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The Hospital. 1.

I am working on my PTSD from what happened in the hospital(s) with my therapist. We just started this past week and it’s pretty intense. I feel the need to write it down as well, but I want to preface this by saying I do not expect comments or anything, just listening and maybe sharing with someone who might have gone through someone similar. I’m neither looking for sympathy or a rally cry against what happened. I’m not bashing them, just telling my story. And please, no advice. There isn’t anything I can change about what happened and someone saying, “You should have…” really only causes me to feel more pain and guilt as I work this out. I’m just writing this to heal. xo

The first day:

After my water broke, I remember laying on the bathroom floor and thinking, “No, no, no, no, wake up, this can’t be real. This can’t happen to me.” I was on the phone with 911 and then the firetrucks and ambulance came and I was on the floor with a towel stuffed between my legs. Bawling. I was asked repeatedly if I’d peed myself, someone checked for “tissue” in the toilet and there was none.

Taken to the hospital, I was numb. I had no idea what anyone said or did in that short ride, only that I was being asked if I was contracting and in my mind I thought, “No, because that means labor and I’m only 18 weeks and 5 days.”

Once I got to the hospital, I was wheeled into the ER and someone ran up to L&D to see what happened next. 15 minutes later they came back telling me I couldn’t be admitted there because I wasn’t 20 weeks. And a school bus had just gotten in an accident so I wasn’t able to have a room either. I spent the next 30 minutes laying on the stretcher in the hall as people passed me. An EMT stayed with to try to talk to the staff and see what could be done, but no one seemed to know or really care.

I was 18 weeks.

My water was broken.

It was over.

Next.

Finally wheeled into a room, I was left unmonitored on a bed while staff came in and out repeatedly asking what I was there for. I had to explain it again and again, reiterating I was having twins each time. They seemed to be annoyed that I had a room, telling me that the school bus accident was awful (I got mixed reports that it was minor and the kids were ok) and that the doctor was busy with those children. I waited. Sam was initially refused to see me because he had Bella (no other children in the ER) but finally was able to come back with the promise she’d stay in our room.

Exact time alludes me but we were there a total of 6 or so hours. I was taken for an ultrasound 4 hours in by a tech to also wanted to know if I’d peed myself, and didn’t speak to me other than that. I felt uneasy, everyone seemed to think this was a joke or I was stupid. She told me she couldn’t show me any images or answer any questions, so we sat quietly in the room as she waved the wand. I remember watching her face change from, “Waste of time,” to “Oh shit.”

Wheeled back, I waited at least another hour for the doctor to look at the report. All of a sudden he appeared, without introduction simply said, “Looks like both sacs broke, one of the twin’s feet is in your cervix, so at this point there’s nothing we can do.”

I will never, ever forget the excruciating pain of that moment. It literally felt like my heart had been ripped out of my body, and I covered my face with my hands and screamed. I don’t know what I had expected but it wasn’t that. I just bawled and bawled and it actually hurt to breathe. I thought I was going to die from the pain alone.

He stood there and waited till Sam asked what we should do and then said, “You can go home, you can stay here, you can be transferred to your hospital.” We chose to transfer and were told that an ambulance would have to become available before we could leave. I never saw that doctor again and we were left alone until the EMT’s came to get us.

I felt as if I was a huge burden and annoyance to them. As if I had chosen that day for my water to break with babies that had zero chance of survival – and on a bus crash day. I felt so horribly for those children and families that anytime I was told I couldn’t be seen or couldn’t have a room, I reasoned with myself that it was totally fine.

Laying in the hall on a stretcher for 45 minutes as water leaked out of me and I carried 2 babies and people that could help/say something/tell me it would be ok passed by. Left in the middle of the ER at the nurses station where I was stared at, moved around, and the only person who cared was a random EMT. 

It was totally fine.

Only it wasn’t. And I can’t shake it. Among other things that came after that. It was the tip of the crappy iceberg where you’re left so shaken and unsure of what has happened that it all cascades down on you. 10 months and I replay these events every night in my head as I try to sort out what happened. Why I was treated like a bother from start to finish. Why no one really cared. Why the pressure to “get it over with” was so strong. Why I still feel intense guilt for being angry – because there really wasn’t a lot they could do.

Except maybe treat me like a person.

But I was pregnant. And a woman. And “hysterical.” And my babies weren’t “really babies.” So I didn’t count. We didn’t count.

And the impact of not counting, of that entire week of not mattering to the staff I needed it to matter to, the impact it left behind is life altering.

 


Comments

  1. This just isn’t ok and nothing will make it ok. But I’m so glad you’re writing it out. I love you and your heart a lot.

  2. I remember this day still. And I hope you know how much you and your sons were being thought about and prayed for.

  3. xoxo.

  4. i remember this day – finding out about your on twitter and praying for you and your sweet boys. you have processed this so vulnerably and with so much grace. i know that you are giving hope to so many women. much love to you mama.

