We live in a small town, around 30 000 people. We decided to go to our local hospital as the pain suddenly increased and we live a mere few blocks away. When presenting in the emergency room we were told to go to Labor and Delivery. I was wheeled to L&D. I changed and was hooked up to monitors, at that time they said the baby’s heart beat was strong and that the OB would be in shortly to see us. I was left in excruciating pain ripping through my shoulder blades and ribs with my husband in the L&D room for approximately 20 mins while we could hear the nurses discussing why we had been sent up from emergency downstairs. They then came in to inform us that the OB was refusing to see us, that this was not something they could help us with, and they were sending us back to Emergency. Now our fear turned to anger. How could he not come and see us?
Upon arriving back in the emergency department we met with our dear midwife. She checked the baby and we were told everything was fine. My parents arrived and suddenly we felt more supported and ready to fight whatever this was. The ER doctor, to whom this day his face is written in my mind, began testing. Pulmonary embolism? X Rays came back clear, blood work came back clear. After an hour of lying in pain, trying every test he could come up with, he ordered one last test. I could tell he was becoming exasperated with each time he walked into our room with no answers. The blood work came back, HELLP syndrome. He said that my platelets were dangerously low (I do not know all the numbers, my husband does) my liver enzymes were climbing and they believed that my liver was the source of the pain. They had to immediately get me to the nearest city, approximately 30 mins away, where they could safely deliver a 34 week old baby and “save your life.” This was the first time we heard this expression, it was 10pm on February 7th 2011 and I would fight for my life would continue for the next 10 days.
I was taken by Ambulance to the nearest city with a specialized delivery and neonatal department. At this time I was given some morphine, which did nothing to dent the pain. My husband was taken to do paperwork and they set me up in my room. The MFM specialist came in and said that they were going to do an ultrasound to check on baby, they would then access my care plan from then. With my husband next to me and my mother coming down the hall the tech put the ultrasound wand to my belly.
The room fell quiet.
The ultrasound technician left to get the doctor. I looked at my husband and held my breath.
The MFM specialist came back into the room. He did not make eye contact with us and silently stood looking at the images for some time. He then said “your child has expired.”
I looked at my husband, our eyes filled with horror, my mother’s face in the doorway stricken with fear and pain. I said to Matt “Oh God, we killed our baby.”