Friday, January 2, 2009

Not so fast

Wednesday, January 2
We get up before dawn and get admitted to the hospital. I get my wristband and my johnnie by 7 or 7:30 am. Sara comes in and greets us. She tells us that she has asked to be my nurse for the day. I'm glad to see her, and it's good to know that she's there. As they're doing some initial bloodwork (for my clotting disorder) I ask for some ativan (I wanted to be aware, but really wanted something to take the edge off) and someone tells us what the basic protocol will be for the day. They use a dopp.ler to listen to my belly for any heartbeat. It's there.

My dad and brother are there with us, and my sister and BIL have an errand to run so they're coming later.

At maybe 8:30 or so the head nurse comes in and confirms what we'll be doing, and says that she has to check on something.

The nurses check on me, allow me ice chips, I make some uncomfortable small talk with my family. We wait. We are informed that she's trying to reach Dr. OB.

And wait.

So, what's going on, we ask, and the nurses say that there may be a problem with delivering here with me at only about 21 weeks, that the nurses may not be authorized to administer the medicine I need.

There are lots of raised eyebrows and requests to see the head nurse again. She comes in and says that they will not be able to induce my labor at this hospital. Because the pi.tocin requires frequent monitoring, and because of what it does, and because my baby still has a heartbeat, and because i am not already in labor, I need to be monitored by an actual doctor. A nurse is not appropriate, because it's too close to practicing medicine. (And, I think you know what else the state I live in thinks it's too close to.)

The town I live in is small. When the students are gone, there are only about 6 or 8 thousand people in the township (not just the town, but the township). There are only 4 or 5 OB/GYNs and only one on-call at a time. Because my baby has a heartbeat and I am not in labor already, only a doctor can tend to me. Apparently, this is a new law doctors' vs. nurses' responsibilities) and nobody in the medical field likes it, but this is state law and they can't do anything about it.

So, when my doctor had that far away look in his eyes the day before, I assume he was trying to figure out if this was going to work. I assume he was wrong.

It's kind of a joke in my family that when my father gets angry, his voluminous eyebrows climb his forehead. He's in his 70's, but he's got that look of authority that comes from working as an assis.tant att.orney gen.eral for a state in the northeast for 30 years. Now, I am my father's little girl. He asks the the head nurse for documentation and a contact at the state level. His eyebrows were almost off his forehead completely.

My doctor comes in and apologizes (or something) and says that he has a colleague at the big university hospital, and he will arrange for me to deliver there, since with all the resident M.D.s there won't be a problem with the law. He will do his best to get me in there tomorrow, hopefully.


By this time, my sister and BIL have arrived, the is in full effect, which is the only way I can fathom that I got through this without completely freaking out. The nurse comes back with paperwork for my dad, Sara gives me a hug, and everyone but C goes so I can put my clothes back on without falling over. It's probably 9:30 or 10 am and we all head home. I sit on the couch all day.

At some point in the late afternoon, I get a call from Dr. Colleague, and he says he is arranging for me to come in the next day. "Did you fill out the form saying I am aware that at 21 weeks my baby will not survive delivery?" Um, no... "Well, there's this form from the state that requires you have to wait 24 hours before pursuing such a delivery. Unless there is risk to the mother's health. Don't worry, we'll complete it so you don't have to worry about that."

We talk for a few minutes about eating and heparin and, I think, some basic talk about what will happen the next day. We need to be there at 6:30 am, when they'll do intake and get me a room. Being such a big hospital, with a level 3 or 4 nicu, they see a lot of people in similar situations. They will do their best to set me up away from the other mothers.

I would get my leaf though.

If I could only get through another night.


Mrs. Spit said...

I'm sorry Sue. From the bottom of my heart, as one of those who would call themselves a Christian, Because I'm sure it was a Christian who came up with this piece of crap legistlation.

Sue said...

I appreciate that, but really, I blame it on the stupid people in this stupid state we've been living in, not any one faith.

Thank you, Mrs. Spit.

CLC said...

Oh, Sue, why did it have to be so hard? Well, at least harder than necessary. I am so sorry. I know this wknd will be hard for you both. I am thinking of you both and the boys.

Newt said...

Oh, I am ready to tear someone's hair out reading this. I'm so so sorry, Sue, and angry for you.

You and C and Joshua and Jacob deserved so much better. So so much better.

Tash said...

My eyebrows are climbing off *my* face reading this -- what complete, wholesale SHIT. S, you're doing such a bold thing writing all this down, but someday if it feels right, you may want to write down what happened and how you felt and what it meant and send it to your legislator. That way they know they have a real person to attach to this mumbo jumbo that they write, and who knows -- maybe, just maybe someday you help another mother in a similar, ugly situation.

I'm obviously incredibly sorry that this happened at all, but that it went down this way? Makes my skin crawl with fury. I'm thinking of you both this week, and the boys.

In Due Time said...

I'll be thinking about you over these next few days. ((((Hugs))))

jaded said...

those damn leaves. i have two.
i hate them and what they mean.
thinking of you S.

Julia said...

As usual, Tash has said what I was going to. The incredible inhumanity stemming, I suspect, from some so-called legislators' inability to trust women, families, and doctors is just stunning. I am so so sorry. And really, this part of the story alone would easily justify you staying in bed this whole year...

Hillary said...

Here from LFCA. I read your post and am heartbroken for you. I am so, so sorry for your losses.

k@lakly said...

I'm with Julia and Tash and then some. And if you ever do want to write the letter, I would be honored to help you with it.
I HATE with my whole body and soul that anyone interfered with what should have been between you, C., and your doctor. No one should ever have been able to come into that exam room with you. I wish they had even the smallest inkling of the extra hell they put you through. And I kinda hope one day they do. Or that a big heavy brick drops on their tiny brains...
I'm beyond sad for all of you.
That you've come this far and honored your beautiful boys like you have, what an amazing mother and woman you are.

Heather said...

Wow, I can't believe the legalities made your horrible situation even more horrible.

Just so, so unfair. Thinking of you, lots.

Amy said...

My heart aches. There is so much legal ease that we have to go thru to get our children here when in this position.

Your story is heart wrenching and I am so sorry that you have to go through all of this.

Thalia said...

I'm horrified at what you had to go through, even before the legislators got in the way. I do hope at some point you feel up to pointing out to them the human impact of what they do. It's an awful story. Thank you for putting it out there, though, I think this is an important thing to share.

c. said...

All I can think is how tortuous. I mean, havine to make that decision to induce in the first place, a decision that you did not come to easily, that you were already so conflicted about. And then to have it halted (delayed, I guess) by some stupid legislation. Awful, Sue. Awful.


loribeth said...

I'm horrified too. For 10 years I've been listening to & reading the stories of other women's pain. You would think -- hope! -- things would improve over time, but I am still constantly astounded by the thoughtlessness, incompetence & sheer stupidity demonstrated by the medical establishment when dealing with pregnancy loss. :( And the fact that your story has political overtones as well is scary as well as outrageous. Hugs, hugs & more ((((hugs))) to you, Sue.