perinatal hospice: a grief conserved

My dad just had another article published in World Magazine.

It’s called, A Grief Conserved, and I recommend it.

Here’s how it begins:

“Something’s wrong with this baby,” my ultrasound technician told me. She had just scanned Mrs. Jones (a fictitious name) at 20 weeks and went on to describe her findings, findings that surely meant little chance of survival for that baby. As I later spoke with Mrs. Jones to relay the findings, she wept. I arranged an appointment with a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist.

The next day I received an urgent call from my patient. Through more tears, she described her visit in which the MFM doctor confirmed the grim prognosis. The baby would die, probably within a week or two. The MFM insisted on scheduling her for an abortion in three days. “Do I have to have an abortion?” she asked. I promised to call the MFM and assured her she did not have to abort.

The reality of unborn babies with fatal genetic abnormalities often goes un-talked about.  At least it seems that way to me.  I think it’s worth considering, especially for those of us who have had no reason to consider it: how we would handle a baby in utero that will almost inevitably die prior to birth?

The article continues:

“But what happens when a routine 20-week ultrasound shows a baby with a profound abnormality, possibly an abnormality that will certainly result in the death of the baby prior to or shortly after birth? Or when a genetic test is done and shows similar results and the patient then decides against abortion? What then?

Enter perinatal hospice, the brain child of Byron Calhoun, a pro-life maternal-fetal medicine specialist.

Perinatal hospice honors life. The woman carrying the disabled child receives extensive counseling and birth preparation involving the combined efforts of MFM specialists, OB/GYN doctors, neonatologists, anesthesia services, chaplains, pastors, social workers, labor and delivery nurses, and neonatal nurses. She carries the pregnancy to its natural conclusion. She and her husband are allowed to grieve and prepare for the short time God may grant them with their child while their baby lives inside or outside the womb. Such a process obviates the grief caused by elective abortion, killing the child before it could be born.

I think perinatal hospice is something worth knowing about and relaying to your friends.  We cannot know what the Lord may have in store for us.  Take a minute and read the rest of the article.  Here’s the last clip I’ll offer:

“Even those mystified by a patient choosing life have recognized the value of Calhoun’s idea, as perinatal hospice programs now dot the nation. But this mystery is no mystery to us. As Job 1:21 states, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

3 thoughts on “perinatal hospice: a grief conserved

  1. I’m thankful for people like Bryan Calhoun for thinking of life and caring about little ones, and for your dad for writing about it, and you for sharing it.

    I’d like to post it on my page, as well, if that’s okay with you.

    Chris Danielewicz

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