Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Making a list & checking it twice.

And it doesn't involve whose been naughty or nice.

If you've been reading long enough or you've read back in my blog, you'll realize I already know whose naughty or nice.

I'm preparing for a big day Wednesday. On that day, we have our "big" 20 week (well, 19 week really) scan of the baby trapped inside of me.

For those of you who don't have kids & have never been through this, it's something that's really only exciting to most because usually that is when you're told if your fetus has indoor or outdoor plumbing. We have already been told that the baby is suppose to have outdoor plumbing. But even if we hadn't, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be my first concern.

With Joel, we got fucked. We got fucked hard. And I'm not sure if I should blame incompetence or if I should blame someone being in a hurry. No matter what though, I'll continue to blame.

I know I've spoke of this, but I'm not sure if I've done it in great detail. If I have, it's not been recently, so here is the story.

We go to a place connected to a hospital I hate for our "big" ultrasound. The appointment was at 1pm. We didn't get seen until 1:10. That's only a big deal since we were out of there & at a branch of our bank putting in a deposit at 1:35. These scans are suppose to take 45-60 minutes because that's when they check everything. Every organ, every limb, & make sure things are how they are suppose to be.

The girl doing the scan is hurried. She doesn't really talk with us until the end, never tells us anything. I know techs can't give you exact details, but I'm use to them at least saying, "here is the babys leg" & things like that. She didn't say anything about the baby, minus that he was a boy, until the very end. And those 5 minutes haunt me & always will.

"When do you see your doctor again? Are they your primary doctor? I can't get pictures of his toes & one set of fingers, so you need to come back in about 3 weeks. Will your doctor send you back? When do you see your doctor? Are you sure you'll be able to make that appointment? Will you come back in about 3 weeks when your doctor will order it?" She just went on & on. After we left I told Adam I had a weird feeling, people don't act like that over some fingers & toes, which are hard to get pictures of at all.

I wait & call my midwife. The only thing that made me feel better was her telling me that if there was something wrong, they usually get a doctor then if they are available. No doctor came in, so I should be fine. Still though, it didn't feel right. She gets the report in about 2 weeks after, everything says it's just fine. At my next visit, she sits beside me, going over word for word of the report. Gives me a copy that I bring home & hang on the fridge. I push my concerns aside, maybe that tech was just a weirdo. I talk about going back with my midwife, we decide it's not really important to get fingers & toes since they are hard to get, plus they are expensive scans ($1200 at this place, which we pay 20% of). Plus, it was an uncomfortable place with not so nice people, so I wasn't in a hurry to go back. And again, if anything serious was wrong they'd put it in the report, right? Right.

Fast forward to my 3rd trimester. We decide we'd like another ultrasound because with the first one, we were rushed & didn't get but 3 pictures. My midwife okays it & gives me a form to have it done. On the form she calls it a "positioning scan" so insurance will cover a portion of it & then decides to write "and previously poorly viewed features." She writes that just because the report previously said to look for toes & a set of fingers. She put it on there for the hell of it, nothing more. This is just over a month before he's due. Adam sets up his vasectomy appointment for the 16th. I joked that the only day they'd have available for the scan would be the 17th & we'd find out something awful was wrong.

We were so comfortable, we could joke about something being wrong. Because nothing was wrong, right? Right.

We go in on the 17th. Different tech, thankfully. She's a bit nicer. She sits down & says, "It's been a while...why didn't you come in sooner?" I told her we didn't see much of a reason at the time. She looked kinda confused & started the scan. First thing she goes for wasn't anything but his heart, then bladder, then other things. She has me lay all over the place, she brings another tech in. She tells me out of the things she's suppose to look for, she couldn't find them all. She sends us on the way, totally empty handed, & I'm annoyed I'd looked forward to this & got nothing out of it.

We wait in line behind a woman pregnant with twins, making several appointments in advance, taking a long time to do so. We have to wait to check out. After a few minutes, I recognize a fancy doctor from his pictures on the walls walk through the hall & pass us as if he'd just come in. Adam tells me later he goes right into the room we'd left. The tech comes out a minute later & ask, "Jessica, would you like to come have Dr. Idiot scan you?" We say, "Sure!" because we think he's going to do something fun. Yes, seriously.

He scans me. They finally exchange "well, here is where bloodflow would be if there was any." In that moment, I realized something was up.

"We're pretty sure this baby only has one kidney."

I never thought I'd be one of those women who got hysterical. I thought I'd remain cool. I didn't. He tried to calm me down, explained it'd only a bad thing if they don't monitor it & his fluid levels, but once he's born it'll be alright. They had thought we'd just now finally come back to confirm that diagnosis. We had no idea it was even a possibility. My report said two healthy, normal kidneys. Lies. He's very clear that he's sure in this diagnosis. They write the name down so we can google it. He says a few times he's sure there is nothing. He even goes as far as to say, "I mean, if you want to pretend that something here is a kidney you can, but it's not there." They let us stay in the room for a while after, I guess they didn't want to scare the other pregnant women. When we go out I try to make an appointment for the next week so they can monitor his kidney & fluid levels. They refuse to let me, because "there isn't an order from your primary caregiver." Ummmm...your highly trained, overpriced doctor just said I need it but you don't let me make an appointment? Thanks.

We drive home in silence. I call my midwife, she's freaked out because she knew that wasn't listed on the report. After a couple days, she finally gets ahold of this doctor. Looking back, I don't understand what she told us compared to what he told us. According to her, he was "fairly sure" the baby would need kidney surgery for the kidney. When I ask her if she was talking about the only one he has, she tells me he didn't say. We assume at that point he thinks it's worse than he explained to us because she was told he'd need surgery on his kidney. He was very sure there was just one kidney there, so talking about surgery with my midwife had to refer to that one kidney.

