Friday, April 15, 2011

Friends in High Places

You know what's a stinking miracle?

That my future baby's life might be saved because of the internet.  And that's literally.  No exaggeration.

If you remember, it was only after Trisha had her talk with Dr. Haney that I even started looking into incompetent cervix as a cause. I was quite certain it wasn't going to be that. Hell, I was positive.

So when first Dr. Haney, then my local MFM, then a third doctor at UCLA all confirmed that IC was very likely the cause of my loss, I was floored. And mad at the health care system. How could my very competent OB continue to call it a fluke?  After my last appointment with her, I was...well, not confident in my treatment plan for next time, but comfortable that there really wasn't anything else to do.   And I was so wrong.

If it wasn't for Trisha, I never would have even considered that IC could have been the cause of Caleb's death. If it wasn't for Trisha, I never would have found Dr. Haney. If it wasn't for Trisha, I wouldn't have my TAC right now.

Isn't that insane? It blows my mind.  And I know at least two people who have gotten TACs because of this blog, so the *literal* circle of life (living babies!!!!!!!!) continues.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

One Year

It's frankly impossible to believe that one year ago today I delivered Caleb. Impossible in every way - how did I survive a full year after my baby died? How has it been that long? How hasn't it already been a lifetime?

Happy birthday, tiny man. I miss you.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Offical records

Caleb's birth certificate came today. I finally was ready to get a copy of it, plus we needed it for taxes, so it was good timing.

It was a bit startling, because there's a giant "deceased" stamp across it. I guess I didn't realize they did that. But I'm so glad to have it and that it exists, period. I know not every state issues birth certificates to babies born at Caleb's gestational age, but here in Nebraska, a baby born with a heartbeat is considered a live birth and gets one. It's such a relief to know that there's an official, real record of his short time on earth - that in 100 years if someone is looking up the history of our family, his name will be right there. Proof positive. He wasn't just a figment of my imagination, though sometimes it feels like it was all a dream.

I had to laugh, though, because they spelled my middle name wrong. Whoops. It'd be a funny story to share with him when he got older if he was around to do so.  ::sniff::

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Blame Game

Last year, on April 5, I was 18 weeks and 3 days pregnant.  Late that night, I felt a sensation like a water balloon popping and a gush of blood. I was sure my water had broken. First thing in the morning, I went to the midwife's office. The baby's heart was beating away, loud and clear.  She gave me a fern test, which tests for amniotic fluid. It came back negative. My big anatomy ultrasound was scheduled for 20 weeks exactly; she decided to move it up a week - three days from then.

Two days later, my water broke for sure. This time it was clear, and I immediately went to the ER.

Five days after that, Caleb was born.

I'd had very minor spotting at the beginning of the pregnancy, but around 15 or 16 weeks it picked up, and there was bleeding to some degree nearly every day.  I learned later that bleeding like that can be a very typical symptom of cervical changes. I also learned later that the fern test isn't accurate when accompanied by blood and the blood can obscure the amniotic fluid, giving a false negative.

I question everything.  I blame myself, but I trusted my caregivers. I thought they would take care of me and my baby.

Why didn't the midwife tell me, after I'd gone in several times for bleeding, that I wasn't a candidate for midwifery care anymore?  Why didn't I get an ultrasound to look for the source of that bleeding? Why didn't she know that the presence of blood could give a false negative on a ferning test? Why didn't she order an ultrasound immediately upon my coming in with the concern that my water had broken?  In retrospect, waiting three days was completely insane. But I trusted her when she said everything was okay.  Why didn't she consult with one of the doctors at that point?  The midwife practice I was seeing was in a hospital, and shared office space, staff, and the L&D area with both the regular OBs and the high-risk doctors. Why didn't I insist on a second opinion??

I'm convinced that my water broke that first time, and that it broke a second time two days later (the bag can reseal, temporarily or permanently, after breaking). 

If I'd gotten an ultrasound at 15 weeks when I started bleeding, would they have discovered that my cervix was shortening?  Would I have gotten a cerclage at that point? Would that have saved Caleb?

If she'd used ultrasound to check on my fluid levels instead of using a ferning test, would she have discovered that my water had broken 48 hours before it broke "for real"? Would I have been admitted to the hospital at that point, given antibiotics earlier, gone on bedrest earlier?  Would the bag of waters resealed and stayed resealed?  Would that have saved Caleb?

We'll never know if different care would have changed the outcome.  Maybe it would have been the same and he would have died no matter what we did.  But maybe he would have had a chance if I'd been more knowledgeable; if she'd have been more aggressive.

I still believe in the standard of care that most midwives provide for low-risk, uncomplicated pregnancies and births.  I do believe that when I started bleeding at 15 weeks, the midwife should have bowed out of my care.  I do believe that when I was sure my water broke at 18 weeks, she should have bowed out of my care.  I don't blame midwives in general.  I'm not even sure I blame her specifically. I should have spoken up. I should have insisted on an ultrasound. I should have asked for a second opinion. I didn't.  At the least, we share blame. At the most, as his mother, the blame falls on me for not protecting him.

The what-ifs in do nothing but frustrate and sadden me, so I try not to think about them too much.

But please. Be an advocate for yourself and your baby. If something doesn't feel right or you don't feel like the care you are receiving is enough, speak up. Your baby's life may depend on it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Linky Link

On my other blog is a post about how the second time around does not lessen the pain of your loss, and how people's reactions can be difficult to understand. 

Emotional Limbo

Saturday, January 1, 2011

And time goes on. And so does procreating, apparently.

As some of you guessed, the reason I stopped blogging over here so often was because I'm pregnant again. We're due July 11 and I'll be 13 weeks on Monday.  I didn't post anything here because there are family and friends who read this blog, and I wasn't out yet. Well, as much as I'd like to keep it completely secret from EVERYONE until I'm actually given a real, live baby to take home, we made the announcement to family and friends over Christmas and New Year's.  I also didn't post because when I was deep in the throes of grief, it seemed like every time I found a new loss blog to follow and fall in love with, the writer found out she was pregnant. Which was great for her, but holy shit painful for me.  I was SO not there there were a lot of blogs that I followed and then immediately unfollowed.  Well, now I'm one of those writers. I won't be writing about my new pregnancy on this blog - this is Caleb's blog - but if you are so inclined you can follow the progress of this little one at Baby H, Take Two.  Some day I might make a new blog and combine them all into one epic site, but...well, let's be real. I won't. Far too lazy for that.

Anyway, I hope that I haven't caused anyone too much pain by posting this, and maybe (just maybe) even provided someone suffering a loss a little bit of hope.  This will be the only post about a current pregnancy here, I promise.

Fingers crossed our 2011 baby has a better outcome than our 2010 did.