When empathy doesn’t help
Tony and I just spent two nights in the hospital birth center to a deliver a baby that would never grow up or be held. Every nurse, doctor, midwife, social worker, and chaplain tried so hard to be empathetic, caring, and supportive but it just made it more emotional for us. I don’t mean that they should’ve been harsh or abrasive, but sometimes the quiet understanding felt awkwardly long, and almost every time they talked to us we cried (which I know is normal).
I had so many experiences this week, that I’ve avoided or just never thought I’d have to go through. This is our second miscarriage but because the pregnancy was further along it was a completely different experience. With the first, we stayed home and let things happen naturally, there was no body to hold or decide what to do with after. It was emotional and I had a few days of physical issues to worry about, but once it was done, we just dealt with emotions and memories. This time I was induced. I had always avoided being induced with previous pregnancies. They tried to convince me to induce G when he was one week late, but the doctor let me wait it out, once he passed a non-stress test. This time they called us at 6:30 pm to be at the hospital at 7:30, took us into a room and got an IV in me, drew blood (made me cry a few times) and gave me medicine to induce. We had to spend the night while they Gave me meds every four hours and kept asking me to let them know if I needed any pain meds. I wasn’t in much pain overnight (except from the blood pressure cuff 🙄). They kept up the induction meds every 4 hours through the morning at 9:30 am I asked for pain meds in my IV, but before they could get them, I delivered the baby, little Peter. My pain ended when he was born, so no more need for those meds. They gave me more induction meds, to help deliver the placenta, and gave us time with Peter. They came in and talked to us about what to do with his remains, put him in a blanket and a hat, and gave us more time with him. One of the nurses made him a little bracelet with his name on it. It was so sweet and unexpected (more tears).
We decided to have him buried and asked for a priest. They sent in a chaplain pastor, and we asked her to pray for our little Peter. After a long while (and more tears) she went and got the social worker, who helped us plan for his burial (and caused even more tears).
A little while later I partially delivered the placenta, and they had to “help” me deliver the rest. It was painful and they kept saying that I was doing so good. As if I had a choice, well I guess I could’ve opted for a d&c but who wants surgery unless it’s necessary? Not me. Once they were done-and 90% sure they got it all- I was put on antibiotics. Not long after another doctor came into the room and told me that my bloodwork was abnormal, just the test that indicated that it was pregnancy induced hypertension-which up until then they had said that’s only after 20 weeks in pregnancy and couldn’t be the cause of my high blood pressure. This was when we found out that instead of being sent home that afternoon, like we thought, we’d have to stay another 24 hours to see if that blood test went back to normal (which it should have right after delivery). So a second blood draw then and another one at 5am to see if I was getting better, plus more antibiotics every 8 hours because of the placenta issues. Another night of yucky hospital food, interrupted and uncomfortable sleep. With more pokes and blood pressure checks, and being woke up to take meds. Just making a horrible experience last longer. We had Peter taken to a funeral home that evening and had to say goodbye to his little body.
Tony and I talked about Peter and about our previous miscarriage, which was so early we had no idea what the gender was. We both agreed that since Peter was a boy and our first two were boys, our previous miscarriage was most likely a boy also. So we decided to give him a name too. We both quickly agreed on Luke. Now both our babies in heaven have names.
The next morning we finally got some good news, they were going to discharge us. We had to wait for the midwife to come see us, but the fact that we didn’t have to wait the full 24 hours was awesome. We had to listen to lots of advice from our new nurse, but while she was empathetic it wasn’t the tear inducing, quiet, sometimes awkward empathy everyone else was giving us. It was more practical talk (sometimes unnecessary) advice. Plus she was gonna let us leave!
We thought that was hard and then we had to tell the boys that their little brother was already in heaven and could never be snuggled. More tears. They were so excited to be big brothers and help take care of their new little brother, and now they wouldn’t get that opportunity.
Worst week ever. I know there will be more tears and I appreciate all the empathy and support, even if it does make me cry.