“Don’t worry it’s just bits and pieces” I heard the orderly next to me say while he held a medical esky and we waited for the elevator down from the maternity ward. The kind I knew my 16 week old daughter would have been in just days before, I wondered if he carried her also calling her that? I’d just left a follow-up appointment just a few days after having Emmanuelle.
I’m trying hard to speak positively, but this topic had me stumped. I’m certain there are midwives who understand and doctors who care, but that was not always our experience.
Our first miscarriage
The day of six weeks pregnant I woke with some spotting, ring the hospital. “No need to worry unless the blood increases and you start to cramp.”
A few hours later, on one of the busiest weekends of our year, the blood increased and the pain began. After time in the little eight bed ED of our town, I drove to the city for more waiting. After many more hours and tests I signed a form to leave against medical advice. The doctor wanted to give me medicine to induce a miscarriage when I knew I’d already lost the baby. Being a weekend no proper ultrasound was available to check either way, but I wanted to be home with my boys. The poor doctor received the brunt of my cyclone of emotions.
Our first ultrasound started like any other, at nearly twelve weeks we had no reason for concern and were filled with excitement. The sonographer was chatty until she wasnt. Something was wrong, she’d never done this before and clearly didn’t know how to handle it so didn’t.
We went back to the doctor nearly straight away. He’d never had to tell someone news like this before, you could tell. He didn’t know the answers to our questions, but tried his best. He didn’t reassure us or offer us hope, he couldn’t. Instead the room filled with my tears and unanswered questions.
Our experience with medical staff was not the greatest; birthing a baby who will never take a breath is so confronting and not all midwives are the right people for in the room. There was however one shining light. Helen the ultrasound lady. She was the third ultrasound I had, and she took her time, she answered questions, she explained, she was kind. I think I visited her nearly ten times over the course of Emmanuelle’s life and then in follow-up. And when things weren’t right and taking too long, she made the doctors see me as a priority and I had a d&c.
Our rainbow baby
It was so important to me to be in a continuity of care model for our fourth pregnancy and birth. The midwife needed to know that there was so much more than joy happening in that birth suite. Our midwife was perfect she reminded me that there was life, joy and she knew me. I trusted her, and in my vulnerable moments she cared perfectly. I’m not ready to talk about all of that yet- but Mischa, I don’t have words for how grateful I am for your care.
You remember the first doctor, the one I fought to leave to give my body a chance? I saw her numerous times over the next two years, she always remembered me when she saw my name. She journeyed with us and often was on the receiving end of my frustration that my body just wasn’t doing what it should be. A few hours after our healthy baby boy was born, she came in and signed me out. She was finally part of our joy, and after everything, she let me give her a hug. That takes a special kind of person, one who makes a very good doctor.