“What the Heart Wants”

I have a list of shows that I subscribe to… but New Amsterdam is not one of them. So, when several people reached out to me and asked me if I watched the show, or even just watched last week’s episode, I felt compelled to look into it.

WARNING!!! Stop reading if you have not watched this episode, or if you do not care to read what happens. I go into detail about the episode below.

A woman is brought into the ER having trouble breathing. She is 28 weeks pregnant. All she requests is for the doctors to save her baby… but little does she know that her baby is already gone. They find out she has a pulmonary embolism. She asks multiple times about her baby and nobody responds or acknowledges her pleas. “Max”… the main character… after another request to know how her baby is doing, finally sits down with her and says “What I’m about to say is gonna be impossible to hear.” He then grabs her hand, and leans down to tell her the horrific news that will forever change her.

The next scene is her in a hospital bed talking to Max, and she asks, “I don’t understand… did I do something wrong? Max proceeds to tell her that she didn’t do anything wrong and that her baby had a heart defect. It’s bad genetic luck… and there’s nothing that anyone could have done to save her. Then he says:

“Stillbirths happen more than anyone wants to acknowledge”

THIS… this right here. I cannot begin to describe my feelings and thoughts when I heard this. Instant chills down my spine. It is such a true statement, yet it is rarely EVER talked about. Why? Why are pregnant woman not made aware of the traumatic things that can happen to them during pregnancy? Why are the genetic disorders, cord accidents, common placental problems not brought up? Why?

I understand, it is difficult to talk about the negative things when they don’t happen all the time… but they HAPPEN. and they should be discussed. I wish I would have know what the term “stillbirth” meant… before hearing it after my baby had already died.

We have to induce labor… to get the baby out.
No. No! You mean I have to go through all of that with no baby in the end?!

That poor woman. I was right there in her shoes. I know that awful feeling of being told that you still have to labor and deliver your baby… knowing that you will not get to hear them cry… knowing you will not get to take them home. It is absolutely heartbreaking. Unimaginable. Unexplainable.

And then she started to share her baby’s name and stopped… until the doctor encouraged her to “Say Her Name”. It was Sofie.

Max sits with Gabi the entire time she is in labor. She sobs as she delivers her baby. She makes the comment, “it’s so quiet”.

I am here to tell you that the silence is SO loud… a mother will never forget it.

She cannot bring herself to hold her daughter. Max explains that it is okay to hold her, but she cannot bring herself to do it.

After the next commercial break, Max enters Gabi’s room with Sofie, in a cuddle cot. He explains what the cuddle cot is and does… that it can give her time. Not the time you wish you had… but it can give you time to grieve. He then goes into detail about what types of things people do to get memories of their loved one, and that just because they are gone, doesn’t mean you cannot have those memories, no matter how painful.

He then offers her a grief counselor, to which she says, “no”.
Gabi, from the due diligence of her doctor, Max, decides she wants more time with her daughter.

and THEN… people are trying to move Gabi and Sofie out of the room to make way for more deliveries. Max defends her… and tells her she has days, or weeks, however long she needs, that room is hers. He then proceeds to sit outside of her room in a chair and lets staff know if they have a problem, they can come and talk to him.

If only all hospitals had that protocol. PLEASE understand… I LOVE my nurses. They were by my side, and my family’s side, the entire time we were in the hospital. I LOVE my doctor. She came in on her day off.. the second she heard about Ellis… to see how I was doing, and to hold him. The care I received will always mean SO much.
I ALSO know that my nurses and doctor do not have precedence when it comes to making tons of decisions about how protocols are put into place in the hospital. They have to abide by what they are trained or told to do, and it may not be what they agree with, but it is what they have to follow.
I cannot complain about ANYTHING regarding my care… other than being told we would have to go to the “baby floor” on Sunday night if we wanted to stay. I would have done ANYTHING to stay in that delivery room and NOT go up to the baby floor. Just like I would have done ANYTHING to save my son. Just like Gabi would have done anything to save Sofie.

Am I crazy? Is it healthy keeping her close like this, even though she’s… you know. Max reassures her it is more than okay and encourages her to hold her.

I want to hold her… but my head tells me that it’ll make it worse. It’s not really her, she’s gone. But then my heart tells me that’s my Sofie… my baby. (as she sobs).

All of these emotions are relatable ones, for me. I remember feeling like keeping Ellis in the room with us, was wrong. Watching his body deteriorate and change.. knowing his spirit was gone.. trying to comprehend that it was just his body that was still there.. was not healthy. In what world were all of these things healthy? How could holding a dead baby be healthy?

Except it was… it IS. That baby is YOURS. Loving them. Cuddling them. Holding them. Singing to them. Comprehending that they are gone, and will not stay with you… will not come home with you… THAT is healthy. No matter how wrong it feels.

And finally, Gabi goes and picks up Sofie. She cradles her little body in her arms. She smiles. She cries. She sways back and forth. She admires her baby and takes in every feature of her. Knowing she will have to say “goodbye”.

I can honestly say, I am so grateful for whoever wrote and produced this episode of New Amsterdam. It is so honest and heartfelt. So true. I have to assume it’s likely they spoke with a mother who gave birth to her stillborn child. How else would they have gotten all of these details? They are spot on. This episode speaks volumes to me about where our society is at and where we are going.

Stillbirth… Miscarriage… Child loss…

These are all such taboo topics with stigmas attached to them, and they are not discussed. But they NEED to be.

Kudos to New Amsterdam for using their platform, taking the lead, and portraying the tragedy of pregnancy loss on their show.

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