A woman shares her experience of compassionate care during her recent loss

AIMS Ireland received this letter today. With the author’s kind permission, we share it with you:


I cannot emphasize how grateful I am to the staff of Portiuncula Hospital. You see, I presented to A&E on Sunday, January 4th. The waiting room was very busy, but I was quickly seen by the triage nurse for what I described as a severe migraine, nausea, cramps, bleeding, and high temperature while 13 weeks pregnant.
I was brought back to a private bed to wait for an OB. So thankful that I was not sent back out to wait in the waiting room.

The evening progressed, and though they tried to help manage my symptoms to ease my discomfort, I suddenly started to go into labour, with full contractions and bleeding entirely too much. It all happened so fast, right after I had already sent my husband home at 3am to tend to our other children.

The doctors were all very quick, sympathetic, and respectful. I was soon brought into theatre where I was met by an incredible team of women, who held my hand and offered me gentle compassion. I had an erpc, and woke holding the nurses hand. She had the most loving eyes and was a welcome face to wake to. My husband had not been able to make it back to the hospital, but I felt so well taken care of.

Two midwives from the maternity unit came up to get me, I cannot remember both names – but can remember Rose Marie. They were such gems, getting me settled and comfortable into a private room. Making sure my phone was charged so that way I could contact my husband, bringing me food, and dimming the room for me to rest.

The next shift came on, and I was looked after all day by Rebecca Colohan, who was an angel. She fully embodies what it means to be a midwife, to be *with woman*. Her gentle care and compassion as she sat on the bed, listened to me, held me, and let me know that I had given birth to a son. I will forever be grateful to Rebecca, who was, by chance, to be my second midwife for my planned homebirth. It was divine timing that she should be there while I recovered from a miscarriage.

The next midwife to take over was Olivia, who came in and gave me a hug immediately. Who was so wonderful… Who helped to ease any discomfort or pain I had, who was immediately there if I called for anything. It meant the world to me. I am far from home and family, being from the states, but all of these women looking after was a gift during such a difficult time.

And then there was the fourth year student midwife, Shauna. I hope that Shauna is filled up and well supported. I hope that her bright light continues to shine as she makes her way through her final year as a student, and moves into her full title as Midwife. I hope that she continues to have the vibrance and passion to go into the community when she can, as she wishes. She was such an honour to share this experience with. Her gentle hands and ease. If I remember correctly, it was also her first or second day on placement at Portiuncula hospital. They, and the women attending Portiuncula will only be so lucky to have her there.

So what I’m saying, AIMSI, is that I am surprised, grateful, and overwhelmed with how wonderful Portiuncula hospital was to me during my miscarriage.

I only wish the same for every woman around the country that experiences a loss, that they too would be met by the same care, compassion, respect, and empathy as I have been shown.
I was able to bring my son home and bury him in our back garden, beneath the apple tree. My two children were able to experience this joy of pregnancy, and this sad loss with us.

I hope that the maternity staff, as well as the OBs in theatre and A&E will hear the praise and gratitude I have for them.

– Erin Darcy

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