  5. Nothing about it is okay. But it’s a story that needs to be told. <3

  6. I’m so sorry. What a terrible way to treat someone going through such an awful time.

  7. Reading this, Diana, and thinking every day how awful, indecent and inhuman your treatment was. How unethical. How heavy this sorrow must be. Not that it compares at all but I remember walking into the triage of a “beach” hospital when I miscarried with my first pregnancy, a towel between my legs and I was asked “is this your first pregnancy?” I responded yes and the nurse said “What a bummer.” I will never, ever forget those words. I was 14 weeks pregnant and it over four years ago. Some things will always resonate. I pray with him it becomes easier for you. Hugs and love…

    • Blergh. I pray with time*.. ;) but I guess with Him, too.

    • AP… Isn’t it amazing how they can be so casual? I am sure they have no idea how their offhanded comments can stay with people forever, but they need to be made aware! The ER doctor I saw said “Well, we can’t find a heartbeat, but you can get pregnant again about 2 weeks after you quit bleeding. And maybe you had a false pregnancy anyway.”. Which made no sense as we’d seen the heartbeat on multiple occasions and he had my charts right in front of him. It was like he was telling me he couldn’t find the penny I’d dropped, but that’s ok, because I can get another one. :/

  8. I do have to give you a tiny bit of advice… BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF! You did everything you could. But I have yet to take that advice myself 22 years after going through a very similar situation with a pregnancy at 16 weeks. I still resent, still replay, still think “what if”. TWENTY TWO YEARS LATER! I hope that people in the medical profession will hear our voices and keep in mind that patients are, first and foremost, real people with real feelings.

  9. Two things- I am so sorry. AGAIN. So sorry for the loss of the twins, the craptastic way you were treated all around, so sorry for IT ALL. You are BRAVE. Thank you so much for putting your story and their story out there.

  10. Love and prayers. xoxo

  11. My goodness, I am so sorry. When I was 19 weeks pregnant with my twins, I was having very severe pain in my abdomen/bladder/side area. I had a similar experience to yours, with a nurse actually telling me to “suck it up.” Of course, my water had not broken, and I absolutely cannot imagine the worry and fear and pain that you were going through. Alone.

    It’s NOT okay. And no, there’s nothing you can do about the actual situation now, but I am so glad you are seeing a counselor and getting it all out there. I am praying for you!

  12. Thanks for sharing your story. It will change someone’s life, honestly – even if its just one medical professional who reads this and treats someone a bit more compassionately. So thank you for that.

  13. Hugs

  14. I am so glad you wrote this. It needs to be told. xoxo

  15. :( They shouldn’t have treated you and Sam and the babies like that. Period. I am still angry thinking about it.

  16. I’m glad you are getting it out, in more ways than one. What happened to you isn’t right, and I hope with time you will be able to heal enough to get through the pain. I know you will never ever forget. My thoughts are with you and your little angels.

  17. Thank you. Thank you for being willing to share the story of your boys and for sharing this. Though my birth experiences have been at 35 and 37 weeks, the treatment seemed just as cold. Reading your words, as painful as they are, are helping me begin to deal with my own feelings about my experience. I wish this wasn’t how God has spoken to me just because I recognize the pain you are experiencing…but I am so thankful that you are willing to share your story with others. I am praying for your family…for a safe pregnancy, for healing, for adoption, for the wonderful day you are reunited with your boys, and for all the awful and great days until then. You have been such an amazing witness in my life…thank you!

  18. Sending you lots of love!

  19. This is one of the exact reasons I am in school to be a midwife. I want things like this to change for women and I want to be a part of that change in the hospital system. I’ve been following your story for a long time and was absolutely appalled at what happened to you, especially since I work in a hospital and see all types of things day in and day out. I hope SO much that I can one day fight for someone like you and make sure things like this don’t ever have to happen.

  20. It still makes me angry. And it makes me hurt. And cry. I’m glad you’ve chosen to work through it and share it with us. *love & hugs*

  21. I only knew of the general details of that week before the boys were born and those general details angered me so much on your behalf. Hearing even more details makes me even more furious for you. I wish I could take away your anger and feelings of betrayal because no one deserve such insult on top of such a terrible injury.

  22. Your story brings so many tears to my eyes and so much pain to my heart. I love what you have shared and what you haven’t shared. I love your little family and can’t wait to see it grow. Thank you for being so brave as to shed light on these situations, the stigma behind them and what you’re doing to care for yourself. I wish some days that I had your strength.

  23. This makes my heart ache for you. I will never understand why medical professionals have a need to be so callous. I had a subchorionic hematoma with my youngest daughter and went to the hospital 5 times for severe bleeding. The Drs always just told me to go home, I would probably miscarry, and to come back if I got dizzy or soaked a pad in an hour. AND when my water broke early, they insisted I peed myself (it’s very common and nothing to be ashamed of, honey) and sent me home where preterm labor started and I ended up in an ambulance being rushed to a hospital with a Level III NICU. It’s like they don’t even realize the importance of the life of the baby inside you. Lots of love and hugs!

