Difficult Conversations Podcast
Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician
Episode 117 | November 10, 2020
My Journey with Stillbirth
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya
Author, Advocate and Speaker
Welcome to the Difficult Conversations with Dr. Anthony Orsini. Our special guest today is Debbie Haine. Her daughter, Autumn Joy, was born still in 2011. Somehow out of tragedy, she made it to through the darkest days and came out on other side. Since then she has been a dedicated and tireless advocate of stillbirth rights, promoting research at both state and national levels and working towards improving stillbirth outcomes and awareness. Debbie’s horrific experience regarding the care she received when her daughter was born still led her to push for state and national reform. As a result of her tireless efforts, Governor Chris Christie passed the Autumn Joy Stillborn Research and Dignity Act in 2014. Debbie also founded The 2 Degrees Foundation, a non-profit organization in New Jersey. In March 2020, Loretta Weinburg, Senate Majority Leader, introduced the Stillbirth Resource Center, to help fill many of the gaps related to stillbirth care. Dr. Orsini keeps his promise about two things, that you will be inspired, and you will learn communication techniques that will help you in your personal and professional life.
Debbie shares her story with us, starting from her second trimester checkup when the doctor couldn’t detect Autumn’s heartbeat. On July 8, 2011, she gave birth to Autumn and in her words “nothing can prepare you for the moment that you deliver your dead baby”. She tells us some things that happened in the hospital that did not go very well and the words and actions of people that made things worse. Find out why she felt like she was thrown into a deep, dark ditch and left to find her own way out. Dr. Orsini shares some advice when he teaches patient experience and mentions imagination and compassion. After experiencing the lack of support from the medical community and the uncaring way she felt treated, Debbie’s “Jersey” came out and she said “I’m going to fix this”. We find out what she does, and she explains the Autumn Joy Stillbirth Research and Dignity Act. She tells us that if there was a way to break the stigma associated with stillbirth and make it a safe conversation, women would feel more comfortable. Dr. Orsini shares the all too common story about parents having twins and one is stillbirth and how people often pretend that the other one didn’t really exist. He gives some great advice on what you should say and do in this situation. Debbie tells us all about The 2 Degrees Foundation, how we can help, how to get involved, and where to donate. We end with some incredible words of wisdom from Debbie to healthcare professionals and mothers. If you loved this episode, please hit the subscribe button to find out more about what we do and how we teach communication. Go ahead and download this episode now!
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Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (1s):
I found losing Autumn to stillbirth one of the most isolating experiences because people don’t know about it
and they don’t talk about it. And that’s what made me, I felt like I almost was wearing a scarlet, A, I didn’t feel
comfortable talking about it. I didn’t feel comfortable with what cards I’ve been dealt because no one knew it.
It wasn’t something that people talked about.
Welcome to Difficult Conversations Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician with Dr. Anthony Orsini. Dr.
Orsini is a practicing physician and the President and CEO of the Orsini Way. As a frequent keynote speaker
and author Dr Orsini has been training healthcare professionals and business leaders how to navigate
through the most difficult dialogues. Each week, you will hear inspiring interviews with experts in their field
who tell their story and provide practical advice on how to effectively communicate. Whether you are a
doctor faced with giving a patient bad news, a business leader who wants to get the most out of his or her
team members or someone who just wants to learn to communicate better.
Announcer (1m 16s):
This is the podcast for you.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (1m 19s):
And I’m honored today that the Orsini Way has partnered with the Finley project to bring you this episode of
Difficult Conversations Lessons I learned as an ICU Physician. The Finley project is a non profit organization
committed to providing care for mothers who have experienced the unimaginable, the loss of an infant. If it
was created by their founder, Noelle Moore whose sweet daughter Finley died in 2013, if it was at that time,
that Noelle realize that there was a large gap between leaving the hospital without your baby. And the time
when you get home, that letter to start the Finley project, that Finley project is the nation’s only seven part
holistic program that helps mothers after infant loss, by supporting them physically and emotionally, they
provide such things as mental health counseling, funeral arrangements, support, grocery gift cards,
professional house cleaning, professional massage therapy, and support group placement.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (2m 13s):
The Finley project has helped hundreds of women across the country. And I can tell you that I have seen
personally how the Finley project has literally saved the lives of mothers who lost their infant. If you are
interested in learning more or referring a family or donating to this amazing cause please go to the Finley
project.org. The Finley project believes that no families should walk out of the hospital without support. Well
welcome to another episode of Difficult Conversations: Lessons I learned as an ICU Physician and this is
back there Anthony Orsini and I will be your host today in every week moving forward. Although I only
started this podcast back in early August, I’ve been very fortunate to have some great guests, and today is
Dr. Anthony Orsini (2m 54s):
As with every episode of my promise to each and every listener is to leave feeling inspired, learn a little more
about communication, especially during those times of our lives that are most critical. This week is no
exception. Today I have the honor to have a conversation with Debbie Haine. Debbie is a good friend.
