Durham Regional Hospital offers moms who deliver stillborn babies and their families the ability to honor and remember the life of their child through The Silent Birth program.
The program was named Silent Birth because the mother is having a baby that isn’t going to cry. In some instances the mother knows before arriving at the hospital by finding out at her doctor’s office, but, sometimes they do not find out their baby isn’t alive until during labor or after due to intrauterine fetal demise, anencephaly, or cardiac anomalies.
The program began at Durham Regional in 1991, led by a patient who experienced a still birth and a group of Labor and Delivery nurses.
At Durham Regional, nurses ensure that patients and their family members are treated with respect and offer support in whatever way the patient needs it. Many times this involves more than just the parents; sometimes there are siblings and grandparents who need consoling as well. Durham Regional’s pastoral care department will also visit with the family to offer support and can contact the family’s pastor if they wish.
After the baby is delivered, he or she is cleaned, dressed and brought back to the parents so they can say good-bye. Nurses offer to stay with the family during this time if they want support.
Before leaving, parents are given helpful information on managing grief and mourning. They are also given the clothes the baby wore, the blanket he or she was wrapped in, the baby’s measurements, a lock of hair and a certificate of life stamped with the baby’s foot prints.