  24. Your story will save others from similar horrors. People will remember what you wrote and will remember their job is to care for people, not charts.

  25. Oh I am sorry. I hate this for you. Many hugs and prayers from NY.

  26. I’m sorry. Sometimes, people are just so insensitive.. God bless.

  27. Melissa F. says:

    Sending you lots of love as you continue to work through your pain. You are a very brave,strong woman and I feel very lucky to be able to read your beautiful words.

  28. I’m so happy to see all of these supportive comments. So. Happy.

    I think it’s good for you to process this, as much as one can, and it’s important to feel safe doing that in whichever ways help you, including writing about it here. I’ll never forget seeing the tweets and thinking, “WTF is going on?!?” We were all there with you in our hearts, and we’re here with you now.

  29. I know a very small piece of your frustration and pain…I had to go back to the ER five days after delivering my first son, with postpartum pre-eclampsia. The staff treated me and husband with such disrespect, separating us for no good reason while I sat alone in a hallway (much like you) for hours waiting for room. The ER was empty. My newborn screamed at my husband desperately wanting to nurse, and instead of letting me see my tiny brand new baby, they shoved pre-filled formula bottles in my husband’s face and kept them away. A hospital-grade breast pump was eventually wheeled into my room, which I did not know how to use, and instead of someone caring and trying to help, 4-5 doctors and nurses borderline abused me while I sat there bare-chested in tears trying to make it work. Let’s not forget the fact that who can pump five days postpartum! That suggestion is ridiculous. No one cared that I had fresh stitches from delivery, and that I could not get in and out of beds and chairs immediately. The rest of my stay only got worse, and I was never allowed to see my son. It was the single-most horrible experience with a medical environment. The disrespect and indifference of the entire staff, from start to finish, was deplorable. I had a lot of anxiety about it for a long time. My son is four now and I’m getting mad typing this all over again! Ugh. Time has helped though, I no longer get butterflies in my stomach thinking about it. Like I said, this is a small, very small piece of what you went through…just know you’re an amazing mom and you have the support and thoughts of many, many women. xoxo

  30. I’m so sorry that no one there showed you the care and compassion and human feeling you deserved and needed.
    Hugs and prayers! xoxo

  31. Hugs. Just hugs.

  32. Diana, you matter! Your boys matter! Think of Psalm 139. God sent His son to die. FOR
    you! For your sons! I’m praying for your healing!

  33. I’m so sorry it happened this way for you. Losing a child at any stage is incomprehensible, and the fact that the hospital staff just brushed you off like there is nothing they could do is not only callous but wrong. Not only would compassion have been the proper response, there are tons of comfort measures the hospital can undertake during a process like that.

    You have every right to be angry. I cannot imagine how differently my loss experience would have been if people had treated us that way.

  34. Thank you for sharing your story. As a nurse, it makes me truly sick to hear of such poor treatment and lax of empathy and common decency. As a mom, I am heartbroken reading this and imagining the pain you had to go through and still go through. Your strength and ability to tell your story so openly is admirable. Praying that this pregnancy brings nothing but joy and happy memories for you throughout the whole journey.

  35. This makes my heart so heavy; it was not fair. I’m glad you’re talking about it. *HUGS*

  36. i’m just so sorry. this is criminal, and the reason my mother champions for all healthcare workers to take classes in communications and ongoing sensitivity training. i think it’s so therapeutic to write it out and i’m so glad you’re finding peace in it as well. sending you love and praying for you and this sweet blessing that’s coming in august. we’re so close! i love that our pregnancies are so close, your updates always make me smile and touch my own blossoming belly.

  37. My heart aches for you.

  38. Oh my, there just arent even any words in response to this. My heart is aching with yours and my spirit is indignant! I am so so sorry that you were subjected to such awful, inhumane circumstances. I respect you more than any other. You are a warrior, a testimony of a living God. Thank you for sharing your story. You are amazing. Truly.

  39. I know. Unfortunately. I know. My water broke with my twins at 22 weeks with my son and then my daughter at 23. The feeling of their life support literally draining from your body is absolutely terrifying. It’s been nearly 3 years since my daughter died and I have not stopped reliving it in my head. Thank you for sharing what I wanted to share but feared no one cared. Your story is important to me in a deep way. Reading your words will not change anything but there is a comfort in knowing that you’re not crazy for not being able to press stop on your thoughts. I thank you for having the courage to speak.

  40. I am so sorry for your loss, Diana, and can’t imagine the pain you and your family have endured. I am not trying to give advice at all, but have you considered legal action? You could potentially have a malpractice and/or wrongful death claim against the hospital. I’m sure you may not want to do that or perhaps you have already considered it, but you do have one more year to bring action if you chose to do so.

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