Someone who I worked with before and someone who I admire a great deal. On July 8th, 2011, Debbie’s
daughter Autumn Joy was born still ans as expected, her life would never be the same. Debbie experienced
the loss that a few people could ever imagine. That Somehow out of the tragedy she made it to the other
side. Since that horrible day in 2011 Debbie has been a dedicated and tireless advocate of stillbirth rights
and research at both the state and national level.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (3m 38s):
She’s been working tirelessly towards improving stillbirth outcomes and to raise stillbirth awareness.
Debbie’s horrific experience regarding the care that she received when her daughter autumn was born still,
led her to push for state and national reform. In 2013, Debbie assisted in drafting new Jersey’s first ever
Stillbirth legislation. And in June of 2014, Governor Chris Christie passed the Autumn Joy Stillborn Research
and Dignity Act. Later that year, the Debbie founded the 2 Degrees Foundation. A New Jersey based
organization, dedicated to giving her a family in the state, a fighting chance against stillbirth. Most recently
she has been working with health care professionals, key opinion leaders in the Senate Majorities office to
bring her a vision for the first ever stillbirth focus Center in the country, in her home state of New Jersey.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (4m 23s):
Then after much hard work in March 5th, 2020 Senate Majority Leader to Loretta Weinberg introduced the
Stillbirth Resource Center. The Stillbirth Resource Center would help fill many of the gaps we played at the
stillbirth, especially with regards to data collection. It’s hope that the research conducted by the Stillbirth
Resource Center, will result in real solutions that we’ll one day to prevent or greatly reduce the incidence of
stillbirth at births. Debbie is also a member of this stillbirth advocacy working group co-chaired by the
international Stillbirth Alliance and London school of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Debbie resides in New
Jersey with her husband and two children. Well welcome, Debbie.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (5m 3s):
Well, thank you for having me Tony, happy to be here.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (5m 6s):
And first of all, thank you so much for taking the time to be. I know your schedule is very busy. You work
tirelessly towards stillbirth advocacy and I’m really happy and I think my audience is in for a real treat today.
To me, you are really the epitome of someone who experiences a tragedy and then takes that tragedy to use
it towards making the world a better place. My mother-in-law he used to tell me, as we were growing up,
always leave a place better than you found it. And I think that you’re the epitome of someone who is
experienced something horrible, but then wants to do everything possible to make sure that this doesn’t
happen again to someone else. So I’m really honored that you are here.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (5m 46s):
And I know your story with you and I have known each other, I think probably about four years now, we’ve
worked together. You were an instructor for a breaking bad news, and you’ve always had some really great
advice for the people that we train the young doctors, but if you would just take a moment and tell the
audience about the day that Autumn was born and what happened subsequently after that. And so maybe,
perhaps we’ll talk a little bit later about the communications, if that happened before and after.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (6m 15s):
Sure,actually my story starts on July 7th during my routine, second trimester checkup. The doctor told me
that she couldn’t detect Autumn’s heartbeat. It was the most innocent of moments that took a horrifically
tragic turn. And on July 8th is when I gave birth to Autumn and nothing can prepare you for the moment that
you deliver your dead baby. For me, it was like a switch had flipped. My life irrevocably changed the second
that I brought Autumn into this world. I was devastated and mad beyond words. You know, for me, I couldn’t
wrap my head around how something like this could happen to me, bad things like this happen to other
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (6m 58s):
And here I was my daughter dead, stillborn and I didn’t know why. I thought at this point, you know, I’ve
written about this a lot. I’ve said that, you know, I thought I’d paid my dues to the fertility gods, I had almost
died due to a late presentation of group B strep after the birth of my first daughter and had then
subsequently the following two years suffered two miscarriages. I always believe that after my first trimester,
I was good to go. I didn’t think that much more could possibly go wrong up until the point that I lost Autumn I
honestly really didn’t even know what the true definition of stillbirth was.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (7m 43s):
No one could explain to me at that time why she died or promise me that it wouldn’t happen again. I really
truly was at a loss. I’d at that point had 3 failed pregnancies in a row after a seamlessly easy first pregnancy.
