While our attention is rightly focused on vaccine development, mosquito control, and other measures to prevent the spread of Zika, it is also important that we in the public health community identify optimal approaches to treat and care for the generation of children exposed to the virus in the womb.
We had just been informed that my wife's pregnancy had come to an end, in the form of a miscarriage, an hour or so before. One fact had escaped us when we received this news -- that my wife would have to go about her life over the next few days with our miscarried child still inside her, because our doctor only performed the D&Cs on Wednesday afternoons.
Few situations highlight our inability to fix and make better more starkly than the loss of a baby. Medical professionals treating a family affected by miscarriage or stillbirth are faced not only with the inability to fix or heal the baby who has died, but also uncertainty about how to respond to the grieving parents.
When the doctor confirmed my worst suspicions and slowly helped me up from the exam table, I asked, "What happens now? Do I need to have a D&C?" He shook his head no. "You'll need to deliver." With those words, I was transported into a "through the looking glass" world where life as it was supposed to be was turned on its head.
To Sam and Nia, I send my heartfelt condolences. I thank you for sharing your journey with the world and for allowing the world to grieve with you. While we join them in mourning the loss of the child they'd only just started to celebrate, I think there are many things we can take away from their very public experience.