By: Cathy Schloss
I became involved as a caregiver with Share the first week of my obstetrics orientation at Southeast Missouri Hospital when a 16-week baby boy was born prematurely. He was perfect! His only problem was that he was born too soon. I have never felt as helpless and hopeless during those brief moments as he gasped trying to breathe on his own. I watched him under the warmer with tear-filled eyes and prayers in my heart. I would glance at his parents, as the physician was caring for his mother, and think what a horrendous nightmare this had to be for them.
My nursing career changed forever in that moment. I felt compelled and called to take an active role in bringing these little ones dignity and honor out of respect for their life that was shortened with many unanswered questions. I also wanted to give comfort to these parents and their families in any way that I could.
Share has brought me the greatest challenges and rewards as a nurse and caregiver.
I cannot imagine a more difficult loss in a family than that of a baby, no matter how far along in the pregnancy (or after) that it occurred. To be with these families and help each of them through their first moments and days of their loss is overwhelming for all of us. Each of them is experiencing the same loss but have specific needs to comfort them. What a privilege it is to be with these families, preparing mementos that will be priceless treasures for them in years to come. What an honor it is to be at that baby’s bedside when he/she arrives making their precious mark in this family’s like and the world. I have tried to comfort each family in my care.
Many times, I leave thinking my interventions were minute compared to the enormity of their loss. Sometimes I wonder if I ever helped at all. But, one day maybe something that was said, a particular pose of a picture, or a mother caressing her child’s casting in her hand will bring comfort to them in ways that I will never know or understand. To every family, I say thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life during your greatest need, and may God bless you and comfort you today and always.
About Cathy Schloss
Cathy Schloss was the Share Chapter Coordinator at Southeast Missouri Hospital in Cape Girardeau, Missouri in 2003.
She submitted her story initially to commemorate Share’s 25th Anniversary in “Caring Notes”, the publication for professionals who serve bereaved families.