And I guess the best answer about all of why I do what I do is because I couldn’t sit by and not do anything. I
was compelled to give Autumn a voice. I couldn’t let her life be lost in vain. I wanted to do more for my living
daughter, Maya, because we also still don’t understand if stillbirth is hereditary.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (8m 26s):
And I really wanted to raise stillbirth awareness so that other families weren’t caught in the same situation as
I was and are learning what stillbirth was the moment that it happened to them.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (8m 41s):
And it was nine years ago. So I totally understand this is not something that anyone ever can get over and I
could still hear your voice quivering, as you tell it. I’m sure this is story that you’ve told hundreds of times.
Correct? And we had a good friend of mine here in Florida who runs a 501C3 called the Finley Project. And
Noelle Moore also had a loss. And I know her story just as well as I know yours. And one thing in common is
she still gets choked up whenever she tells that story. So I can’t even imagine what it must be like for you.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (9m 24s):
You told me the story of what happened after Autumn was born still. There were some things that happened
in the hospital. We won’t name the hospital, but there were some things that happened in the hospital that
did not go very well. And we talk about Difficult Conversations and difficult situations and how we as human
beings can handle that can either help somebody or hurt them. And it sounds like from your story, I’m
convinced from your story is that there wasn’t much that they did to make it better. In fact, they probably, I
know they did a lot of things to make it worse than that really fueled you moving forward. So tell us about
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (10m 5s):
So, from the minute that I walked onto the labor and delivery floor, they put me into a room and left me alone
to change. And I’ll never forget that they ask my husband to leave me alone. And I was standing there and
I’m starting to get undressed. And I hear the cry of a newborn baby from the room next door. And it stopped
me in my tracks. And apparently the nurse must’ve been standing outside the door and she rushed in to get
me to bring me to a room all the way in the opposite end of the hallway, where no one was around.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (10m 46s):
And no one never even said, I’m so sorry. She just said, Oh, this was the wrong room. And brought me there
and left me to, to continue what I was doing. And from the moment that I was changed in, in my bed, you
know, I was bombarded with questions where all I was was hoping that they were going to find out that they
were wrong. I would get more testing. And they were going to say, this was a huge mistake where so sorry.
So I was really in denial. What was going on at that moment. and I’ll never forget the social worker came in
and started asking me about all these questions about what I wanted to do and hold the baby, take pictures
of the baby, take pictures with the baby, all these things that I couldn’t wrap my head around.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (11m 38s):
And, you know, I will regret it for the rest of my life, but I said, no, because I could not, I wanted it to stop. I
wanted her to ask, stop asking me questions. I wanted her to go away. And she never once came back to
ask me if I changed my mind and things progressively got worse at that point, you know, after I delivered
Autumn, as I mentioned earlier, I had gotten very, very sick after the birth of my first daughter. And one of the
biggest concerns after delivering her was that I could always possibly get Strep B again. And what would we
do if it happens?
