Follow Your Heart


I was 36 weeks pregnant with our first child, a son, who was to be born in January 1998. We expected our son to be born early since I had been in the hospital four times for premature labor. Each time I went to the hospital they were able to stop the contractions with medication and hydration. I attended my regular check up with my ob who explained that now that I was 36 weeks I could come off of bedrest and go back to work because at 36 weeks his lungs were ready and basically he was ready to be born so if he came now, he would be fine. Well, two days later my membranes ruptured and by the time I got to the hospital I was 3 cm dilated. I am a B Strep carrier so after the rupture of my membranes they could not try to stop my labor, as they too felt that at 36 weeks he was ready anyway to be born. They called my doctor who didn't show up until I was 8 cm. dilated. She arrived and did a quick exam and said I had dilated to 9 � cm and stopped, therefore, it was going to be awhile before delivery. So she instructed me to start pushing with the nurse at 1:40 to open my cervix the rest of the way and she left the room. She did not return for 40 minutes. The nurse had to page her to come back to the delivery room as she had went to lunch! When she returned she realized that my son had not came any further down than the crowning stage, 1 hour and 45 minutes later. His heart rate soared to 214 beats per minute and he wasn't moving any further down the birth canal. After each contraction and push he would go back up to his original position in the birth canal. Finally, after my temperature had risen to 103� and his heart rate was steadily climbing she yelled that I was just not pushing hard enough and that if I couldn't push any harder she was going to do a vacuum extraction in appx. 20 minutes. By this time I knew something was wrong (mother's intuition?) and begged her to go ahead and do the extraction. After about 15 minutes between them forcing me to get myself from the hospital bed to the operating table and them figuring out why the vacuum wasn't working, they performed the vacuum extraction while I was still pushing. Well, he wasn't breathing when he was born and he was taken away from me immediately. I didn't even see him for hours. I started to cry and my ob said, "what are you crying for?" "he is premature and just need some oxygen and will be back here in an hour or so". Well, appx. 1 hour later my husband and I were asked if we wanted an emergency baptism performed because they were losing our son and he was being transported to an intensive care NICU Unit at a nearby hospital - where he stayed, hooked up to life support for 47 days. We later found out that at 1:40 he went into severe fetal distress and stayed in severe distress until delivery at appx 4:00, the cord was wrapped so tight around his neck that it could not be felt during delivery and he had been caught behind my pelvis bone. His brain stem was severely damaged which led to multiple organ failure, deafness, blindness, cebebral palsy, and a stroke. He was not out of the birth canal far enough for a vacuum extraction to be performed safely and when it was performed it caused a ventricular brain hemorrhage. After being told that there was nothing more that could be done due to his vegetative state, his father and I had to make the toughest decision of our lives - whether or not to remove him from life support. No one should have to make that decision. He died in his daddy's arms one hour later. That OB has never once even called us to ask about him or offer support, nothing! The hardest thing for me to accept is that I had a "gut feeling" in the very beginning of my pregnancy to switch OB's. I did not feel comfortable with her and I did not feel that she was knowledgeable, but because I am such a passive person I just made excuses for her. If I had switched doctors our son would still be alive! Ladies - I beg you, if you are not comfortable with your doctor, ob or otherwise, FIND A NEW ONE! Don't settle, thinking that they have to be qualified, etc. SWITCH, until you feel comfortable. I watched my baby lay there, comatose, and suffer for the short time he was with us - all because of a doctor's negligence. PLEASE FOLLOW YOUR HEART, THERE IS SOMETHING TO BE SAID FOR WOMEN'S INTUITION!!!! Don't let this happen to you, speak up when you feel something is not right. God Bless each of you suffering with your own loss, God will give us the strength to go on, even though right now it feels as if we've been abandoned, but keep the faith and be strong.


anniversary date 03-98
date of post 07-02-98

[return to home page] [column] [book excerpts] [honor page] [discussions page]

Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW