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."
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.