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (12m 20s):
And so after I delivered autumn, I was in a ton of pain. I was feeling really awful. And one of the things that
the hospital mandates is that you talk to a hospital psychiatrist after you have lost a child. And so the doctor
came in to see me. And in that particular moment, I was in a ton of pain and he looks at me and sits down
and asked me to look him in the eyes and says, I think that the pain that you’re feeling is psychosomatic. I
want you to calm down. I think this is a psychosomatic, its not real. And I basically kicked him out of my
room and you know, I was furious and he left.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (13m 2s):
What happened following that I was discharged few days later with nothing more than a hand-out on the 10
stages of grief and a pat on the back. And they bid me farewell. And it just so happened that I was still
continuing to be in a ton of pain. And I was readmitted the next day to the hospital and realized as I was
trapped in a room by myself, not on a labor and delivery floor, no one was checking on me that I was super
anxious and really unhappy. And wasn’t quite sure how to manage. And so I asked the nurse for some
anxiety medication and I had to speak with a hospital psychiatrist ,to, for them in order to fill my requests.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (13m 44s):
So the same doctor came to see me. And then without even looking at my chart, sits down and says, I see
that you’re looking for anxiety, medications, aren’t you breastfeeding?
Dr. Anthony Orsini (13m 56s):
Oh my God.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (13m 57s):
I had a few choice words for him. And he left and within two minutes I had some, I think Xanax sitting on in
my hand. And so I left there angry and really mad at how I was treated. And it, it didn’t help matters that after
I came home, all I did was try to search for answers. I wanted to understand what had happened. And I was
calling a number of different organizations. There aren’t that many that, that you can find that focus on
stillbirth and I’ll never forget. I called one and I was crying and it was said, explain what happened. And I
said, you know, I see you know, I’ve been told I had a fetal demise, but I also see that there is this stillbirth
and are they the same thing?
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (14m 47s):
And the woman on the other end of the line said I don’t know, let me call you back. And she never called me
back. And from that moment on I, I had it. What, what can I say? I’m a Jersey girl. I was done. I was like, I’m
going to fix this for others. It’s unacceptable. It’s inexcusable. How I was treated? It’s unacceptable that
people who supposedly even work in organizations that seem to be focused on stillbirth don’t know the
definition of what one is let alone don’t call someone back. Who was just hysterical on the phone. So yeah,
unfortunately I don’t have a positive story or a conversation that propelled me down this path of advocacy.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (15m 31s):
It was all really bad and I just was not okay with it
Dr. Anthony Orsini (15m 38s):
But there were opportunities along the way that the hospital and during your grieving period, and during your
tragic loss, that there were opportunities for people to have a conversation with you that might’ve made it a
little less worse, or at least not made it worse because it, it correct me if I’m wrong. It sounds like there were
people who said things that made things even worse.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (16m 3s):
Absolutely. And there is a huge opportunity to at, I mean, and it, and it’s true. It is nothing can make it better,
but there is an opportunity to there to not make someone feel worse about the situation that they are in and
to support them. And it, at least to give them a platform to jump off of when they’re ready, I was basically
thrown into a deep dark ditch and then left to find my way out .On my own .
Dr. Anthony Orsini (16m 34s):
For the audience out there. And for you, I’d say you and I have had to this conversation before, and there’s
two things going on right now that we’re trying to fix. In medicine, 1. is that things to people who see
something every day, sometimes become routine. And in medicine, I do a lot of teaching of a patient
experience. And one of the things that I stress I call imagination and what happens in medicine is that this
may have been the fifth stillbirth of the week for the very large hospital. I know what hospital. It was, but it’s
you’re still birth, that’s the only one that you will ever have.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (17m 15s):
And, in order for the people who are entering that room to genuinely feel the empathy. And actually it’s not an
empathy, it’s compassion. And I’ll tell you what the differences in a second, you need to take a moment to
imagine what it’s like. And so things become routine. And it sounds like that was the first error that everyone
did at that hospital. And we talk about empathy and compassion. During my lectures, empathy is
understanding someone’s pain and people can be empathetic. That’s great. Compassion takes it to a whole
new level. Compassion in Latin means With pain. And so it means that you’re actually feeling that person’s
pain in the only way to get from empathy to compassion is through imagination.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (17m 60s):
There were a lot of opportunities for those nurses and that psychiatrist, just to take a moment and remind
themselves that this is what’s going on with Debbie and imagine what it would be like to be her. None of us
can really, truly imagine that, but at least try in the conversation would go better. So we talk about learning
how to communicate it. And there’s a lot of do’s and don’ts and you and I worked with breaking bad news
and I trained physicians all over the country on how to do that. But a major step is just take the time and
imagine what it would be like in most people’s compassion will flow, it really does surprise me that this
psychiatrist was the conversation that you remember as being the worst.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (18m 44s):
’cause one would think that the psychiatrists would be the best at it right?
