Niki Orwick, BSN, RNC-EFM, OB, the labor and delivery nursing supervisor at Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Medical Center, says she’s ready to share her story.
It’s a story of hope, of bringing her rainbow baby in the world after the loss and miscarriage of her child the year before. Niki hopes her miscarriage story helps other women know they aren’t alone.
“We were only nine weeks along. Being pregnant with our fourth child brought joy and excitement in 2020 – an otherwise very anxious time in the world. My kids were so excited for another brother or sister. It was only about a week or so later that I started to have a miscarriage. Finding out the baby no longer had a heartbeat, scheduling the surgery for the D&C and not being able to have the physical support I would normally receive from my large family made the experience all that much harder. My husband was my rock. My dad was the one who suggested we name the baby, and it allowed us to still make the baby a part of our family.”
Her older kids were grieving, too, so one night, when saying their nightly prayers, Niki asked them if they wanted to name the baby. The older two decided it was a girl and her name would be Rose. And today, Niki and her family still find ways to honor Rose.
“I picked out a mother’s ring after we lost our Rose. I made the decision to have our angel baby’s birthstone be a part of my ring. It is a daily reminder of her, but the grief doesn’t hold as much weight as it used to. My heart has gotten stronger. She is still a part of our prayers at bedtime for our older kids. I still make sure she has her ornament on the Christmas tree every year as well.”
To other women who may be grieving a loss of their own, Niki advises them to not be afraid to find the professional help they may need to get them through the grieving process.
“Depression after these losses is extremely common, yet rarely discussed. You need to take care of yourself and heal, not just physically but mentally. Support, therapy and medication all may be necessary and perfectly acceptable to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help.”
After their loss, Nikki was surprised by how many women reached out with their stories about their losses, including women in her own family. Niki also says to not be afraid to talk about the baby, the loss and the experience to those who you are close with.
“If I hear a patient say something like ‘I can’t wait to be a mom,’ I often correct them and say, ‘You are already a mom. You have been since you realized there is a miracle growing in you.’ I believe motherhood starts when you begin to love and care for someone who needs or relies on you. Whether it be your baby growing in you, growing in another person’s belly, a child by adoption, a child by marriage or otherwise.”
Niki has worked at St. Rita’s Medical Center for more than 14 years, in positions all related to labor and delivery. She began as a floor nurse, then transitioned into nursing educator and is currently the nursing supervisor of labor and delivery.
In her role, Niki has helped many women through the worst day of their lives delivering their stillborn babies. It breaks her heart, but she has always done her best to provide them the best care, respect and comfort that she can.
“Since having my own loss, every time I help these women, I think of how I would want my angel baby to be cared for as well as myself. And when they return for their rainbow baby, it is a celebration of so much more than just a normal delivery. They have survived so much already to get to this point. They have made it through the storm and found their rainbow.”
Niki describes the birth of her own rainbow baby.
“When my husband and I decided that we still wanted to try for one more, there was a lot more fear and anxiety than I have ever experienced with any previous pregnancy. The transition from grief to excitement was hard because I had that fear hiding in the background constantly. It wasn’t until I was past the dates of viability that I truly began to allow myself to feel the joy of another baby coming.”
“When we delivered our beautiful rainbow baby in 2021, we were able to honor Rose by giving our rainbow baby her name as a middle name. Adeline Rose joined our family and has been such a blessing. She is ornery, funny, sassy and our older kids adore her. She has a very sweet side to her as well. If she sees tears, she comes up, gives you a hug, tells you, ‘It’s okay, mommy,’ and then takes off to chase her brothers around some more.”
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