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Mom Pens Touching Letter to the Nurses Who Took Care of Her When Her Baby Was Stillborn

“Your skills and your knowledge saved me from following my daughter into death, but it was your compassion that guided me back towards life.”
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profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
November 7, 2018

A mom whose first baby was stillborn wants to say one thing to the nurses who took care of her: “Thank you for saving me.”

On February 22, 2016, Rachel Whalen’s daughter, Dorothy Grace Helena Whalen, was stillborn. To cope with the grief, the mother shares her experience on her blog, An Unexpected Family Outing. In a recent post, she explains just how grateful she is for the nurses who showed their skill, and most importantly, their empathy through this heartbreaking time.

“Your skills and your knowledge saved me from following my daughter into death, but it was your compassion that guided me back towards life,” she candidly shares. “For this, I owe you my love and deepest gratitude.”

Throughout her note, she calls out the many nurses who went beyond their call of duty to make sure Whalen and her family were okay.

“Thank you to the nurses who always made sure my husband had enough pillows when he had to stay in my hospital room. And thank you to the nurses who let him sneak popsicles from the freezer—you recognized that this was an experience for him and that he also needed your care,” she explains.

Their kindness didn’t stop there. The medical experts not only made sure Whalen was medically treated—teaching her how to fill her bra with ice packs to suppress the breast milk—but also allowed her to properly grieve.

“Thank you to the nurse who crouched by my bedside and asked me about Dorothy. Thank you for knowing how important it was for her to be real, even though she was gone,” she explains. “I will never forget the way you leaned in, just like we were friends, and asked, ‘do you want to tell me about her?’”

Not only did they show Whalen the grace she needed, they also cared for and honored her daughter.

“Thank you to the nurse who dressed my baby and took her picture. Thank you for making sure her hat didn’t cover her eyes and that her hands were positioned so gracefully. That picture means the world to us,” the mom explains.

Most importantly, the nurses were there to offer support when the Vermont mom needed it the most.

“Thank you to the nurse who slipped quietly into my room on my first night without Dorothy so that you could hold my hand. Thank you for whispering to me your story about your own child who was born still,” she says. “Thank you for being the first person to lead me out of the isolation one feels after losing a child.”

And when it came time for Whalen to deliver her second-born daughter, Frances, the nurses understood her experience.

“Even after Frances came into the world, you never forgot that someone came before her. You knew that the birth of Frances did not make me a first-time mother. It made me a mother of two,” she explains.

Signing her letter, “The One You Brought Back,” Whalen’s note is a testament to nurses’ sympathy and compassion. Without it, so many parents in similar situations would be lost.

Parents, like Whalen, find comfort in sharing their grief with others. After a British Columbia couple delivered their baby stillborn, they shared an emotional prayer to honor their daughter.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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