When Jacky and Joe Crane learned they were expecting, they were ecstatic, immediately sharing the exciting news with loved ones via Facebook.
As they prepared for the baby’s arrival, the possibility of a miscarriage never crossed their minds. After all, no one they knew had ever talked about experiencing one.
During a routine checkup, however, Jacky’s primary care physician could not detect the baby’s heartbeat. Jacky had an ultrasound at Thompson Hospital, confirming the heart had indeed stopped and the baby was no longer developing.
As she struggled to process that the child they had come to call “Baby Ben” was gone, Jacky received comforting items – including a soft blanket –
from her sister. She held onto the
blanket hours later when she was rushed to Thompson’s Emergency Department with heavy bleeding.
Dr. Robert W. Scott, an obstetrician-gynecologist, was on call. “He had the grace I needed. He was emotionally
present, and I was so grateful for that,” Jacky said.
The Cranes returned home the following morning. “This amazing group of doctors and nurses had just poured themselves out to me with so much love and grace, and I walked out of the hospital doors and thought, ‘What now?’” Jacky says.
As they considered how to handle the abrupt transition, she and Joe agreed to share their news. Once they did, several people reached out to share their own experiences of pregnancy loss.
This spurred Jacky to find a way to “bottle up all that love and grace” she experienced at Thompson so other women could feel as though “somebody is holding their hand through this transition.”
She felt confident the hospital would be receptive. “I knew they would, because that’s just the kind of hospital Thompson is,” she says.
Jacky connected with Director of Obstetrics Deborah Jones and RN Cristine Crawford, the bereavement coordinator for Thompson’s Birthing Center. She learned that approximately 70 patients annually experience pregnancy loss. With the help of others within Thompson, Jones and Crawford assisted Jacky in creating “Baby Ben Bags.”
Funded by the Thompson Health Guild, the bags contain a note from the family of Baby Ben, a poem, a plush blanket, heat therapy pads for menstrual pain, a heart-shaped charm and information about Thompson’s Resolve Through Sharing pregnancy loss support group, as well as other area resources.
“It was wonderful when Jacky came to our board with this idea,” says Guild President Robert Locke. “We loved her passion for wanting to do something for others, and we’re honored to support this initiative.”
The Guild is especially pleased with the positive feedback received since Thompson began distributing the bags this past summer. Also pleased are the Cranes, who in March of 2017 welcomed twins.
“I honestly just want this to provide comfort and acknowledgment,” Jacky said. “You’ve just gone through the most heart-wrenching experience and it’s important to have somebody validate that this has happened and to tell you, ‘It’s okay to not be okay. There are resources and we’re here for you.’”
This article was originally published in Community Health magazine for UR Medicine, Thompson Health Partners in health and wellness.