Tuesday, July 30, 2013

THE follow-up

I had a meeting with the maternal fetal doctor today. They are the high risk doctors who would handle my next pregnancy. It was what I expected...
emotional, frustrating, and relieving, all at once. 
After waiting in the same room I used to wait in for ultrasounds of Evelyn, packed with every size, shape, color pregnant belly you could imagine, I was put into a room for a consultation. They had told me the doctor was busy but that she knew I was in there and would be in shortly. Two hours later I was still in that room surrounded by baby pamphlets, pictures and statues of ovaries, pregnancy books, all while knowing that in the rooms around me there were very pregnant women who were going to go home with healthy babies.
I was fine for the first hour and half screwing around on my phone, trying to keep myself occupied but it hit me suddenly. I wanted answers. I wanted to know why my baby died. I wanted to know when I could get pregnant again. I wanted to know what my next pregnancy would look like and if I should start looking for new jobs because of bed rest or the level of stress during the annual audit.
I had the urge to open the door and scream into the hallway, "DO YOU REALIZE, THAT FOR TWO HOURS, YOU HAVE BEEN TORTURING A MILDLY INSANE LADY WHOSE BABY JUST DIED !?!?!?! I started to frantically text my friends telling them I was on the verge of bursting into tears and running out. I felt alone. I felt like no one cared about me because I wasn't pregnant. I felt like they forgot about me because I was no longer carrying my child. Finally, I walked out and asked the front desk to reschedule an appointment because I needed to go. She could see the tears in my eyes.
Now, I don't know if this woman was some sort of angel or something but I needed her. She looked at me and said "oh...no no no come with me." She grabbed tissues for me and put me back in the room and darted off to find the doctor I had the appointment with. She apologized a million times and insisted it would only be 5 more minutes.
The doctor finally came in and she too was extremely apologetic. She started off with how sorry she was for my loss, as most do, and then proceeded to dig deeper into Evelyn's autopsy and genetic testing results. My doctor had already told me everything was normal but that the maternal fetal medicine doctors could explain things better.
The doctor assured me that extensive tests were done on both her and me. She rattled off names of over 20 different tests with the results following them. Normal. Normal. Normal. Normal. Nothing. Not even a guess. They tested her blood, my blood, how I bled, if she bled, the placenta, my thyroid, and a laundry list of diseases.  Nada.
The appointment could have ended then if I wanted. There were no recommendations of how to go about the next pregnancy. She said they wouldn't even take the baby too early because my body has proven to be able to carry a baby.  "Due to how healthy everything looks and how healthy you are, you have a 1% chance of this ever happening again."  She guaranteed me that I would get tested constantly during the next pregnancy but only after 32 weeks. "The percentage of a baby dying with these tests are .08%." Little does she know statistics mean absolutely nothing to me these days. I am a statistic. Unless it is a 0% chance - I don't care.
The doctor was very nice and I have no complaints other than me waiting in that awful room for so along. She was very honest in saying she really couldn't offer any medical advice because...there was nothing seemingly wrong. Thankfully,  she re-assured me that her death was not caused by anything I ate, drank, stressed about. 18% of the stillbirths at that hospital are unresolved.
Her final recommendation was therapy. The weeks between 34 and 37 weeks of the next pregnancy will be frightening and I will need someone to help guide me through them. I appreciate that. It is absolutely something I consider when planning the next one. She gave me information on nearby grief and loss counselors but needed to grab her business cards and asked me meet her up at the front. The front desk lady was still there and saw I was holding a pamphlet for grief and loss. She looked me in the eye and said "They have wonderful women here to help you...I know from experience." I smiled and thanked her for everything. She continued, "You know, I was a patient here before I worked here. I truly hope I see you here again. They will take good care of you and until then I wish you the best of the luck in everything you do. Have a great night honey, okay?"
She's what I needed. A reminder that I'm not alone. They didn't forget me. They were short-staffed. She has suffered and she was proof that we dont have to be bitter and sad the rest of our lives about it. I envied her attitude and hope that one day mine reflects hers.
 How could I be mad after that? Love being reminded of goodwill.

1 comment:

  1. That lady sounds wonderful! I'm so glad she was there to comfort you xx