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Utah Pregnancy After Loss Program Builds Support Network for Families with Help of Former Patients

On October 19, 2009, Jaymie Maines’ life changed forever.

Her full-term baby boy no longer had a heartbeat, and she would have to deliver immediately. James was born at midnight. For the next several hours, Maines and her husband held their baby, trying to process what had just happened.

“We had tried for two years to get James here, and when we got pregnant, we were ecstatic,” Maines said. “My pregnancy was very normal, and everything looked really good, but for some reason, he died.”

The loss left Maines and her family completely devastated. In the months following James’ death, Maines and her husband began to consider getting pregnant again. They were both terrified and conflicted at the thought.

“We knew we wanted to try again, but I also wanted the baby I had lost,” Maines said. “It is such a complicated place to be.”

Maines was referred to Robert M. (Bob) Silver, MD, a provider at University of Utah Health.

Silver has practiced in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at University of Utah Health for more than 30 years. He is chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and his clinical and research interests include pregnancy loss and stillbirth.

Six weeks after delivering James, Maines and her husband met with Silver.

“He sat down with us and went through all of my medical history and my chart,” Maines said. “He wanted to know why this had happened to me, just as much as I did.”

After reviewing the results of James’ placenta autopsy, Silver found that Maines had a blood clotting disorder that can cause miscarriages.

It wasn’t a definite reason for the loss of our baby. But it really helped to know that I had someone in my corner, doing as much as they could to help prevent me from losing another baby.
Jaymie Maines, Patient
Maines family with Dr. Silver at the recent UPAL ribbon cutting ceremony

Maines got pregnant soon after meeting with Silver.

“I started on daily shots to help address the blood clotting disorder,” she said. “I felt like I was doing something positive to get my baby here safe.”

Throughout her pregnancy, Maines met with Silver often.

“I was so anxious, and he saw me as often as I needed,” Maines said. “He would even call me when he was traveling or out of town, just to check on me.”

A year and nine days after losing James, Maines delivered her second baby—a girl named Hailey—at University of Utah Hospital.

“Thanks to Dr. Silver, we weren’t sitting around waiting for another loss to happen,” Maines said. “He was very proactive in my care, and I really felt like he did everything in his power to help me have a positive outcome.”

After Haylee arrived, two more babies followed—McCoy and Madyson.  

“Dr. Silver has delivered three of my babies, and with each one he has shown genuine care and interest,” Maines said. “While recovering from one of the births, I got a call from Dr. Silver as he was boarding a plane to leave the country. He wanted to make sure that I was doing okay.”

For Silver, supporting the mental and emotional health of his patients has always been paramount. 

When someone experiences pregnancy loss, one of the key things is to provide more than just medical support. Losing a baby is such an emotionally straining thing, we have got to be there to support our patients during this extremely difficult time.
Bob Silver, Obstetrics and Gynecology Department Chair
Utah Pregnancy After Loss Ribbon Cutting Event

This level of genuine care from Silver has not only helped Maines. It has inspired her to help others in similar circumstances. For the past 10 years, Maines has been volunteering at Share Parents of Utah. Volunteers like Maines visit with families who have experienced—or are currently experiencing—their own loss.

Over the past 10 years, Maines has made countless visits to hospitals across the Wasatch Front to support grieving families. For Maines, her goal is to help families make the most of the precious hours they have with their baby.

Maines is now helping with the newly established Utah Pregnancy After Loss Program. She was even there at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the program’s launch, scissors in hand.

The Utah Pregnancy After Loss Program was specifically designed to support families after a pregnancy loss, newborn death, or severely complicated pregnancy. The program is modeled after the Rainbow Clinic developed in the UK by Alex Heazell, PhD, at the University of Manchester.

The Utah Pregnancy After Loss Program has a support team of specialists for each and every patient, including physicians and nurses, mental health professionals, and peer support specialists.

The peer support network is an important part of the Utah Pregnancy After Loss Program. Families who are navigating a new pregnancy after loss have the opportunity to speak with other parents who have been through a similar journey. Speaking with other parents can bring healing, friendship, and an empathetic support network, unique to pregnancy after loss experience.

“We were blessed to find Dr. Silver,” Maines said. “I would not have made it without him, and I’m grateful to be part of the peer support network for parents who are trying to grow their family after a loss.”

This October marks 15 years since Maines lost her baby boy. As hard as it has been, she has found healing and meaning along the way.

I am grateful for the things I have been able to experience because of that loss. And as for James, we feel him, and we are grateful for him in our lives and in our family.
Jaymie Maines, Patient

More about the Utah Pregnancy After Loss Program

The Utah Pregnancy After Loss Program sees patients who have experienced the following:

•    Stillbirth for any reason
•    Newborn death for any reason
•    Termination of pregnancy for medical or obstetric reasons
•    Recurrent or other types of pregnancy loss
•    Placental disorders including preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction
•    Preterm birth due to medical or pregnancy problems

For those whose loss has just happened, the trauma is real, with answers and support hard to find. For those who seek another baby after loss, the road to a successful pregnancy is often a terrifying and lonely journey.

Families who have suffered loss, major pregnancy complications, and families who hope for another baby deserve cutting-edge medical care. They also often need mental health support in ways unique to their experience