Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Fear

Not the same kind of fear as sung about by Lily Allen, although she knows how I feel, wholeheartedly, being a fellow baby loss mummy going on to have further pregancies.

Last week my hyperemesis kicked off again, and after 24 hours of throwing up until there was nothing left and I was bringing up my own stomach acid, I was hospitalised, and given an IV of fluids and an anti-sickness shot. I was in for two nights while I rehydrated and got my strength back. As I am still very early on in my pregnancy (10 weeks today) I was not in the maternity section of the hospital, but the gynae section and was frankly, shocked at the treatment I received given my history.

Since losing Harry I have been given a lot of choice, about how my pregnancy is managed, who I see for my scans, which midwife I want to take care of me, etc. and the care I have received, on the whole, has been first class, and has gone some way to restore my faith in the healthcare professionals.

When I arrived at the hospital, I spoke to the receptionist and explained how my GP had referred me and the receptionist explained "they'd been expecting me". I thought "great, they have my notes, they know my history, things will be ok". No..... within minutes of being admitted, I was being asked the ever awkward question of "is this your first pregnancy?" No, this is my third. Hoping, that would prompt a little glance at my notes, the questions continued... "oh, lovely, so who has your other two children?" Really???! "Well, my mum has my eldest and my youngest sadly died shortly after he was born". "Oh right...." How odd... why aren't they reading my notes? My midwife and I spent a long time writing them, so why aren't you reading them? I know that on the front of my hospital notes is a special baby loss sticker.... why is it not being recognised??! These questions would come at least ten times a day and in the end, I got used to just answering on auto pilot, but the surprising thing for me was the lack of compassion from the nurses and doctors, when I told them my baby had died. Either they were too awkward to show any emotion, or they are so used to dealing with women who have lost their baby that this is the way they act with all bereaved parents. Either way, this is not good enough.

Sadly, having been out of hospital just about 48 hours, I discovered a bleed first thing in the morning. Absolutely panic stricken, I had no idea who to turn to. At 9 1/2 weeks pregnant, I do not come under the care of the labour ward that you would usually call in an emergency, and as it was a weekend I knew I wouldn't get hold of a community midwife.... who do I ring?  I rang the labour ward anyway and asked who I should consult. They said it wasn't them and I should try the out of hours GP... who is usually forgein and again has absolutely no compassion for the fact I have suffered the loss of my baby? She advised that I will need to be checked over and that I would need to receive an emergency scan. My worst fear confirmed. There was something to worry about. Have I lost this baby too? My heart pounding in my chest, I can barely speak and I burst into tears. "While I can't say that bleeding at this stage in pregnancy is normal, I know a lot of women do have light bleeds and go on to have perfectly healthy babies".... not normal.... is all I can hear. What have I done to deserve this God?
I don't want to speak to an unknown GP so I ring the ward I stayed in for my hyperemesis and explained. The kind nurse let me speak to their oncall Doctor and she organised an "emergency scan". Being an "emergency" you would expect some kind of rush and maybe a same day appointment. No, four days later! She booked me in for Tuesday and that seemed like a lifetime away.

Every passing hour since suffering the bleed, I was scared to go to the toilet incase I found more. Any pain, any niggle, I thought was confirming my worst fear that I was losing our rainbow. I felt hopeless. Nothing anyone could say or do would make me feel any better until I could have confirmed that our little ray of sunshine was still ok.

Anyway, I got to the hospital and somehow, the appointment had been booked for the Wednesday and immediately  I felt let down. Lucky for them, they managed to squeeze me in. After a 45 minute wait, I was shown into the screening room. There was a foreign man who looked like the gynae Doctor who had seen me during Harry's labour. I was about to make a fuss but thought I should try not to let it bother me. Anyway, the Doctor didn't want to tuck the tissue paper into my clothes as he mentioned a colleague of his had been struck off for over exposing a lady and he now doesn't do it, for fear of the same. I said "Well I do find that surprising, as there are people still practising who have done far worse than that...." well that went down like a lead balloon. My sonographer asked why I was there and I explained I'd had a bleed, her face looked like she couldn't care less. I explained I lost my last baby at term and I am, as a result, very anxious. Still, no concern. Shocked at their absolute lack of compassion, I sat back and let the scan commence. The Doctor says "ah yes, here is the little baby" ..... nothing else....Straining to see the monitor, I say "and is his heart beating??!"  "Yes, all is ok", he says. "Can you sit back and relax please?" Are you kidding me? I want to see for myself that my baby is ok.....Can I relax?? No I cannot... The sonographer thought the bleed could've been from the placenta implanting. "Is everything ok with the placenta?" She mentioned something to the Doctor but they wouldn't elaborate. "It's just my last baby had placental problems so I just want to know..." Still nothing... "Everything's fine".... I explained what happened with Harry's cord and the sonographer just said "well it is hard to see everything on a scan".... I got angry "Well actually it is hopefully going to be included at routine scanning as a result of my campaigning so you will be learning about it very soon I expect"... the arrrogant woman just told me that as she is an early pregnancy sonographer she didn't think she would. I wish I was more confident and could have told her to just bugger off.

It's a shame that after all I have been through, and all I have been promised, people in that hospital are still arrogant, still complacent and still NOT READING PATIENT'S NOTES.

At least my little jelly bean is all well, and the little bleed was nothing to be concerned about, but I honestly think this pregnancy is not going to one I can "sit back and enjoy" as every single day is an anxiety attack, as all I want is to hold my healthy baby in my arms, and until that day every single little niggle or unusual symptom is going to cause me massive concern and worry.

1 comment:

  1. It's truly disgusting, yet not at all surprising. It's bad enough that you're suffering Hyperemesis again on top of having it before and losing Harry, but to have to deal with arrogant doctors and nurses, lacking in compassion is just too horrible. And for the sonographer to react like that... how do you even get that jaded and hardened to it all? x