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (18m 47s):
Okay. One would think and hope that it’s not the case. And I will note that I did write a letter to the hospital
because I was so floored, but they seem to just say, thank you for your time. We will make sure to speak
Dr. Anthony Orsini (19m 0s):
And the second thing that’s happening here. So you have number one what’s going on is that we felt that
take a moment to imagine that this is the only stillbirth that Debbie is having at this particular moment. And
secondly, no one wants to give bad news. No one wants to be around tragedy because it reminds all of us
have what can happen to us. And so we’re uncomfortable. Then you’d take nursing school, a medical school
that totally ignore this topic. They don’t teach you what to say. They don’t tell you how to say it. And so now
you’re asking someone who is stressed out, or this is no excuse. I’m just trying to explain it to the audience.
They’re stressed out. They were never taught to take the moment to imagine they were never taught what to
Dr. Anthony Orsini (19m 45s):
And all of a sudden, we end up making a horrible, horrible nightmare, worst, which is hard to do. It’s hard to
take something like that would make it worse, what they did,
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (19m 57s):
Dr. Anthony Orsini (19m 59s):
So even the people that you reached out didn’t have great conversations with you, they put you on hold and
told you, they’d call you back. And instead of going downward in a downward spiral, you, this was what I
really, really respect you for you said your Jersey came out and you said, I’m going to fix this. Right? And,
and tell me what you did after that.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (20m 24s):
I started writing. I wrote a lot, I was fortunate enough to write a piece that got picked up by the New Jersey
Star Ledger, which is the largest paper here in New Jersey. And I got the cover of the opinion page on a
Sunday. And somehow it landed on the desk of the Senate Majority Leader here in New Jersey, Senator
Loretta Weinberg and she showed compassion and empathy for what I had been through. She agreed with
what I had to say and thought that it would make perfect sense to work on legislation that would improve
policies and protocols for hospitals, for what when stillbirth occurs.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (21m 8s):
And I was able to see that Improving data collection, would be like she really valuable. That helped me with
that part of the beginning of my advocacy journey as far as the writing and getting everything off my chest, it
was very cathartic. I also felt like I was doing my part where I could in raising awareness and then to try to
make a real difference and create change in 2014 Governor Chris Christie passed the Autumn Joy Stillborn
Research and Dignity act, which is the first stillbirth legislation here in the state. And it’s been, it hasn’t done
as much as I would have liked to think that it would, but that’s politics for you.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (21m 55s):
And I’m learning that. But between that soon after the bill got passed, I established the two degrees
Foundation, which really has allowed me to connect with the number of different women who have been
impacted by stillbirth and other forms of pregnancy loss, and to empower them and help them as best as I
could, because at the end of the day, I just want to help to make things better where I can, whether it’s
through policy, whether it’s through communicating with them and giving them a place to share their feelings
with no judgment. So that’s been, that’s been exciting for me.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (22m 37s):
And I want to hear more about the 2degrees Foundation but if you want to go back to the Autumn Joy
Stillbirth with Research and Dignity Act first of all, I would imagine that it is not easy getting legislation
through anything, but what does the Autumn Joy Stillbirth Research and Dignity Act do at It’s finest. Is that
the politics I didn’t get into the problem? What should it do
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (23m 3s):
In its most simplest, basic form the purpose behind it is to improve data capture around stillbirth events,
establish a more consistent protocols for when a stillbirth occurs in a hospital and increased sensitivity
around those protocols for suffering families.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (23m 21s):
Clearly there were no protocols at the hospital that Autumn was born.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (23m 26s):
Clearly there were none. No
Dr. Anthony Orsini (23m 28s):
And now hopefully that hospital does have policies? Yes I hope?
