Fitting a Lifetime of Love into Weeks, Days, or Hours

Alive’s perinatal/pediatric team supports families through one of the most difficult challenges they will ever face. Their work may begin when an older child receives a terminal diagnosis or as soon as a mother-to-be learns that her baby will not survive a full-term pregnancy. No matter the circumstances, they bring all their compassion and medical expertise to bear so families can focus on each other while Alive handles the rest.

The team recently cared for a single mother Alicia* who learned during pregnancy that her son was unlikely to survive more than a few hours after birth. They helped Alicia create a “birth plan” that laid out her wishes for her own and her son’s care.

Alicia knew that she didn’t want her baby to suffer during his short time. She did not want him to be taken from her and kept in the NICU, nor did she want him to undergo painful tube feeding.

Late in her pregnancy, Alicia traveled out of state to spend time with her family. When she went into early labor there, Alive coordinated with a local hospice to ensure she and her baby, Alex, would receive all the appropriate care. The team then coordinated her safe travel home to a room in our residence where Alex could receive round-the-clock love and care when Alicia had to return to work.

Alex lived weeks rather than the predicted days, and thanks to the planning we did together, Alicia was able to introduce him to her family and his father, ensuring he received all the love every newborn should have.

Alicia visited with her Alive chaplain many times during her stay. She knew she had to prepare to say goodbye even though it felt far too soon, and she needed help. When Alex did pass away, Alicia knew she had the support of her entire team at Alive, and she knew she had done everything to give her son the best life possible.

*Names have been changed for privacy.