My precious pre-eclamptic patient, Pour, came in today for a check-up. I’m always happy to see her and greeted her with a big smile. She smiled back and sat down slowly. My translator had just stepped out, so I asked her to lie down, so I could check her baby.
She shook her head sadly and said there was no more baby to check. My Dinka’s limited, but I somehow understood all her words. I instantly wanted to cry, (but culturally, crying is not an option), so I blinked back tears and waited for my translator to return.
My heart sank as she explained she’d delivered her baby 4 days before. She only had two hours of very intense contractions and her baby was born. He breathed twice and then died. She also explained that he was term but thin and had ‘burns’ all over his body.
I’ve seen one other macerated baby (a baby who dies in utero and starts to decompose) before and as the skin starts to peel, it does look like the child has been burned. It doesn’t make sense that a macerated baby would breathe, but I didn’t tell her that. If he was macerated, he’d probably died a day or so before the birth.
Her blood pressure was still high and her body ached. I wanted to wrap my arms around her and bawl; but again, such antics are not socially acceptable. Instead, I taught her more about pre-eclampsia and why her baby probably died. I also prayed for her to have peace about her child and to know Jesus’ comfort and joy in this hard time.
Should I have induced her last week? She wasn’t term (I’d have to check, but I think she was only 34 weeks last week), and her fundal height was only 22 cm.
I don’t know.
She’ll keep coming back each week for follow-up checks. Pray for her blood pressure to stabilize and her body to recover quickly. Thanks.