Friday, October 29, 2010


Today I am stuck in the midst of hell. Stuck, stuck, stuck and it feels like there's a big hand from above actually holding me down in all of it.

A different kind of list today, an antilululist of sorts.

FFS #1: Got a call from the NICU social worker today to set up a meeting to go over pathology and autopsy...And yes, this is a meeting we need to have. We have a lot of unanswered questions. Otis was without oxygen for 90 seconds in his shoulder dystocia, but everyone we've spoken with (both at the hospital and outside of the hospital) agrees this shouldn't be enough to cause fatal brain damage. My placenta was small but not small enough to cause fatal brain damage. My baby was big...and I knew he was big...and I asked repeatedly at prenatal appointments if anyone was concerned about how big he was and they kept saying no. But they never even did a fucking growth u/s after 20 weeks. (I know, I know, they are notoriously inaccurate. And I would've been upset if they had tried to push me into a c-section, most likely.) And yet, he was huge, as I knew he was going to be. Too big for my pelvis to birth. Why did they take off the monitors in those last five minutes when they had me holding to wait for the doctor to do the catch? And if I hadn't had to wait for the doctor to do the catch, would he have lived? Was it in those five minutes that we lost him? Was his cord compressed before the dystocia as well? Today my mindset is saying that I should be researching attorneys and getting a lawyer to attend this meeting with us. I know that nothing can bring my baby back, but more and more I am thinking that they seriously effed things up in those last minutes of my delivery.

FFS #2: Last night's dinner delivery was from a couple from our childbirth class. I knew they were coming, I expected them to come, and I even thought I was going to be okay seeing their 8 week old son. They were enormously considerate, left the baby in the car and were ready to just drop off the food but we invited them in. I really thought I wanted to see them and wanted to meet their baby. I haven't been so wrong about assuming something would be okay for me in a while. I was absolutely destroyed. His hands, his lips, his squishy perfect little arms -- they reminded me so much of Otis, so much of what we don't get to have, so much of what we lost. I fumbled for words, reeling as soon as I saw him. I felt like I was going to pass out. I felt like I was going to throw up. I stumbled awkwardly. I stuck my foot in my mouth. I tried to stay composed. I probably should have just started screaming like I wanted to. I tried to signal E that I needed to get the hell out of that situation, but I couldn't get him to read my mind. It was awful.

FFS #3: The new elliptical is having issues. I got on it today in hopes of pounding out some of my stress, and the damn thing started this clinkety clinking sound that had me yelling profanities loudly at it ten minutes into the workout. I tried to schedule service for it - but I can't get the damn serial number because it requires me to lift the behemoth and turn it over onto its side.

FFS #4: The elementary school had their Halloween parade this morning and we are right on their parade route. I thought that looking out the window might cheer me up. Umm, second horrible assumption gone wrong in less than 24 hours. I saw all the adorables in their adorable costumes, and then saw like 5 moms holding young babies in adorable costumes, and just started howling. I should be holding my Otis in his adorable bat costume that we bought five days before I went into labor. I should NOT be scheduling meetings to go over his autopsy.

FFS #5: Oh, and last night in the mail I got my hospital bill for my postpartum stay and Otis's stay at the NICU. They are trying to charge me an extra day because they say I was discharged at midnight so they charge for the extra day. Umm, I was discharged at midnight because I spent six hours that afternoon/evening holding my son as he lay dying in my arms, not thinking about completing discharge paperwork but THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN and then when I asked for discharge paperwork to be completed at 10 PM (and I have discharge paperwork with a 10pm timestamp on it) but it took them two hours to "find a wheelchair" to wheel me out of the hospital (even though I had been walking around for two days at that point.) Apparently the wheelchair BS was a way to keep me there until midnight so they could charge me for an additional day of hospitalization? Bogus. Beyond bogus. Trust me, they have already gotten an earful from me. And I know some of this is displaced anger, anger that I didn't wheel out of there with my healthy baby boy, but I also think I have the right to be angry that someone didn't flag my file with "umm let's finetooth comb this one because we should probably be super cautious and respectful with them right now..." Even the NICU social worker that I spoke with today told me that it was BS and she'd see if she could speak to people in the business office to get it resolved.

FFS #6: Our effing doula had the nerve to try to refriend me on FB today. Umm, I dropped you for a reason, lady. I didn't want to continue to see all your effing stupid BS postings about how beautiful and successful all the births you attend are and I certainly didn't want your voyeuristic eyes spying on my recovery process (or as much of it as you can see from FB, that is.) I saw your damn page once and all it said about our birth was that it was long. Fess up, our baby DIED. You were there. Own it. I don't care if it looks bad for business.

She hasn't made any effort to reach out to us since the birth - probably a good thing since she'd get an earful and a half from me - but a friend request on FB (after I "unfriended" her, even!) is just about the stupidest most dysfunctional way of reaching out (from her) that I can think of. No note, no card, no message - just a fucking friend request. You are not my friend, lady. I will never forgive you for some of the shit you tried to pull with me during my labor. Do NOT think I want you on my facebook page. EVER.

I am so mad. So sad. Shattered and devastated today. I keep bursting into tears and screaming profanities into the air. I am so so so angry that I don't have my boy with me. Angry at the hospital, angry at the doula, angry at the world today. Angry at the mamas out there with their damn ladybug babies and damn pumpkin babies and damn bumblebees and damn bats. Angry that their biggest worry this weekend is whether their child should be an elephant or an owl. Angry that they're all over facebook, out in front of my house, everyfuckingwhere I go.

