put the stethoscope to his chest and no longer heard his heart beat.
I felt defeated. I felt like I failed because I wanted to save him so badly.
Braxton's mommy and daddy stayed up almost all night Friday night holding their baby, who at that time, had gained his angel wings. I worked again the next day. After lunch, the family notified me that they were ready for me to take Braxton for the funeral home to come pick him up. It was by FAR one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. I'll never forget the look in his parents' eyes. I knew that the deepest parts of their heart and soul were experiencing the most intense anguish imaginable when I heard their cry. I cried while walking out of the room, down the hallway, and somehow managed to make it into the equipment room with him in the bassinet before I broke down.
I collapsed to the floor and cried so incredibly hard. All I kept thinking was I shouldn't have to take a child away from a parent under these circumstances - no one should. I'll never forget the emptiness, grief, and sorrow I experienced that day. It still hurts to think of that day. Despite the extreme sadness surrounding his birth into heaven, I learned so much about life. He showed me how to care for someone like I care for my own family without even knowing them. He showed me what compassion truly means. He taught me the significance of every second. He taught me how precious a baby's cry truly is. But most of all, Braxton taught me the importance of family, friends, and unconditional love.
Even though his beloved little feet never touched the ground at all, he forever left an imprint on my heart.
Fallon Guidry, RN-C is from Breaux Bridge and has been a labor and delivery nurse at LGMC for 4 years. She was inspired to become a nurse by her great grandmother who was her town's unofficial midwife in the 1930s. She also serves as the perinatal bereavement coordinator and assists families in the grieving process of fetal and infant loss. She's often a shoulder to cry on but says, "I learn something new about life and the world with each family and baby I take care of." She also assists with a monthly support group called "Lullabyes" for addition outpatient support at no cost to families in need.
Photo by: Stephanie LeBlanc
Fallon Guirdy, RN-C and her husband Logan