Birth Trauma Survivor and Maternal Health Advocate

“A miscarriage is a natural and common event. All told, probably more women have lost a child from this world than haven't." Barbara Kingsolver

“A miscarriage is a natural and common event. All told, probably more women have lost a child from this world than haven’t. Most don’t mention it, and they go on from day to day as if it hadn’t happened, so people imagine a woman in this situation never really knew or loved what she had. But ask her sometime: how old would your child be now? And she’ll know.
” -Barbara Kingsolver

A nurse laid me down on an examination bed at the doctor’s office. The bed was soon soaked in my blood and the floor soon started to turn red from it as well. Dr. Moon entered the examination room and assured me that I was going to be fine. He had to stand by the door in order to avoid stepping in my blood. I hadn’t seen him since the night Miss J was born. He was new to the practice back then and Miss J was one of the first babies he delivered alongside Dr. B.

“You’re going to be ok. We called 911 and you’re going to the emergency room immediately.”  I’m going to be ok? Had he noticed the blood soaked floor? 

“Am I? The last time this happened I had to have three blood transfusions and surgery. Oh and I almost died too.”

He asked me a few more questions. I could barely answer him because my mind was elsewhere.

To me, it was April 19th, 2010 all over again. The best and worst day of my life. I was in the labor and delivery room. I had just given birth. I held my daughter for a couple of minutes. There was an emergency. I was bleeding. It wouldn’t stop. I was hemorrhaging to death.

Soon paramedics came rushing into the room. They took my vital signs and then I was politely interrogated by a nice young man.

“Are you pregnant?”

“No.”

“Are you sure? Is it possible?”

“Anything is possible! Yes, I’m sure. One would have to have sex to get pregnant and I haven’t had sex lately.” I was annoyed at the question. Asked and answered. Move on.

What no one knew at the time was that  I was still traumatized by Dr. B massaging my uterus and how painful the experience was. I hadn’t even worn tampons since the surgery. The thought of putting anything in my vagina frightened me. I was still afraid that putting anything up in there would dismantle whatever was holding me together. Whenever Bobby and I made an attempt to be intimate, all I could see was Dr. B’s arm inside of me, massaging my uterus over and over again trying to get it to contract. I didn’t want Bobby to touch me or kiss me, let alone anything else. The only person I had shown any affection toward since my surgery was Miss J.

“Do you have HIV or AIDS?”

“No. Please stop asking me questions.”

“We have to ask. Sorry, its our job.”

Dr. Moon tells me that they are going to take me to the nearest hospital, Hoboken Medical Center.

“Who’ s on call?” I ask.

“Dr.Mig.” Dr. Mig  is another doctor at Dr. B’s practice, but I had never seen him.

“Please call Dr. B or Dr. Chinn. I don’t want to see anyone else.”

“Everything is going to be ok.” Dr. Moon repeated reassuringly.

I called Bobby and told him that I was bleeding and that I was going to the emergency room. He left work immediately but it was almost rush hour so it would take him about an hour to get to the hospital.

The paramedics helped me into a wheelchair.  They wheeled me out of the room.  They placed a white sheet on my legs in an attempt to conceal the blood, but soon the blood came soaking through. The other patients in the waiting room tried to look away but they couldn’t. Some looked horrified. I looked down at the carpet and noticed drops of my blood dotted it all over.

*Natalie was sitting in the waiting area with her daughter and Miss J. I said goodbye to Miss J and told her that I would be okay and I would see her soon. Natalie assured me that she would stay there until Bobby arrived to pick up Miss J. It was a horrible feeling to have to leave Miss J  in the doctor’s office.

“Goodbye honey. Mommy will see you soon. Everything is ok. I love you.”

I tried to sound brave and upbeat. I smiled through the lump in my throat and held back my tears. I was terrified and truthfully, I feared I might never see Miss J again.

The paramedics wheeled me onto the elevator. When we got down to the street level I braced myself again for onlookers staring at my blood covered body.  I was loaded onto a stiff bed in the back of the ambulance. They connected me to an IV and continued to ask me questions. I stared at the IV and the needle in my arm, it reminded me of the transfusions. The sirens were put on full blast and we peeled off into rush hour traffic. Hoboken Medical Center, where I had spent the first few months of Miss J’s life bonding with other new moms, was just a few blocks away.

I knew what it is like to feel my body losing life. I waited for it. Again.

When we arrived to the ER I was rushed behind a curtain immediately. The paramedics said goodbye and I thanked them for taking such good care of me. I had two nurses tend to me while I waited for an ER doctor to evaluate me. I had lost so much blood that my pants and the bed were soaking wet. The exposed parts of my legs and feet were encrusted with a thick, bloody coating. I touched my knees and the dried blood fell off in huge, thick flakes. Between my legs I felt a warm surge followed by a huge blood clot that oozed its way out into my underwear. Next, I felt pressure building in my vagina and another clot start to push its way out. I held my legs together, afraid that if I pushed this one out, the blood would gush out at an even faster rate. My stomach pulsated in constant waves of pain. Finally the ER doctor arrived. He couldn’t have been any more impersonal. There was barely a greeting, let alone any sense of compassion or sensitivity to my situation. He asked the nurses to remove my pants and underwear.  He then asked me to spread my legs so he could examine me. I knew that as soon as I opened my legs the blood clot would come bursting out. He used some sort of stick like instrument to examine me and sure enough the blood clot came rushing out along with a huge amount of blood. He looked disgusted, wrote some notes down on my chart and told me that I would get my lab results in a couple of hours.

“So am I just supposed to lay down here and bleed to death?” I asked.

“You’re fine. We’re running tests. You’re getting plenty of fluids through the IV and your vitals are good.” He bolted out of the room and left me there. Scared, bloody and exposed.

I’m fine?

The nurses changed my sheets, but they quickly soaked through with blood again.

I kept asking for Dr. B but I was told he was at another hospital doing deliveries. As much as I had been avoiding Dr. B, he was the only person that I trusted could get me through this again.

Bobby arrived at the hospital about two hours after I had been admitted. He had gotten Miss J settled at Natalie’s house and assured me that she was okay. Bobby leaned down and gave me a hug and kiss. I lifted the sheets so he could see my body and all of the blood. We didn’t speak much. Bobby sat next to me and held my hand while I cried.

It seemed like an eternity before we received any information on my condition. Finally, Dr. Mig came into our room, greeted us and sat down in a chair next to my bed.

“I’m sorry to tell you both that you lost the baby.”

 

 

 

 

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