So you would think, with having won and gotten me to agree to the c-section, that they would have relented and turned the pitocin off.
And on that count you would be wrong.
And you would think that with the baby’s signs looking bad, that it would have been an immediate thing to have things happen immediately by whatever surgeon they had there at the time.
Wrong again… they waited for my doc to drive from across town in lunchtime traffic.
And so, the constant contractions provoked by the pitocin continued until they needed to turn them off to wheel me out of the room some half hour or so later.
And then directly inside the room, they wanted me to sit up in a very certain position and sit very still to do the epidural in my back while I’m still having these massive contractions… in spite of both me and my mom protesting that I needed a few minutes for them to calm down.
Meanwhile, people are swarming everywhere. It seemed like 20 people running everywhere all at once, though I’m sure it wasn’t quite that many… but they all seemed to be needing something from me right as they are needing me to stay still for the epidural.
It was about this time that I ripped an annoying blood pressure cuff off and threw it in the floor… which according to my mom was right as my doctor walked into the room from scrubbing in.
And so.. between the poor circumstances and the fact that the person doing the epidural was apparently someone being trained to do them and not someone experienced, they missed the right area the first 4 times that they tried.
My mom informed them that if they didn’t get it the next time that they needed to just knock me out completely… which she was told would be risky… even though they couldn’t answer why it’s done in other situations without being declared too risky.
The 5th time missed again… but it didn’t just miss… it “went spinal”. From how it’s been explained to me, this means it basically went into the spinal fluid like a spinal tap instead of into the space around it.
The sudden pain in my head from this was so intense that I don’t actually remember another contraction. I was absolutely wailing.
Apparently, this wasn’t technically a huge problem at this point, as a spinal block is essentially a similar type of thing done intentionally… but with the added wailing of “my head, my head, my head”, this sort of put a rush order on things.
So they had me laying back… the first time I’d actually noticed that my doctor was there… and things got started.
Right off, she asked them to raise the knees of the table… which I guess was to put the baby in a better position… but which they were unable to do because that feature on that particular table was broken.
And so they tilted the entire table for the same effect.
Which would have been ok… had there not been the little issue of the spinal fluid instead of the empty space… which gravity was now bringing towards my head.
I told the nurse that I couldn’t breathe… and she told me that it was ok, I just couldn’t feel it happening. Which, apparently does happen fairly frequently.
I told her again, and she brushed it off again.. not even taking the time to look over and check my oxygen saturation.
And that was the last thing I remember.
Oxygen saturation is supposed to be 98-99. Anything under 90 is usually considered a big deal with my daughter’s asthma.
When my mother, who is a nurse, looked at the monitors at this point, mine was at 74 and dropping.
Needless to say, she called attention to this, and they promptly made her leave the room as I was put on life support.
My daughter was born at 12:18pm… with the doctor having done an emergency style vertical cut for the outside cut to get her out faster.
The “huge baby” who had weighed 11 pounds a week before weighed in at 8 pounds, 8 ounces, and only 18 inches long.
I’ve heard two different numbers… that I was on life support for 15 minutes, or for 45 minutes. The 45 number was given that day, the 15 the next, so I’d imagine the 45 is more likely.
In either case, the next thing that I remember at all was when my mom’s friend came into my room after she got off work that evening… which would have been roughly 5:30.. more than 5 hours later.
I was back in my room from earlier, and all the chaos had disappeared… the only other person in the room besides the new visitor was the jerk. Apparently my mom had left to “go tell the family what was going on.“
As soon as the nurse noticed I was awake now, I was moved to a new room.
The baby had been taken off to the ”special care“ nursery… not the NICU, but not the normal one either.
I was told this was because her lungs were having issues from being a premie, and she had been on oxygen since she was born.
I took this at face value… and listened to the excuses as to why I couldn’t go see her yet, which were related to that I needed to recover a bit first.
However.. as it happens, my mother had left a camera in the operating room in the chaos of being kicked out. And apparently someone decided to be nice, and had snapped some pics on it for us.
In none of them does oxygen appear at all…on her or even near her like it was removed for the pic… and she seems very pink without it.
She does however have a major cone-head in a lot of them for a baby who supposedly wasn’t low enough to be putting pressure to cause dilation.
Oh, but they actually weren’t done trying to kill me just yet.
Not too long after they moved me to a different room… before my mom was back… they brought a dinner tray, all liquids.
And a syringe to give me insulin. A much bigger one than should have been needed… which even still somewhat out of it, I managed to catch and question the dose, as well as if I should even need it at all now that the baby was out.
The nurse verified the doctor’s orders… for a dose that was much larger than the amount I’d been taking for the entire day combined before… and when I hadn’t had anything to eat all day, and only rice for dinner the day before. (Nobody else had said a word about insulin the entire visit.)
So I refused to let her give it… which she said meant she couldn’t give me the tray… and eventually she called the doc that she had just verified with, and they said they would be up shortly.
For some reason I was expecting this to be my new OB, but around 9pm the endocrinologist showed up, came into the room long enough to say ”oh, I had you confused with someone else“, and leave.
Gee, thanks for even checking your charts on that one.
The jerk decides to go away for a while. Which was very good.
Except that we’d found out that since mom had left and he had been the only one around, they’d given him the other bracelet to be able to get into the nursery. So when mom got back, she wasn’t able to see her either.
The next morning, someone from the nursery called me to give me an update. The new story I was given was that she was being kept there to monitor her blood sugar, and that for some reason that wasn’t able to be done on the regular floor. I mentioned that in the earlier paperwork it was specified that they weren’t supposed to be giving her a bottle, and they assured me that they weren’t, she was being fed by a feeding tube.
