Monday, April 2, 2012


A friend from high school went into labor on Saturday. After 40 weeks of growing a baby and 23 tough hours of labor, she delivered a baby boy who's heart stopped beating just minutes after delivery. The doctors were not able to revive him.

My heart broke when I heard the news last night. Though she and her husband live far away from me, I had been attentively following the progress of her pregnancy through the wonders of the internet.

How do you express the grief and devastation you feel for someone when you're so far away?

I struggled in sending her a message to convey my condolences, because, how do you tell someone whom you rarely talk to that you grieve for them? That you would wish away their pain? That though you yourself have never felt such a grievous loss, you are crying for them?

I don't know how to talk to her about it and I probably won't because by the time I might see her, it will be months from now. And then how would I bring it up?

As I think about this tragedy, I contemplate my future in medicine. I know that someday, one day, not too far in the future, I will be the doctor giving the news of a loved one's death. I don't think I will ever be able to do so without crying.

Last month, I stood by as my attending physician broke the news to family after family. Working in an ICU, this is an incredibly common occurance. I teared up each time.

It will be worse in Pediatrics. Far worse. And when I think of it, I dread having children of my own, to spare myself the potential heartache. Because no matter what stage you lose a child in, you have lost a child and a parent should never have to bury their child.

But we can't think like this. If we thought this way with everything, would we ever truly live?

We have to take those chances in life in order to experience life.

We have to push past the doubts that plague every decision and live. We have to live.


Padded Cell Princess said...

I heard about this yesterday. Heartbreak doesn't even come close to describing what losing a child must be like. My prayers are with her family.
When you are a Paediatrician and have to give news like this, I think it would be perfectly fine to cry. I think I would find appreciation for my doctor if they did. My mom had a great friend that worked at a funeral home. She often sat and cried with her clients all the time. I know it meant a lot to her and most of all, the clients.

Emily McEntire said...

My best friend from high school had a daughter who died after 4 days because she was born with kidney failure. I cried for hours after hearing the news from her. I think that the only thing that I can find comfort in (especially after having a traumatic miscarriage) is that God knew it would be better for the baby to go to Heaven so soon. As sad as we are here and as much as we miss them and grieve for them; knowing and believing that they are in a better place is the only thing we can hope to find solace in. I would encourage you to send her a note, even a brief one. Knowing that you aren't going through things alone is a great encouragement.