On March 28, 2020, my husband and I found out I was pregnant. I was overjoyed and my husband was shocked. We made the unofficial announcement to very close friends and family members on April 1, 2020. Bad timing but so worth it. The due date for our little biscuit was December 9, 2020.
On April 24th, we had our first ultrasound. Our little biscuit had a strong heartbeat and enjoyed hanging upside down. By this time, we learned pizza was a no-go but tacos and box yellow cupcakes with chocolate icing were life.
Then, on April 27th at 1:30am, I woke up to see I was bleeding. My husband and I raced to the ER where due to COVID, he was forced to wait in the truck while I sat in the hospital alone. After several tests were done, nobody could figure out why I was bleeding. All we knew was the baby was ok. That was all that mattered to us.
After I got some sleep, I called the OBGYN's office. I spoke with a nurse who decided constipation caused the bleeding. I thought it was weird but I was determined to keep my baby safe. So I accepted it and did exactly what I was instructed.
Everything was fine until Wednesday May 6, 2020. I noticed I had started spotting again so I called the OBGYN's office. The nurse I spoke with was nothing short of cold, uncaring, and unprofessional. She said "Well, I don't mean to sound callous; but if you miscarry, there's nothing that can be done". Although this may be true, I called for help and deserved to be treated with respect and dignity.
Two days later on Friday May 8, 2020 at 6:00pm, I started hardcore bleeding. My husband and I raced back to the ER where again, I had to be alone. Four hours later, I had my husband on speakerphone where we learned our baby had passed and I was officially miscarrying. I remember wearing lime green flip flops, navy blue terry cloth shorts, a grey tank top, and brown and orange striped cardigan. My husband was wearing jeans and a baby blue polo. Fortunately, the hospital made an exception and let him back to comfort me. I remember screaming and sobbing louder and harder than I ever have before. Our world was completely shattered.
The next day, my husband and I went to Cambridge, MD so we could try and heal by breathing in the energy from the Choptank River. It was here where my husband and I named our baby Chase. Then, a few minutes after we got home, the most violent 2.5 hours of our lives began.
For about 15 minutes, I was in labor and gave birth to our precious Chase. Once he was born, I thought it would be over. I was wrong. I soon began vomiting and passing tissue at the same time. I had to sit on the toilet for 2.5 hours because the bleeding was so bad. I was rocking back and forth on the toilet just so I could tolerate the pain. I took no medication. We were fortunate to have my doula and mentor on the phone coaching us through the process. We were also fortunate to have a strong support network, especially since this was Mother's Day weekend. Yes, I lost my baby Mother's Day weekend.
On Monday May 11th, my husband and I went to the OBGYN as a follow up to the ER. We told the nurse the whole story including what the cold nurse told me. This nurse defended the other nurse's action. Then she instructed me to undress from the waist down to be evaluated. I told her "I don't think so". She left and the doctor came in. We told the doctor the same thing. Then she started defending the nurse as well. We were beside ourselves.
The next day, May 12th, we went back to the OBGYN's office for the ultrasound. As I'm lying on the table, my husband covered my eyes so I wouldn't see my empty uterus on the big screen in front of us. When I left to use the restroom, my husband asked the ultrasound tech if she would turn the front screen off. The tech said "No" because it would cause the whole system to turn off. So my wonderful husband continued to cover my eyes through the rest of the ultrasound.
The following day, May 13th, I get a notification that my ultrasound results were in. I read the results which said, I had a simple ovarian cyst and endometrial lining that was thicker than normal. What stood out is that these healthcare professionals had known since April 24th about this. If they knew about this, why didn’t they tell me? I’m the patient, the mother, and the vessel for this child. It’s my duty to protect my baby. This was extremely important information to know that they deliberately hid from me.
Needless to say, I was livid. I called the OBGYN's office saying so. The same nurse I saw May 11th said she would look into it and call me the next day. Did she? Of course not! Instead, she called Friday May 15th saying to set up an appointment after my next period. It was laughable they thought I was coming back.
I'm even more furious at this point. I then took the advice of my mentor and sent a letter to the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO)of the Hospital. But I didn't end there. I also sent a letter to a local Community College (College). I spoke with both and shared my story. The CCO was furious and forwarded my info to the person who could help me. That individual called me and after sharing my story is taking appropriate action with the OBGYN. College listened to my story and were horrified. Both places agreed changes needed to be made and asked me to speak with the Nursing Students.
What happened to me was unacceptable, disgraceful, and disgusting. I deserved nothing less than to be treated with kindness and dignity by healthcare professionals not just as a pregnant woman, but as a person. Anyone who is involved in the healthcare industry must show compassion to all patients. Period.
The saddest part is that my husband and I were some of the lucky ones and my voice is being heard. So many other people are not as lucky and do not/will not have their voices heard. That being said, I vow to use my voice to make the necessary changes we all so desperately need. We cannot let this continue and healthcare professionals must be held accountable for inappropriate behavior. It is not only a disservice to patients; it is a disservice to the millions of healthcare professionals who are kind and compassionate people.
I refuse to be quiet about what happened to me. There are changes which desperately need to be made. I will not stop until everyone has heard my story and changes are made. I will continue to speak with The US Senate, US House of Representatives, Local Legislatures, Colleges and Universities, etc. I will not stop until no person or family endures what I have endured.
March of Dimes fights for the health of all moms and babies. We're advocating for policies to protect them. We're working to radically improve the health care they receive. We're pioneering research to find solutions. We're empowering families with the knowledge and tools to have healthier pregnancies. By uniting communities, we're building a brighter future for us all.
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