Eventually, late in the afternoon (more than a full day after she was born), they stopped making excuses and took me to go see her for about 15 minutes, the majority of which she slept. No feeding tube was anywhere to be seen. She’d also had parts of her hair shaved on both sides which we were told was for an iv, also not seen. but the only people around couldn’t or wouldn’t answer any questions about anything.
Just before dinner, the head of the anesthesia department came by.. ”to see how I was doing“… and tell me how lucky I was that I’d been here at this hospital instead of somewhere ”podunk“ where they might not have been able to treat me as quickly. I’m not quite sure how my mom and I kept from pointing out that if their staff hadn’t screwed up, maybe somewhere podunk wouldn’t have had to.
It was at this point I was told that I might have some headaches for a bit… and that it was all because of the faulty table not their staff’s mistake in going spinal… and essentially if I hadn’t been fat I wouldn’t have needed to have the table tilted.
So what I think was supposed to be a cover their butts visit ended up making us only more annoyed.
And these headaches that were made to sound like no big deal would later end up involving neurologist visits and being on medication for them for a couple of years.
Later that evening, I got another call from a doctor in the nursery… the newest story was that she was being kept because she wasn’t eating. I mentioned that she wasn’t supposed to be eating, she was supposed to be allowed to be breastfed, but that they wouldn’t let me go see her to do that, and weren’t picking up the jars of milk from the pump they’d finally brought.
Next morning came. More excuses.. from her sleeping, to being too close to mealtime, to needing to stay in the room in case doctor came by on rounds… always an excuse.
The thursday morning phone call comes… and the doc on the phone mentions how well she’s been eating from a bottle yesterday. When called on it, he goes back that she’s being observed for blood sugar… but he can’t tell me what those are or how they are doing.
Thursday afternoon comes… and a random doctor comes by to check on me. No clue who he was.. probably someone from my OB’s office I assume. He just randomly asked how the baby was doing, and I snapped at him something to the effect of ”how should I know? they won’t even let me see her and keep changing the story on why she’s not here. I’m starting to think I should be calling the police to report her as kidnapped“.
Now.. I was being sarcastic.. but apparently this was enough to get some wheels in motion… as he left pretty fast after that, and suddenly they decided she was free to leave the nursery, but that I’d have to wait a few hours to wait for a room in a different section to open up so she was allowed to be there. Why hadn’t I been over there before? No idea.
So around dinner, she does finally get to come stay in my room.
Unfortunately the jerk arrived back just before they were changing rooms 😦
The next two nights went really rough, as she was fussy and nothing seemed to help it, and I was exhausted and in pain, but not about to let them take her out of the room again.
Breastfeeding went really poorly as well. They did call up a lactation consultant at one point, but all she did was to give me a nipple shield to see if it would help her latch on easier.. without even watching an attempted feeding to see if that was the actual problem. We tried for several weeks with no luck before giving up… and I pumped for another month or so after that before it just wasn’t working out either.
Saturday morning we go home… thinking we’re finally done with the hospital experience from hell and all of the surprises.
But not quite yet.
When the first of the staples got removed two weeks later, the incision decided to break open. It turns out that there was an infection.. not on the surface level, but deeper inside. And so I ended up with a rather large gaping wound that had to be packed and cleaned twice a day by my mom and a home health nurse… which my doctor said probably happened ”because [I] was diabetic“. In spite of all questions as to how that would somehow introduce an infection below the surface, and my pointing out that I’m not diabetic, and the more time passed after the chaos, the more wasn’t even all that convinced that I had been gestational diabetic either.
Obviously I’ve never gone back to her for anything, nor to that particular endocrinologist.
The next surprise decided to wait a full 4 months to show up.
With the short time between move and birth, and all of the tons of doctors appointments that got crammed into it, I’d never gotten a chance to pick a pediatrician, so for the first few visits my daughter went to the clinic that was connected with the hospital, which we were also less than impressed by.
But, they had access to the hospital records.
When she was almost 4 months old, they weren’t going to be able to see her for an appointment for almost a week after we called, even knowing that she’d been born premature and was at higher risk for issues.
And so we switched to a different pediatrician who could see her that same day. (And is actually still her doctor 10 years later)
But he didn’t have any records at all yet obviously, so he had to go by what we told him.
Which got really interesting really fast when he went to listen to her lungs, and asked us about her heart murmur… which we were completely unaware existed!
I don’t remember the lungs turning out to be anything important that time, but as it was a ”complicated murmur“, we were scheduled the next week to see a pediatric cardiologist.. who usually has a several month long waiting list.
They had us go to the same hospital before the visit to have a chest xray done and an echocardiogram done, and then to bring the results with us.
You can imagine our surprise when she comes into the room and opens the folder, and pulls out two different sets of results… one taken that day, and one that had been taken the day after she was born!
The name matched… the same results essentially were in each… it hadn’t been just a mix up in charts… they’d obviously run the tests while she was in the nursery.
Without ever mentioning a word of heart issues to us, or asking to run the tests, or even mentioning the existence of the murmur at all!
(As it turned out, she actually had two… one from a hole that hadn’t closed and one from a valve leaking.. both fixed themselves eventually)
And I suppose the best way to end the story… is with the lawyer’s office.
Where the lawyer, who had successfully sued the hospital on several major cases before, agreed with us on everything I told him we saw as being places where they were negligent…
And then basically told me we’d be wasting our time to go against them. Because we had no obvious lasting harm, and because I had migraines previously it wouldn’t be possible to prove that these were completely different even though they felt entirely different to me.
Had either of us died or had a lasting injury, we’d have had an easy case with the clear mistakes made.
But because we didn’t… we would probably still technically win, however the courts would just give them a slap on the wrist that wouldn’t actually change anything or make the slightest dent in their business, and any payoff would be less than it would cost to make the case.
It just wasn’t worth the fight…
so we gave up one last time.