I am also really scared because every time I hit a low like this, it freaks E out and he gets so worried about me, and then usually within 24 to 36 hours he hits a similar level of devastation himself...

I know it will pass. The waves pass. I'm just stuck under a really powerful one today.


Angela said...

When you get stuck under those waves it's hard to crawl out, to regain your footing. This is a lot to deal with on top of your loss. The hospital billing you for another day - that's just infuriating. And your doula's behavior - some birth workers do not possess the kindness and compassion they should.

The all consuming anger can be scary. Scream if you need to scream. Break old dishes, punch a pillow. A few weeks after my daughter died I kicked in our bedroom door. I don't recommend that action, but I want you to know you're not the only one who is raging mad at what the world, and life, has handed you.

I've struggled with decision making too. I think I'm okay with a situation so I agree to it, and then realize it's a bad idea only to find myself stuck in the situation. This life after loss thing is a learning process. Be gentle with yourself.

Maddie said...

I'm so sorry you're having to deal with all of this of top of losing Otis. Other people don't realise that on top of grieving our babies we have to deal with a whole bunch of other things that are just hard and awful and make things worse.

I can't believe your doula - and to mention the fact your labour was long but not own the fact Otis died is wrong.

I had billing mistakes from the hospital. I was lucky (not really the right word) that our hospital has two bereavement midwives. So any contact with the hospital they were able to follow up.

I hope the meeting can give you some answers and peace.

Like Angela said, be gentle on yourself.

zubeldia said...

I'd be furious, Sarah.. I AM furious. I do hope you get the answers you need, and I think that if it would feel helpful to you, then seeing a lawyer and getting advice would be so very reasonable.

And the doula? good grief.

Oh, sweety, I can't even imagine how hard it was to see another baby. How much I wish you were holding your boy in his costume.. I can't even express how much.

Sending so much love and peace.

Anonymous said...

I am reaching out to you Sarah....
I get it 150%....
The doula needs to suck it. But I like how you phrased it much better.

Cullen was supposed to be a skeleton for Halloween. I cuddle that damn pajama costume so much- just waiting for it to have life in it or to smell like him.

I say go with the anger. Let it take you wherever it takes you. I believe that bottling it up will only cause an explosion later so good for you for screaming, swearing and crying.
My favorite new word is asshat. It applies to lots of people.. just passing it on my friend.

sarah said...

thanks, women.

angela, smashing a door sounds really good right now. I tried to punch through my shower wall the other night but I just ended up with bruised fists and a very frightened husband. (it was a tile wall, not glass, for anyone too concerned...)

maddie - bereavement midwives - what a great concept (and in saying "great," I still am acknowledging that it is AWFUL that such a concept has to exist...)

zubie, thanks for stopping by. it means a lot to me to have your support - and I hope you don't take it personally that I ranted about kids in costumes.

leslie, asshat is a fantastic word. and the phrase "suck it" is one of my favorites. thanks for sharing it. thinking of you constantly my friend, and gosh how I wish cullen was in his skeleton pjs snuggling with you right now.

kate said...

I am enraged with your hospital and doula... They add insult to injury. Where is the humanity?! And I am furious, to the point of tears, when I think of your empty arms... Otis should be in them, your beautiful son should be with you.

I hope that you get answers to your questions sarah... Proper, respectful answers. You, E and Otis deserve at least this much. If it takes a lawyer to get those answers then I can understand why you would use one.

Kate xxx

Merry said...

I know it won't help but Freddie but had been losing oxygen for hours but his heartbeat was always fine, I had monitoring at the end and his heartbeat was just fine, there was no panic and although he was enormously sick from birth, he did live for 11 days, with brain function and independent breathing, he woke up and he made some good progress until a chest infection broke him.

I've given birth 5 times and no, you are right, I don't believe that 5 minutes at the end is enough to have done that. Babies who are fit and strong survive incredibly traumatic labours. I honestly think that for some babies, labour and a happening in that, can just be too much. That for whatever reason, for something we may never know, they were not strong enough.

I try to comfort myself with the idea that had I chosen a section, Freddie might be alive but a sick, frail boy. It comforts me, because I wouldn't wish that for him and I've got others who I know that would have destroyed and a friend bringing up a child who is who he might have been.

But I can understand that when it is your first, that might not be so easy to quantify and my heart just breaks for you.

zubeldia said...

Hi sweety I'm here always, and not in the least offended by anything you write. My girl, I would be so angry and full of resentment that other mothers have their babies in their costumes. I know I would.

Otis should be here. I am heartbroken that he is not. And furious too. So furious.

Goodness, sarahlu, I just adore you so much. And miss Otis so

hayley said...

oh love, you rage away, it's so fucking unfair. your doula seems to have lost the plot, there is no reason on earth that you should have to deal with her like this. so much love to you.


æ said...

Hi Sarah
I'm so sorry. I imagine you in that upstairs window, or with the baby in your house...I just feel trembly and broken inside. I'm so very sorry. I'm sorry I won't see dear Otis as a bat, too.

I love you, and think of you tons. Um, and figured you hid me on fb and please do if you haven't and it would help. I'm very ,ouch aware of the "parade past your window" and hope it doesn't feel too much like I'm part of that. I'd bring your baby here in a heartbeat, I so wish I could. I miss him for all of us, you most of all.


Missy said...

I won't advise you in any way on this, but as someone who has been there and is doing that please feel free to email me if you would like to chat a little more about it.


Lani said...

sarah, obviously i'm catching up on your story. we need to talk about what you've written here. though I was at home for my birth, a lot of this is eerily similar. i'm so sorry you are going through this. i know it all too well.