I have lost twice and I share my second loss with you…
As I lay bleeding on the floor, all I could hear was the commotion.
Yes, I replied. I could hear the sound of the ambulance driving closer.
She said, I will meet you at the hospital.
Two tall, stocky men wearing all blue walk through the door. The first one through the door said, “Hi Annette, my name is Dave and this is Mike. I will be taking your vitals and Mike will be starting an IV.”
Dave was tapping my hand. “Are you okay?” he said. I must have had a blank face because he asked me three times.
Yes, I’m okay.
We are going to get you into the ambulance in just a moment. I just need to start this IV, the EMT said.
At that point, the situation did not feel real to me. Was I really lying there on the floor with blood everywhere?
As we drove closer to the hospital entrance, my heart began to race.
In the emergency entrance hallway, the nurse rushed to me and examined me. Afterwards, one said, “It looks like the bleeding has stopped. Sit tight. There will be a doctor in to see you soon.”
An hour later, a doctor walked into the room with an ultrasound machine. “Hi, Annette. My name is Dr. Richardson. I’m going to examine you and the baby to see what’s going on.”
I kept my eyes on his face while he had the Doppler on my belly. His facial expressions never changed. Either everything looked okay, or he had one good poker face.
With a polite voice, he said, “The baby looks good. I don’t see any kind of abruptions. If I saw any large, dark areas on the screen, that’s where the bleeding might be coming from, but everything is clear. This leads me to believe that you might have been bleeding from behind the baby. If that’s the case, I won’t be able to see it. Only time will tell. You will need to stay until we get your blood results back and the bleeding has stopped.”
One thing that he said that had concerned him was that my vitals had been low and that I had lost a considerable amount of blood.
A nurse came for me about an hour later. She was very polite and petite. On the way to the room, I asked the nurse, “Can I use the restroom?”
“Oh, of course. I’m going to fix your sheets. Let me know if you need any help.”
“No thank you. I got it”
As I walked toward the door to the restroom, I felt something hard hit my feet. I slowly looked down. It was blood. I couldn’t believe my eyes – I wasn’t even able to see my feet. I thought to myself was all this blood coming from me? The little petite nurse weighing about 120 pounds picked me up in a cradle position and laid me onto the bed.
“Are you ok?”
“Yes I’m fine. What’s happening?”
The nurse pulled the cord on the wall and, within seconds, I had a full room of doctors and nurses in my room. By that time, my family had started to arrive.
Dr. Martin had asked me if I would give them permission for a blood transfusion.
“Yes, if it’s needed,” I replied.
Dr. Martin continued, “I am the on-call ob/gyn doctor and I will be taking care of you.” The doctor had another ultrasound monitor on me. “The baby is good, but you’re not, Annette. You’re five months into your pregnancy and the situation is serious.” She paused and then continued. The bleeding will soon have an effect upon the baby. I will be back in an hour to check on you.”
My mom and my sisters Corina and Terrie rushed in. They asked me, “Are you okay? The nurses told us what happened.”
I explained to them what Dr. Martin had just told me.
My mom said, “Danny is at Tia Angela’s house. He is very worried about you.”
Danny is my son, and he was five at the time. I told her to tell him that everything is fine and that mom would be home soon.
Dr. Martin walked back into the room within one hour. “Annette, could I talk with you privately, or do you mind if your family hears what I need to tell you?”
No I don’t mind, I said.
Dr. Martin explained, “The baby is okay right now, but you have lost too much blood. We could continue giving you blood transfusions and you would have to stay in the hospital until the baby reaches six and a half months. Bear in mind, the baby may not survive at that early stage. In addition, your health might be in jeopardy at the end of six and a half months.” She continued to say that my body had been hemorrhaging and she did not know the source of the blood. “The safe thing to do is to be induced, but the decision is yours to make.”
“Have you exhausted all the possibilities?” I asked.
“Yes, I’m afraid so,” Dr. Martin replied with a serious tone.
I had a huge lump in my throat. I was crying. I asked Dr. Martin for a few private minutes with my family.
My mom quietly expressed her recommendations in an indirect way. “Annette, you have Danny. He needs you.”
“I know mom, but what a difficult decision to make. Tell the doctor to induce me.” I closed my eyes and prayed. How was I going to survive this ordeal?
Dr. Martin walked into the room and said that she would be giving me some medication but I would be alert through the delivery. Several hours after the delivery, a nurse named Susan came into my room. She was the nurse who helps patients who lose their babies. All I remember now was her kindness and a few questions.
She asked if she could call me in a few weeks to see how I was doing.
“Yes, of course,” I replied quietly.
Susan did call, and she asked me if I would like to attend a meeting with other parents who have also had a loss. The meeting enabled patients to share their situations with nurses and doctors who worked in the delivery area. The purpose of the meeting was to see how my visit was and if there was anything that I would change about my stay. Ironically, of the seventeen parents who agreed to participate I found myself alone in front of the staff.
At the meeting, I suggested for them to take out the channels that show a nurse teaching a mother to care for their babies when they take them home. The program was on three different channels in the maternity ward and I hurt knowing that I was not taking my baby home. The hospital has the capability to remove those channels in a mother’s room if she had a lost a baby. Subsequently, the hospital accepted my advice and removed those channels. I now help other grieving mothers who have lost a baby from miscarriages at the same hospital.
From this experience, I have learned to love my two boys – Danny, 14 and Christian, 9 – more and appreciate the joy of children and what they mean to their parents. From this strength, I have realized the importance of women who experience what I experience, knowing what they will feel and that, despite the pain, they will survive. I introduce myself and story this way: Hi I’m Annette. You may not think so now, but tough times never last, but tough people do. I’m here for you.”