This review originally appeared in the August 2008 AORN (Association of periOperative Registered Nurses) Journal, and on the AORN web site.
Life Touches Life
Life Touches Lifeis a powerful book that describes how the author coped with having a stillborn child. In the beginning, the author depicts the joy of becoming pregnant and the stages of her pregnancy. She describes the strong relationship she developed with the baby while she prepared for the birth, including the process of choosing a name in honor of women who were important to her family. She tells about how her husband talked to her belly and how they prepared the nursery in preparation for the big day.
When the day arrived, the author and her husband went to the physician’s office for the scheduled birth; however, the author had not felt her baby move for a day. Her physician could not locate the baby’s heartbeat with his monitoring equipment, and advanced tests and monitors at the hospital also failed to pick up any sign of fetal life.
The author explains how she went through the steps of grieving and how this painful experience transformed her whole life. She describes going from anger to sadness to understanding how to live and learn from the stillbirth. The author explains how she came to understand that it was not God that killed her baby, but a consequence of the forces of nature. She accepted that she was not responsible for her baby’s death, but that her body allowed the infection to get into the womb. Finally, the author explains her realization that life is fragile. As a result of this experience, she became more kind, patient, and helpful to others in need. She describes herself as a completely different person because of the stillbirth.
The author currently publishes articles and chapters on dealing with stillbirth and was published in a nursing textbook as an example of how nurses can support grieving mothers who want to view the infant after stillbirth. She also speaks at seminars and works one-on-one with grieving mothers.
The end of the book contains medical and legislative updates relating to infant and stillbirth issues. It also lists societies and support groups for mothers, fathers, and other relatives of stillborn children and deceased infants.
Life Touches Life is an easy-to-read paperback with a beautiful, peaceful image on the cover. By flipping through the book’s pages, readers get a sense of the calm the author now has. I highly recommend this book for professionals who work in labor, delivery, and postpartum care, but everyone in the health field can benefit from the author’s incredible story of hope, loss, and acceptance.