It’s a big and powerful and scary word. When you’ve lost your baby, your child, and you are floundering aimlessly around in unchartered waters, seas and storms of grief…the first question is often WHY? Why me? Why us? Why MY baby? Why MY child? Why am I the one with the broken womb and the battle with infertility?
I know we are not all Christians. I respect that, though I would love to grab you and hug the love of Jesus into you. It is HE whom I have felt called me to find a purpose and bring beauty from the ashes of my loss. I have done many things to honor my daughter. I like to think her life speaks volumes…way more than my own. She is the guiding force in most every action and she IS my purpose.
I recently became a certified Birth & Bereavement Doula. Can I, this fragile, broken, anxiety-ridden woman walk with those in their darkest hours? I can. I know I can. Because Hannah lived. And why would I choose the bereavement aspect? NOT because I am stuck in grief, but because there will unfortunately be MANY who need my hand and my heart. I am willing to give that. I am willing to become a servant to those, offering them the care of Perinatal Hospice.
What is Perinatal Hospice? I had never heard of it before. Hospice is for the aged, comfortably living out their last days. But we all know too well, unfortunately, that the last days can be the first days.
According to perinatalhospice.org…
Perinatal hospice and palliative care is an innovative and compassionate model of support that can be offered to parents who find out during pregnancy that their baby has a life-limiting condition. As prenatal testing continues to advance, more families are finding themselves in this heartbreaking situation. Perinatal (perinatal means around the time of birth) hospice incorporates the philosophy and expertise of hospice and palliative care into the care of this new population of patients. For parents who choose to continue their pregnancies, this support is provided from the time of diagnosis through the baby’s birth and death. Perinatal palliative care helps parents embrace whatever life their baby might be able to have, before and after birth.
This support begins at the time of diagnosis, not just after the baby is born. It can be thought of as “hospice in the womb” (including birth planning and preliminary medical decision-making before the baby is born) as well as more traditional hospice and palliative care at home after birth (if the baby lives longer than a few minutes or hours.) Palliative care can also include medical treatments intended to improve the baby’s life. This approach supports families through the rest of the pregnancy, through decision-making before and after birth, and through their grief. Perinatal hospice also enables families to make meaningful plans for the baby’s life, birth, and death, honoring the baby as well as the baby’s family.
Perinatal hospice is not a place. It is more a frame of mind. It can easily be incorporated into standard pregnancy and birth care. Ideally, it is a comprehensive and multidisciplinary team approach that can include obstetricians, perinatologists, labor & delivery nurses, neonatologists, NICU staff, chaplains/pastors, and social workers, as well as genetic counselors, midwives, traditional hospice professionals, and others. Perinatal hospice is a beautiful and practical response to one of the most heartbreaking challenges of prenatal testing.
Beyond that in my role as doula, I will support those who DO NOT know prior to their baby’s death. On call for miscarriage, stillbirth, heartbreak.
I live in the state of New Jersey and sadly, this resource is not readily available to those who need it. I want it to be. I will MAKE it be. I will NOT accept that it is okay to birth your child in a heartless ER as I did.
Would you help me?
I currently have a campaign running to raise some of the funds needed. I ask for your support, even if just through sharing. (www.booster.com/perinatalhospice)
We are ALL called for a purpose. I think, even after all the books and care packages and decals and plaques, this is mine. Mine is to serve with a loving and compassionate heart.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.