02 July, 2011

i don't know how to title this one -- but it's angry as hell with lots of foul language so i apologize for that

not really sure how to gear this one or who to write it to.

been thinking a lot lately about your birth (ok, it's to you cooper) and the way it all played out. i think about how naive and uninformed i was all the time. maybe that's why i obsess so much over everyone else's pregnancy and birthing experiences.

we were at the ICAN meeting the other night. meredith was there (she was our midwife for your brother's birth). she was talking about how home birth is so safe because there are two midwives to one mama. as opposed to a birth in the hospital when there are many mamas and limited docs and nurses running in and out of rooms to take care of so many different women they don't even know personally.

it got me thinking about my pregnancy with you. the practice i was going to was a very nice office with three separate waiting rooms and 16 -- yes count them -- 16 practitioners. it was very impersonal. every time i went there i saw a different doc, as recommended so i will have met as many docs as possiblle so that the person on call that day when i delvered would not be someone i had never met (as if meeting a doc once for five minutes counts as anything anyway). i would wait in the first waiting room until they sent me back to whichever pod i would sit in until the nurse was ready for me. once i was called back into the exam room, i waited another long while for the OB to come in. she or he often spent less than five minutes with me...how are you feeling? are you feeling any movement yet? your weight looks good...blah blah blah. ok get dressed we will see you again in a month. i never made it so far as to have to go more than monthly.

oh, except for the multiple times i went in because i had some sort of strange smelling discharge. and some blood. no itching. but i was diagnosed three, maybe four, i have to go back and check my records, times with a YEAST INFECTION.

i have had recurring yeast infections my entire life. and while i had never had any blood and i had always had some itching, i took the meds for the yeast infection and went on my way. it passed every time. but then it came back. over and over.

remember, you were born at 22.5 weeks, so this should have been alarming to a doctor, you'd think. it should have caused me to look elsewhere for a care provider who gave a shit. or maybe even two shits. that would have been smart of me. maybe if i had you would be here today. i am actually almost certain that you would be.

but no. i stayed with them. and even though in my gut i knew that the diagnosis yeast infection made no sense, i always let them explain away why it did. and i took the meds. and it went away, and came back.

i remember searching online for "brown discharge during pregnancy" to no avail. i searched and searched. but i guess i was searching all the wrong sites. and god knows i was asking all the wrong people. there was nothing about it in 'what to expect'.

so i trusted the doctors.

(i later discovered that i had likely had bacterial vaginosis. it would have been a simple swab test to check for. and it would have been simple to cure. but no one took the time to think about it. or to check. maybe they are unfamiliar with something so common because their specialties are spread so thin that they are not really specialties at all. i was diagnosed with bv during my pregnancy with mason. i swabbed myself. meredith sent it away to the lab. i went to my wonderful back-up dr at cooper health systems, dr salvatore, and she gave me meds to be sure it would go away and never come back. it was so simple. so so simple. but instead all of those docs told me it was a yeast infection. the bv got worse and worse. it spread to my uterus. i got chorioamnionitis and the amniotic sac ruptured because of it. and you were born way too early and i had to tell them not to be aggressive with your care because i didn't want to put you through that and i wanted to just hold you while you were alive instead of look at you through a plastic box with tubes in your nose until you died in the end anyway.)

oh yes, back to the story.

when i went in the day BEFORE MY WATER BROKE AT 22 WEEKS AND TWO DAYS with the same complaints. brown discharge. a little bloody. no itching. weird smell. again, i was diagnosed by dr. w (i am sure i have said her real name on here before at some point during a rage, but for now i will leave it at that. you can always ask me to be more specific and i will gladly do so, or if you are sick of hearing from me and my angry self, i am sure that any of my friends who have also had horrible experiences with this doctor and with this practice will share) with yet another YEAST INFECTION. i used the suppository -- she said i needed the seven day because the shorter doses were obviously not working and that the blood was likely because the infection was so bad that my uterus was bleeding. wtf? how could it have even gotten so bad when i had been in multiple times over the course of three months with the same fucking complaints? see i am getting angry again.

