Monday, September 7, 2009

Stop Using That Word.

There are many words I've come to despise. 'Sorry' is high on that list, but I understand why people say it and bite my tongue because we have so few words that are adequate to express what people wish to say to someone like me. I do it too.

The one I mean now is 'miscarriage' - I do not want to hear it again.

The attending OB at the hospital was gracious enough to explain (while my son was left lying alone on a tray in my sight, while I begged to see him and was repeatedly told they were checking him or cleaning him up for us - as if I cared - but I could see that there was no one with him) that I was a tough case to classify. Because technically, miscarriages occur before the 20th week of pregnancy and pre-term losses occur after 21 weeks of pregnancy and I was in-between with 20 weeks and some days. But he was considering it a miscarriage. How fantastic for us.

I got home today. I didn't want to come. But I did.

There were flowers, mostly dead now. A stack of cards. A bill for my ultrasound, notices that my insurance will be charged for my hospital stay and my 'care' there. As I sat down and forced myself to open all the cards, I found one from the OB I saw. I wanted to rip it up instead of opening it, because I feel that if he had returned my mw's calls in a timely manner (she called at 1:00 pm to consult him about the suspicion that my water had broken, despite the negative nitrazine test, and again at 3:00 when I called to say I was definitely having contractions and what should I do? Where should I go - the nearest hospital or the one across town where he practiced? He did not return either call, despite the second one clearly being an emergency situation until after 4:30. I want to scream when I think about how I should have just made up own mind and gone to any fucking hospital at that point instead of waiting to be told what to do) then Gabriel might have had a chance.

Certainly, Gabriel was alive until birth, and those extra two hours or so - more if he'd returned the first call and sent me to a hospital for an ultrasound check as my mw ought to have done but didn't - might have given us enough time to recognize labor before it was too advanced and try to stop it. I will never know if it would have made a difference or if Gabriel would have been born regardless, but not knowing if it could have made a difference (just as I question the care, or lack thereof, I received in the hospital - they did not check dilation or water breaking or use a doppler to find his heartbeat or try a monitor for contractions. I was there for over an hour before I was seen by the resident, who despite clear evidence of contractions sent me to radiology. I was not checked until about ten minutes before his birth, at which point I was over 6 cm dilated and it was too late. Have I mentioned that after being informed I would deliver soon and there was nothing to be done to stop it for Gabriel, I was left alone in triage? I delivered Gabriel alone with my husband in triage, screaming for a nurse, at least two other pregnant women nearby. I wake up in the mornings, reliving it and wondering if something might have been done if they had moved faster, checked me sooner, done something)... that makes this so much harder to process and deal with.

It leaves me feeling a lot of guilt (I should have gone in sooner, I should have insisted on an u/s, I should have called the OB myself, I should have gone to the other hospital sooner, I should have done something differently) and it leaves me with a lot of anger. It is one of those things . . . to have to question if my son would be alive now if it were not for the care I received, if it were not for the trust I placed in other people being trampled . . . it's hard to accept that this is how things are, because there is a possibility it could have been different. Perhaps a remote possibility, but the never knowing aspect eats at me in the early morning light.

But I don't want to talk more about that. I went ahead and opened the card and read it.

I want to talk about what the card said. "I heard about your miscarriage and wanted to express my sympathies."

My miscarriage?


This was not a miscarriage. I've had those. They suck. They are sad and awful and painful and I do not wish that on anyone. I've been told (as I explained above) that I was a hard case to classify, but the doctor would call it a miscarriage. Like I give a shit. I don't care if this is technically listed as a miscarriage.

I was in labor for at least 5 hours, probably more. I had painful contractions, I dilated and I gave birth vaginally (against my will, but so it was) to my son. My son was born alive, moving, with a heartbeat and trying to breathe. He lived for at least half an hour after his birth, and died in his parent's arms.

That is NOT a miscarriage. That is a birth and a death. To use the word miscarriage in that way implies that my son was not a baby, was not a human, did not live, and does not matter. It implies that there was never really a baby in existence. And there was. MY SON. Whose name is Gabriel Ross.

I do want one more medical professional to dismiss me and dismiss my son's life by using that word to make it neat and clinical. I deserve better than that, though after the 'care' I received from all of these people who were supposed to help us and look out for our best interests, I do know why I am surprised by this. But for fuck's sake, my son deserves better than that. He deserves to be acknowledged and respected and honored as a human being who lived on this earth, no matter how briefly.


Tamsyn said...

No. It was not a miscarriage (although I am sorely tempted to use that word in regards to the medical 'care' you received, along with 'travesty', 'fucking' and 'disgrace' in very close conjunction).