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (23m 33s):
Unfortunately, I’ve spoken to other women who’ve delivered there over the past two years and they have not
really improved much of what they had going on. So
Dr. Anthony Orsini (23m 44s):
A lot of work to do. I know that your not going to stop doing that. Was there any conversation because we
always wanted to inspire and give advice. Was there any conversation or any opportunity to have a
conversation along your journey that someone could have said to you? What advice would you give to
someone who said I am in this situation, this woman just had a stillbirth and I need to go in the room,
whether I’m a doctor, a nurse, a social worker, what would you say Debbie to them? This is what I would
have needed. This would’ve been a good way to approach this. A tough question. I know
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (24m 23s):
That’s a really a tough question. I truthfully don’t think there is a lot to say. I found losing Autumn to stillbirth
one of the most isolating experiences. because people don’t know about it and they don’t talk about it. And
that’s what made me, I felt like I almost was wearing a Scarlet A, I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it. I
didn’t feel comfortable with what cards I’ve been dealt. It wasn’t something that people talked about. And so I
think if there was a way to which I’ve one of the many things I’ve been working towards to break the stigma
associated with stillbirth and make it a conversation.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (25m 16s):
I think that women would feel more comfortable at the same way that miscarriages, I mean, you say, I’m
sorry, I’m sorry for your loss. And you know, I wish there was more that I could do. I think just having
someone say, I’m going to sit here with you and if you have a feeling, you can share it with me. And if not, I
just don’t want you to be alone. But I think it’s a much bigger picture where if we can find a way to make it a
safe conversation so that women are aware that these things do happen, do they happen to everyone? No,
but are they happening? Yes. Are they happening too much? Absolutely.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (25m 56s):
And I think that if women are aware of it and it happens and you’re not dealing with all those other emotions
on top of finding out that you’ve lost your baby, the guilt that you feel that maybe you did something wrong or
everyone else is having babies, but you didn’t. I think that that would just help soften the blow of this news of
that. You get, when you find out that your baby has died.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (26m 25s):
That’s a conversation, a difficult conversation that people don’t want to have because they feel
uncomfortable. I’m surprised in the 25 years have been practicing medicine. For instance, how many times
people have twins, mother had twins and one is stillbirth. And the baby that survived is with the mother and
doctors and nurses will come in and say, congratulations and pretend that the other baby didn’t really exist.
And its not that their not good people. They’re all good people. It’s just uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable.
And what I do is I make it a point to say, I’m sorry for your loss.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (27m 8s):
And you can see the parents really do appreciate that. That there’s a reason why this baby has a B after
their name. Okay. And that we know that that baby has to be after their name because it’s a twin and the
other twin was born stillbirth but we’re going to be almost pretend that that baby wasn’t here. And just, as
you said before, just may be sitting. There may be the best advice we can give to the audience to sit there
and say, I’m here. If you want to talk, I’m here or whatever you need. I’m here. One of the big mistakes that
your hospital made is that they should have taken pictures. They should have encourage you to hold your
Autumn. If you didn’t want to, that’s perfectly your choice.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (27m 50s):
We have babies and the NICU and in OB that pass away and I’ll ask the mother, she wants pictures. And
many times they’ll say no, but usually I’ll follow that up with, well, how about I take some pictures? I hold
them. And if you want them, you can always call me. And our hospital does do that. And I’ve been very
fortunate to work in hospitals that have done that. And statistically 90% of mothers do as pick up the phone
later on and say, do you have those pictures. Sometimes it’s up to several months. In fact, if I’m not
mistaken, most hospitals keep those pictures for one year.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (28m 24s):
They do. They do. They do. And, and trust me, I called and they didn’t.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (28m 29s):
Because you don’t know, then that’s when I want physicians out there and nurse’s to know that you are
acting the way you are acting in one of the things that we know that 90% of mothers are going to want those
pictures later, but you didn’t know that at the time. The He mother, this is, I don’t want the picture’s. They
didn’t know that at the time. So its an opportunity for you to say, I’ll take the pictures. I’ll just hold them for
you. ’cause you know that they’re going to call back and if they don’t, that’s fine. But I think the best lesson
that you taught us is there’s really not much that you can say what to say, but just be there.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (29m 0s):
Yeah. To your actions it’s being there. And I will, I will just add that. I think it would be fair to also ask if they
have a name for their baby and then you can call their baby by their name because they were alive at one