More crying.

We decide we want to see this doctor again, so we make arrangements to drive almost an hour to his other office since the office in our town told us they could never tell us when we'd get to see him at all. We go, sign in, & wait. A woman from behind the window opens it & calls out, "Jessica, when did you find out about the babys deformity?" She said it like she was asking if I had my insurance card with me.

I go back, I get scanned. They do a biophysical profile to make sure the baby is doing alright. He passes, but barely. And he only passes because she "buzzed" him a few times to get all his movement in under the 30 minute time limit. The doctor comes in & they say, "we found another kidney hidden in the pelvis! You don't have to come back!" Yes, seriously. A week before he was confident there wasn't a kidney or blood flow, but now there are 2 kidneys?

Being overjoyed, we asked no questions. We were happy & went out without a single worry or any questioning of, "should we monitor this just in case?" When you're scared your baby will die, being told it won't is very nice & you don't see it any other way.

But you all know how this works out. About 3 1/2 weeks after being told things will be fine, the baby is dead. Autopsy shows only one kidney, & not too great of one at that. In my medical records, a radiologist actually says that he believes there were fluid issues before the baby died, that the levels didn't drop that rapidly after the baby passed away since I had almost no fluid when it was checked. He used a fancy name for it that I googled to find out about. I had so little fluid in delivery that they didn't even know when my water broke, they assumed it was still intact until I started pushing & only when they saw no signs of the bag of fluid did they realize it'd broken.

So yeah, I got fucked. The first time his possible "deformity" wasn't even told to us or my midwife because of some paperwork error. And the second time they dismissed it & just thought things would work out alright.

My favorite moment was leaving my midwife on the way to the hospital when she couldn't find his heartbeat. She called & mentioned she'd already called that doctor. When she explained who I was & that the baby now had no heart beat, the only thing she said he would say was, "well, kidney problems don't cause babies to die, so this has nothing to do with that."

Ah, compassion.

I later found out these doctors had other "goofs" ranging from telling people the wrong sex of the baby all the way up to diagnosing people with serious medical issues during pregnancy without any testing, which turned out to be incorrect diagnoses once other doctors did testing.

Obviously, I'm using a different everything this time around. I assume that lessens our chances of fuck ups. But I still find myself angry that I didn't demand more care. I'm angry that I didn't pay close enough attention at that 20 week scan to notice something was up.

So now, instead of looking forward to Wednesday, I dread it. Because this could end up totally fucked like Joel's was. I have no faith in people anymore. I want to sit down & make a list, a list of everything that is suppose to be seen at this ultrasound to make sure they take the time to find it all.

This is just yet another one of those times I want to hunt people down & punch them. I shouldn't have to fear something other people look forward to so much. And I will never believe this baby is fine & healthy until he's born & staring at me with that look of disappointment that says, "you people are my parents?!" I don't think any amount of testing & reassurance can get me to believe things will be alright.

Things were suppose to be alright all along. But, again, if you've read my blog about pretty much everything in my life you should know most things aren't alright. But they shouldn't be able to get any worse.

If they do, I'm getting committed. Someone needs to start that paperwork now.


  1. Oh my God, Jess. I didn't know you had that sort of experience and I had no idea about Joel's kidney (maybe I missed that somewhere). How terrible. Can't believe they had the balls to tell you he didn't die because of the kidney issue. Wow. People have some nerve.
    I'm so glad you're going somewhere else tomorrow. Of course, you're worried sick. You're traumatized. I'm in the same boat and I had a great u/s experience with Ella. I just feel like nothing can go right anymore. I've lost faith, too.
    I forgot that your poor husband had a vesectomy and then had it reversed. He just earned many more points in my book. I'm so glad you guys tried again and I have faith everything is going to go smoothly tomorrow. Hang in there!

  2. Jess, I had no idea you had that kind of issue for Joel as well. We never made it to the big ultrasound. We lost Jonathan just a week shy of the big ultrasound. I can certainly understand why you would be so hesitant and leery. Hoping all goes so much better this time. *hugs*

  3. I would write the list of things to check. I hope that you get people who are a little more compassionate! Geez!

  4. Hi Jessica. I found your blog thru babycenter months ago and I am addicted. I enjoy your wit, your dark sense of humor, and the way you illustrate your stories with photos, no matter how silly. LOL. (MY husband, btw, would not be so cooperative about having his picture taken doing things such as assembling something or eating. Haha.)

    I cannot tell you how sorry I am for the loss you and your husband endured last year. Please know that I will be one of many who will be checking here frequently the next couple days to watch for you to let us know the results from your ultrasound tomorrow. My fingers are crossed. GOOD LUCK! :)

  5. Um, I can't log in, but this is Jessica the blog writer. I promise.

    Michelle, welcome to your addiction. It's an honor to have you. Your husband must not me as much of an attention whore as mine is. lol

    To my other lovely ladies, as well, thanks for the kind words & support. I don't think I ever really laid it all out like that, at least not hear. As it was going on I put some of it in my myspace blog for those friends to read, but it wasn't even the complete story at once when I told it in pieces there.

    And I'll tell the husband that he gets a gold star in your book. As soon as we lost Joel, we talked about it. We knew it was something we wanted to do. Had some drama trying to figure out how to pay for it, eventually used credit cards & then use student loan money to make sure we can make those payments. Totally irresponsible. I guess we could have worked & saved, but I just couldn't wait with it "maybe" going to happen. I had to know it would happen & when. Even if it meant debt. And obviously, I have no regret with that decision now.

    Good or bad (because I always add that in there now) I'll post an update tomorrow here. Some pictures, too, I'm sure. I may even take our camera with us & get pictures of the event to make it a more fun experience to share.

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