Elizabeth Petrucelli

Author, Blogger, Educator

Tag: stillbirthday

Stillbirthday Doula Training Review

SBD Logo 3Stillbirthday  Bereavement Doula Training Review

I was a labor doula who supported happy births for over five years. I never really left the birth world despite making a career change. After losing my own baby in 2010 to miscarriage, my path completely changed and I wanted to focus on helping families through the loss of their baby no matter what the trimester.

I met Heidi Faith (founder of Stillbirthday) online after I published the book All That is Seen and Unseen; A Journey Through a First Trimester Miscarriage. I had been helping families through miscarriage after publishing my book but it was mostly through email and over the phone. Once the book was out there, women reached out to talk. Here is a review of the training.

As a labor doula, I was certified by CAPPA and DONA. Both of these organizations certify labor doulas. I am currently a CAPPA certified Childbirth Educator. The training received by these organizations will give you all you need to work as a labor doula.

The training with Stillbirthday, gives you training on how to be a labor doula but it also goes beyond live birth and teaches you how to support a family during birth in any trimester, when the baby is no longer alive or expected to survive. Depending on the circumstance, the trimester the family delivers in may be met with certain death or NICU time for the baby. A baby may already have been deceased or the baby may die during the birth process or shortly following birth.

There are many unexpected outcomes during birth that go beyond the client getting an epidural and the snowball effect taking place. As a labor doula, wouldn’t you want to be prepared for any of these events? If you were hired early in the pregnancy and your client suffers an early loss, wouldn’t you want to have the knowledge to help her instead of just terminating the client/doula relationship because the baby died?

There are other organizations which train in bereavement.  Baby Loss Family Advisors (formerly Loss Doulas International by Sherokee Ilse. I am hopeful that there will be training in Denver, Colorado so that I can attend and be dual certified as a bereavement doula but until then, I can only comment on the training I received with Stillbirthday.  Hearthside Perinatal Bereavement Care is another.

I remember struggling with my decision to take the training and how Heidi helped me navigate all my fears. [Visit this link to hear more about this] My biggest fear was if I could handle being in the room with the family when the baby was born silent. Would I break down and cry or be stoic? What was the right way to act? I took the training anyway thinking that if I were ever called, I didn’t have to go and almost never expected to help a family beyond some phone and email support.

And then it happened, I was called. And I was excited even though I was scared and sad. The emotions you feel during this time is overwhelming. Excitement, fear, anxiety, love, and hope. Then you get there and as you extend your arms to embrace the family, you can’t hold back the tears. A few sneak through as you help them navigate this scary and emotional place.

And then the moment happens…their baby, the one they have been expecting for months, is born in silence. The only sound in the room are usually quiet sobs. The baby is usually limp and most look perfectly “normal,” even if they are born early. And then the question in your mind appears, the same question everyone has. Why?

As a Stillbirthday Birth and Bereavement Doula, you will know and understand that families don’t always find out why and even if there is an answer, it may not bring the peace the family was hoping for. Don’t you want to know these things and be aware? I know you do. So, if you are contemplating the training, stop hesitating. It’s time.

Stillbirthday is offering a hefty discount of 50% off for all those who are referred from this post. To receive the discount mention “Ruby’s Mom” sent you on the registration page.

– Breaking the silence of First Trimester Miscarriage

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The Innocence is Lost

I was sharing some pictures with my husband tonight from my Stillbirthday Bereavement Doula Training. We have a group on Facebook that is comprised of many of the doulas-in-training for this particular semester. It is a wonderful group of women and I am so proud to be a part of such an amazing and transpiring group.

The other night, the women from the group felt compelled to share the pictures of their stillborn and miscarried baby’s. Those with the weak stomach, would feel very upset to see some of these pictures. They are raw, completed with all the details of their baby’s including the raw emotions the parents experienced at the time of their loss.

I am proud that these mothers were compelled and comfortable enough to share their beautiful baby’s with all of us. It takes a strong person to feel okay with showing some of these graphic pictures. Many people who see them are appalled and some images have been reported and asked to be removed from Facebook (on other pages, not this one).

I shared some of the pictures with my husband. I had to, because I needed to process my emotions from these pictures. While I was in awe at the natural beauty of human creation, I was so saddened to see these babies. My heart ached for the mothers who endured this loss. I have had a first trimester miscarriage (obviously) but I had no “physical baby” to share with anyone.

In fact, I was so scared that I would see my baby, I wasn’t sure how I would react or what I would do if I saw her. Yet, I WANTED to see her. I LONGED to see her.

When I showed my husband, he was upset that someone would share those pictures on Facebook. I told him it was a private group and no one else could see them but us and he felt better. Then I asked him, “If that were our baby, wouldn’t you want to share him?” He said, “Not on Facebook.”

I was a bit curious about his feelings so I waited a little while and I told him, “You know how I have to be supportive and available to hear what about what you see and are involved in (he is a police/SWAT officer)? Well, I need you to be just as supportive and available. What bothers you about those pictures?”

Then he opened up. “It bothers me because those are people’s dead children. It bothers me because it’s painful to see others suffering from the loss of their baby.” Then he continued to talk about a recent funeral he attended. The funeral was for a 10yr old boy who had been made an honorary Aurora Police Officer. It bothered him dramatically. He came home in tears and had tears for several hours following this funeral.

My husband is a musician (we both are) and he frequently plays “Taps” for military and police funerals (because many now use a recording). My husband attended the funeral because he was giving “honors” to this little boy. As he continued to talk, he stated, “I just couldn’t imagine leaving him.” He couldn’t imagine leaving his dead child behind.

As he talked, he began to cry. It was too painful for him to even think about how hard losing a child is. He knows…he lost his only daughter (at that time) to miscarriage. The innocence was lost.

I have talked about this innocence before. Most people live in it. “It’s not going to happen to me.” “It couldn’t happen to me.” “Wow, that happened to my best friend and it was really sad to see but it didn’t happen to me.” Part of that is a coping mechanism but the other part really is the fact that they have never experienced such heartache and loss.

It’s not the same as losing a parent. In fact, we expect to lose our parents. It’s inevitable. We plan for their funerals, talk about their wills, etc. But, you never “expect” your child to die. You never plan for your child’s funeral (obviously there are some exceptions to this). We aren’t made to do this really. It’s not the “natural order” of things.

So here I was, sharing with my husband and processing my own emotions, and I see him well up with tears and emotions because he knows what it’s like to suffer a loss. Not their loss, but his own. He wasn’t upset at all at the graphic nature of the pictures, or really the fact that they were posted on Facebook. He was upset because these parents suffered through the death of their child. No matter how early it was. He knew it hurt.

– Breaking the silence of First Trimester Miscarriage

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