Soon after, my OB walked in the room and with tears in her eyes, finally told me the devastating news. Pre-Eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome. She said over and over again how sorry she was. She said my life was at incredible risk and that I needed an emergency c-section within a couple of hours. Pre-E's cruelty is that the only cure is not being pregnant. Then she told me my baby was not viable and to prepare myself. That it took her 8 precious hours to come to this conclusion, I will never know. I was then life-flighted to another hospital.
Fast forward a couple years and I am sitting at our kitchen table, pouring over medical records. I have not written previously about this at all, but we felt there was negligence surrounding my prenatal care and especially, the care I received on the day of Jack's birth. In deciding if we wanted to embark upon an actual legal suit, we had requested all of my medical records, both from my OB's office and the hospital. We had to sit and read through each excruciating detail that was charted throughout my care. I had to read about coming in that morning and immediately, without test, being treated as a highly contagious flu patient. I had to read about being isolated in one end of the hospital, in a room with no private bathroom and no sheets on the bed. I had to read that I was put on isolation precaution, the results that I had to gown up, put a mask and gloves on, and cross the hallway each time I needed to use the public bathroom to vomit. I had to read that they, indeed, checked my blood pressure. Over and over, in fact. It was quite high and only increased throughout the day. They knew I was pregnant, but still managed to miss the connection between high BP and Pre-E until it was much too late. I had to read about their attempt after attempt to get an IV going. And on top of all of that, the hardest blow - I had to see with my own eyes just how long they waited to check my urine, one of the most important steps. For my precious boy, I had to read that they missed the window of opportunity for steroids for his lungs. Finally, I had to read my diagnosis and "baby not viable".
Having an attorney for a husband was such blessing in this regard, because he made me realize that if we wanted to go through with this, then we had to be realistic. He described the process of a medical malpractice lawsuit. The years it would take. The resources it would take. The fact that I would have to continually be called upon to relive the worst day of my life. Over and over again. In hearings, in front of opposing and questioning counsel, and possibly, in a much more public way than I was prepared for. That reason alone was enough for me to make peace and accept what happened, even if it did not feel like justice.
A year or so after reading through my medical records, one of my worst fears came true. I came face to face with my OB, the person who failed me as a patient and especially, failed my son. Incredibly, this happened at a church of all places. We were sitting just rows apart. Even more-so incredible in my mind was that the doctor did not recognize me, although we did make eye contact. No recollection crossed this person's face. I'd be dishonest if I'd say not a bad thought crossed my mind about this person while I was sitting in that church. About her thoughts on "viability." About the way she runs her practice.
The thing about this whole story, which is really just a small part of Jack's birth story, is that I have not thought about these details in years. Then tonight, for some reason as I was drifting off to sleep, it came to mind. I had a vision about the pillows being placed around me. It is so strange, but that is the thing about these horrific events. The memories can creep in, even when peace has been made. We don't forget. Sometimes all we can do is remember, write it out, and head back to sleep.