A Heavy Heart

The last three weeks have been a crazy blur of sadness. In the mist of one the busiest delivery months of the year, it seems that a daily dose of bad news has surrounded me. Three close friends have received devastating news.  My heart breaks for each of them, as I search for tangible ways to attempt to help. Sprinkled in between the joyous deliveries and the blows to my friends, has been a unusual number of patients to which I’ve had to be the bearer of bad news.

Over the last three weeks the phrase, “I’m so very sorry , but it appears that your baby has no heart beat” has left my mouth way too many times. It never gets easier to say. Each time my stomach turns and my heart aches as I turn to the mother to gauge her reaction.

In these moments, I wish I could do more. I wish there was a test I could draw to give an answer.  I dream of a magic text book I could consult to find the perfect medication to cure all their ills. I’m a doctor, a fixer, a problem solver.  With problems of the heart, there are no easy answers.  I feel inept and frustrated. With all the loss I‘ve gone through, I should be able to draw from my experience to find the right words of comfort. After writing a book about a peace filled pregnancy, I should be able to quote the perfect scripture to make everything OK.

For my friends and my patients that I can’t ‘fix’, what I can do is be there. I can listen and provide a caring touch. I can comfort and reassure them. I can give them permission to grieve. I can acknowledge the depth of their loss. I can encourage them that some day the hurt will fade. I can pray. And I can hope that these things are enough.

Sometimes I can find a medical issues that can be treated, giving hope for the future.   But I can’t heal their heart. Only God can do that. While I am imperfect and frustrated,  He “the Great Physician” is enough.

About Dr. Heather Rupe

Dr. Rupe is a mom, wife and OB/GYN. She is the co-author of The Pregnancy Companion book and blogs at www.ThePregnancyCompanion.com. Her heart is to help guide women through as peaceful a pregnancy as possible. In her spare time she loves to run and laugh whenever she can.


  1. Rachelle Sipkovsky says:

    Dr. Rupe,
    Five years ago, you had to give me this same news. Although I was heartbroken, I felt that you genuinely cared and felt for me. It was almost like a conversation between girlfriends. Time doesn’t completely heal your heart, but knowing that there are physicians such as yourself (and others at your practice) that really do care for their patients not only as patients but as friends that are going through one of the most life changing and emotional experiences of their lives…is priceless.
    I hope you know how very wonderful you are!

  2. This post brought me back to the day I heard those words during my appointment with you, after having just heard it from my previous doctor 3 months before. I don’t think there is anything you can say to heal the heart of a woman going through this, but I have to say that the caring response from you and your staff helped. I found that it was the following pregnancy (that was healthy) when I really needed extra care because of my worries and fears. When I prayed in the shower every morning and before bed at night, I asked God to help calm my nerves and thanked Him for everyday that I did have during that pregnancy.

  3. Jessica says:

    Dr. Rupe also delivered that news (and other hard news) to me a few times. And I can honestly say, having it come from her made it that much easier to hear. The look of compassion in her eyes and the sound in her voice somehow comforted me. I can’t imagine the strength and faith it takes to bring life into the world and see it fade, sometimes almost simultaneously. But I know that the Lord has called her to this work and equipped her for it.

    I am constantly in awe of you my friend and I am so thankful for the gifts He’s given you and how they daily bless the lives of women.

  4. I can’t imagine how difficult those moments in your work must be. A few weeks ago I, too, received some bad news from my doctor about our baby. But like you she is a beautiful Christian woman and just the way she explained things, listened to my external processing, allowed me time to ask questions, and then related to me as a woman and mother herself helped me to walk out of her office feeling incredibly supported and validated and cared for. She is a big part of the reason that I’m not living in complete fear right now. Please know that your kindness and compassion, support and listening ear really do make a difference… even if you can’t fix and solve all of our problems. The world needs more doctors just like you.

  5. Thank you Rachelle and Jessica for your kind words. The next day after writing this, I had a wonderful day filled with good news. I saw several patients who had made it through infertility and loss to have beautiful children. It helps to have these moments to think about, after being with someone through their heartache.

    Adriel, I just read your blog post. Thanks for sharing your personal journey, I know that must be challenging for you, but I also know it will help others going through similar circumstances. Please know that Jess and I praying for peace and a good report.

  6. Muthering Heights says:

    I truly cannot imagine how difficult it must be to deliver that news…it must be one of those moments filled with prayer!

  7. I have received very good news and some not so good news from Dr. Rupe over the past few years as my husband and I walked down our infertility road. She also is the physician that delivered our little miracle. Throughout it all, I always felt like she genuinely cared for me. That she would always give her honest, yet safest advice to me. And that she would do whatever she could to lessen my burden. We have laughed together and we have also cried together. She is real.
    I also had the wonderful privilege to work side by side with Dr. Rupe for awhile. And I can tell you that she is like this with all of her patients (not just me). Whether she has known them for years or meets them for the first time, they receive her undivided attention. She truly cares. Isn’t it refreshing to have a physician like that?
    You have a tough job, Dr. Rupe, but you do an amazing job!

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