I can't believe they left you alone. When I think about how much careful reading into birth you did, how prepared you were, I want to cry when I think about how you birthed your little baby. You expressed your concerns, you sounded the alarm, and THEY DIDN'T LISTEN. This is not your fault. It is, as I read on another blog recently, not a sin to trust your healthcare providers; they are culpable for betraying your trust.

Katie Sommer said...

It is pretty much unfathomable, what happened to you at the hospital. I just can't believe how the...system let you down. Like Tamsyn said, you did everything you could, everything you possibly, possibly could, and you were disgustingly let down by those you should have been able to trust.

LDRN said...

Oh Eas....
I am so sorry for the loss of your son, but I sit here, crying with you, over the horrible way you were treated before/during/after your delivery. I am so angry right now because I represent that medical community, as a L&D nurse, and I KNOW that anywhere I've worked, we've tried our hardest to make sure to treat any patient quickly & fairly.
Will you be writing a letter to the OB office & hospital? I would. I would mention every detail of your treatment & that you will no longer be using anyone in their OB office or hospital. I would see if your MW could refer you elsewhere, too (if you decide you would be ready to try again.).
I am really so angry, I am shaking. I have taken care of patients who have to deliver stillborn babies, and those who deliver early preterm babies. I try my best to make sure the parents see & hold their child (even if it's termed a "miscarriage"/<20 weeks.), and especially if their baby is born alive. I have cried many tears with parents. It angers me so much because you had such a horrible experience.
I miss you. And I hope you are able to find answers to your questions, and that you get some healing soon. ::hugs::

AJ said...

I don't really know what to say, except that I'm angry for you. The way they treated you was not fair. You are a wonderful mother to Gabriel.

Schwandy said...

I am insanely angry at how you were been treated. Gabriel was not a miscarriage, he was a little baby boy and he deserves nothing less than being treated as one.

FWIW, My mother lost triplets in a similar fashion to how you lost Gabriel a couple of years before I was born. She told me once that, the pain of losing a child never goes away, and that it is only the person who becomes better at walking through life carrying the pain.
I hope that with each day it is a little bit easier for you too.

Much love,

Mrs.Rotty said...

I never thought it would be possible for me to read one blog entry and want to beat up an entire hospital worth of people. I am fuming for the way you were treated and the empty words they've used for you!

you and your family are in my thoughts dear.

gallerygirl said...

It angers me so much what you were put through. I cannot even put it into words.

Your life will forever defined by the date that you gave birth to Gabriel. Every event will be marked with before and after that tragic day. You will never be back to "normal" but you will have a new normal that includes all the love and grief that comes along with being a mother to him.

The OB is an ass. I would send him a copy of this blog entry and ask him to rewrite his sympathy card. I'll be thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

I hate your doctor. I HATE YOUR DOCTOR. Did I mention that?? I want to drive to Houston and go all Boadicea on him. I did not think I could possibly be any angrier at the universe but I find that oh. yes. I. can. because of that travesty of a physician.

Dawn~a~Bon said...

If *I* am shaking in rage and anger, I can't imagine how you're not bursting into flames. I'm so furious for you, and for little Gabriel. Please don't blame yourself. Can I just say, "What Tamsyn said?" Because she summed it up perfectly.

FUCK I wish there were some way I could pluck you out of this nightmare and make everything right. The unfairness of everything that's happened to you is overwhelming. I wish I could take a small part of that burden off you.

Katiedid1806 said...

I am furious at the treatment you and your son received by both that hospital and the ob. Furious! You absolutely did not have a miscarriage, and I cannot believe, regardless of the 'no man's land' the timing was in, that anyone would be stupid enough to think it was. Gabriel was alive, born to loving parents who were at least able to be with him as he passed.

Whatever you think, you cannot allow yourself to believe it was anything you did. It was so many things that they did, or did not do. No one should have to bear that sort of lack of care. You have my family's thoughts and prayers. Always.

Tim'sWifey said...

Okay, that's it Eas. I'm packing my car and should make it there in oh 24 hours. At which point I will give you the biggest hug ever and then raise hell at the doctor's office and hospital.

Katie said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your son, Gabriel.

I wish there was more that I could do or say. You, your husband, and your son are in my prayers.

Candice said...

I came here from Kisses for Kenzie. I have been on here for over an hour. I am horrified at how your family was treated. I know you hate this word, but I am so sorry for everything you have been through!!! I wish Gabriel was here with you. He should be. Don't blame yourself! We all entrust our care to our doctors. Also, you had already had so many scares before that turned out okay, so i can see why you were waiting it out a bit. Anyway, I am going to keep reading, but I had to comment on this post. I was just horrified that that you were treated taht way, giving birth without medical assistance. WTF!!!

And you did give a baby...your baby...Gabriel...and you should have been able to hold him and savor every second you had together.