Perinatal loss: the emotional impact of the death of one of the twins on the family and professional team in a NICU.
Judith Puig, Solange Dias
NICU Nurses, Hospital Universitari General de Catalunya, Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain
This is the story of a family that showed us the strength of love and the courage of a premature birth of their twins on different days and the death of one of them. This is also the story of all those professionals who accompanied them in bidding farewell to one of their sons and in the daily struggle for the survival of the other twin.
This family began their paternity in the NICU with the birth of their twins. Pau was born at 25,6 gestational weeks (GW) while Héctor remained intrauterus for a further 11 days having being born with 26,6 GW. Vanesa and Rafa were aware of the risks due to extreme prematurity but nothing predicted the death of the second twin, who initially presented a better prognosis. Héctor died at 47 days of age due to an uncommon complication while Pau was still struggling to survive. After facing grief due to the extreme prematurity of their children, Vanesa and Rafa lived the hardest moment of their lives: whilst mourning the death of their son, they had to remain strong in order to continue supporting Pau in the same NICU where they said goodbye to Héctor. Héctor’s death had an emotional impact on the entire team as, despite their loss, we had to continue supporting the parents, caring for and celebrating each of Pau’s tiny victories.
The special circumstances presented by this case, illustrates the emotional impact on both parents and those professionals who accompanied them during these difficult 6 months. It was both a challenge and an honor to have been by their side. The relationship that we built with them has shown us the tremendous love shared by this family. The trust and faith that Vanesa and Rafa have placed in our team was crucial to overcome the many struggles that we faced together.
Informed consent provided by the family.