so i used the suppository. and the next day it was leaking out of me. well, it along with the amniotic fluid that was keeping you safe. but i ignored it because i thought it was the fucking medicine.

and at 1:26 PM the day after seeing the careless dr w, my water broke. you were born and died the next day.

my water broke. but i didn't know that. there was blood when i peed. i called the doc. they said come in. she checked me. vaginally (count one). it was dr s this time. (she at least sent me flowers and a card after you died, unlike what that shitty dr w did.)

she said
this has nothing to do with why you were here last night.
your water broke.
you need to go right to the hospital.
sometimes we can keep youpregnant for a long time.

at the hospital i was checked vaginally again. and again. and again. and maybe again. by multiple doctors.


so the next day i spiked a fever. shocking, right, that i would get a nasty infection in my uterus after the sac that was protecting you had broken and all of those assholes had put their hands in my crotch. they induced me. i had an epidural. you were born. i held you and your daddy and i cried and cried. you stopped breathing right there in my arms. i sobbed for days and days. i am sobbing now. it's three years and five months and one day later.

so you were born and you died. and it is my fault for being so ignorant. for trusting doctors instead of my gut. and i can live with that. your short life has madde me better. and i believe you knew what you were getting into. and i love you for it. more than anyone could ever know or understand.

i went back three weeks later to the ob. guess who it was again? yes, good old dr. w. she obviously didn't read my chart, or remember you at all even though only three weeks had passed, or know anything about breastfeeding for that matter because her response when i told her i was still having the same brown discharge with the weird smell was, "are you breastfeeding?"

um, no bitch. my baby died. and you were there. for the entire thing. what the fuck is wrong with you and your entire mcdonald-ized ob/gyn practice? i know for damn sure you weren't thinking i was pumping to donate my milk, because no one metioned to me that i could have done that.

her reaction was one of shock but moreso of embarrassment. and what did i say out loud, "it's ok. you have a lot of patients." i comforted her and made her feel that it was ok that she did not remember the most traumatic experience of my life. she did not remember this special being that she was lucky enough to come into contact with. but i told her that it was ok.

months later i wrote a letter to her telling her how i felt. i carried it around with me as therapy. i had no intention of mailing it.

but one day, i mailed it to her. she called and apologized again on my voicemail. she sounded like a blundering fool. but i felt a little bit good about it. maybe she won't make a mistake like that again. maybe she will read charts form now on.

every time i went back there to try to get some answers, no one ever had any. no one had any interest in helping me get answers. and guess what? every time i went back i had to explain to nurses and doctors and receptionists that my postpartum experience had been sheer hell and that the baby had died. they just kept asking the same questions. how is the baby? how old is the baby? how are you feeling? and i never once lost my mind on any of them. i was kind and polite instead of pouncing on one of them and grabbing my chart and screaming at the top of my lungs, DOESN'T ANYBODY HERE KNOW WHAT THIS IS FOR? DO ANY OF YOU READ THESE FUCKING THINGS?

so now that i have mason, and meredith who never would have missed the real diagnosis, i tell anyone who will listen about our experiences. i hope that i can help someone have a better experience that you and i had together. and i hope that maybe somewhere, something i have said has maybe saved a little baby from dying. i may come off harsh sometimes. or opinionated. and maybe some people don't like me for it. and yes i am angry. and maybe i need to work through it more. but for now, please forgive me for my anger. and know that i love you. and that i am sorry. and that i thank you. and that i understand.


  1. Oh wow, Tiffany. This post was so powerful that I felt like you were just telling me this story in person. I want to reach out and hug you! I am so sorry that you had this experience. You are so brave to write about it, in part so that other women might not go through it. I will carry this with me in my heart.

  2. This story will stay with me. Thank you for sharing it.