point they are still their baby and will always be their baby.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (29m 20s):
That’s great advice. Yeah. And it’s something that we sometimes forget, but you do have to do that. And I
really, I think that’s really fantastic advice. Tell me about the 2 Degrees Foundation and how we can help and
what you’re doing with it and all of the exciting things on how the audience out there can get involved.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (29m 38s):
Well, our mission and vision is pretty simple. We wanna provide every family in Jersey, have a fighting
chance against stillbirth. You know, where Jersey, you know, in New Jersey stillbirth rate has been holding
steady at approximately 700 Stillbirth a year. And those are only the ones that are recorded. And as with
most adverse health outcomes, there are long standing and persistent racial disparities with regards to
stillbirth here in the state. African-American women experienced stillbirth at more than three times the rate
than Caucasian women. And it’s simple more needs to be done. Everyone deserves the opportunity to have
a healthy baby.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (30m 19s):
So right now our goal is to raise money. There’s not a lot of education in training going on right now because
of the COVID situation. We were planning on having our first huge fundraiser, which is very sad to say that
will not be happening this fall because of the current climate with everything going on. And I think that right
now we would love money. They would definitely help with the Center if we were able to get the bill passed,
but that’s a tall order. So I know that that’s probably not as realistic as it is to have support. Please become a
member, join us and follow us on social media so that you can learn about what we’re trying to do.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (31m 2s):
And if, and when the opportunity presents for them to help, whether they ask to volunteer or, or whether they
ask, if they can donate, they know how to find us. Because as you said before, I am not going anywhere.
Two degrees is not going anywhere and we have some big plans. So hopefully we can make them all
happen. At some point in the future,
Dr. Anthony Orsini (31m 24s):
The world needs more Debbie Haines or that’s for sure. And you, because you are not going anywhere. And
I like that and you are not going to stop until you get what you need. And I think you should, because it, is it
something that is wasn’t being talked about enough? I think thanks to you and other organizations that were
changing, that if they want to donate or get involved, what’s the website that they should go
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (31m 50s):
Well, it’s www dot the, two the number two degrees.org.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (31m 57s):
And then I’ve been on the website and it’s a fantastic organization. Debbie and I have worked together on
different, breaking bad news projects. I hope that we can work together again. Debbie in closing before I’d
say thank you and goodbye. Any words of wisdom to two people out there one way or the wisdom to the
healthcare professionals on what they can do to help and words of wisdom to mothers who have just had a
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (32m 23s):
My words of wisdom to the healthcare professionals is to be respectful, compassionate, and empathetic.
Even if you’re having the worst day ever. You’re not having as bad a day as that family, that couple, that
mother is having. My words of wisdom to mothers are simple. Be kind to yourself. There is no rule book as to
what this looks like or what you’re supposed to do. Follow your gut, believe in yourself. And know that if you
find that you want to advocate for yourself in the future pregnancies or any other time, do it.
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (33m 11s):
I want to empower women more than anything to speak up for themselves and never doubt themselves.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (33m 19s):
That’s great advice. If you are a health care professional or if you are a mother whose experienced the
stillbirth or someone out there who just wants to help this cause please go to the two Degrees Foundation
donate your time, donate your money. If you can, whatever you can do, because it is something that we
really need help with and we need more Debbie Haine out there. I just want to say thank you again. Debbie if
you enjoyed this podcast, please go ahead and hit the subscribe button, download and leave a review. If you
need to find out more about what we do @theorsiniway you can go to theorsiniway.com website and you can
email me or contact us through that.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (34m 1s):
Debbie thank you again so much. Thank you for being you. You certainly were inspiring and you certainly
gave some great advice to people that I think I accomplished my tasks to the audience today. so thank you
Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya (34m 13s):
Thank you for having me. It was a truly was an honor.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (34m 17s):
Well before we leave it, I want to thank you for listening to this episode of Difficult Conversations: Lessons I
learned as an ICU Physician and I want to thank the Findley project for being in such an amazing
organization. Please, everyone who’s listening to this episode, go ahead. Visit the Finley project.org. See the
amazing things they’re doing. I’ve seen this organization literally saved the lives of mothers who have lost
infants. So to find out more, go to the Finley project.org. Thank you. And I we’ll see you again on Tuesday.
Announcer (34m 47s):
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Dr. Anthony Orsini
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