July 3rd

Last year at this time Josh was visiting me during my fellowship month in Philadelphia. He’d been home from Kiev for about 2 weeks, and I’d had to leave immediately for Philly. This has to have been the fastest year of my life, because I barely remember any of it.

Six months ago at this time, I was having the worst day of my life. It was all over by 7:00am, and I imagine that right now I was asleep from the sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs they’d given me. I think that I went to sleep with Josh and the anesthesiologist holding my hands, or at least that’s the last moment I remember before waking up again. The anesthesiologist was so kind, and we’d spoken Hebrew while the surgeon repaired the damage done to my cervix and perineum during the surgery. Everyone cried. I think, as I look back, that this immediate compassion and acknowledgment has helped me grieve.

Everyone in that room was so invested in saving Natan. They tried so hard. And the doctors and nurses were heartbroken. While they were working, they were calm, efficient, and professional. But when it was over their humanity overwhelmed me. The obstetrician had tears in her eyes, and the resident was barely holding herself together. I’m not sure the resident had lost a baby before, or come so close to losing a mom. The obstetrician told us that she’ll wonder for the rest of her life whether things could have worked out differently. You might think that would produce doubt, whether I might blame them. I do blame Dr. M’s practice – I am angry at them. But those doctors in the hospital, the team who delivered us, tried their best in a situation where they had seconds to act. Maybe different decisions could have saved you, but maybe they would have just killed us both. I will always respect them for admitting to being only human, and for choosing to empathize with me rather than protect themselves. And there’s a strange kind of comfort in believing they’ll never forget us. They didn’t make mistakes, but they were confined by being mortal.

And now, here we are, six months on. I’d give anything to have Natan with us, but I’m learning to love a new baby inside me. Today we began progesterone shots – and although the cerclage was a big milestone, this is the preventative treatment I consider the most important. The doctor I trusted the most, who took the most time to listen and talk to me in the hospital believed I was in pre-term labor before my cervix began to open. I am so sorry she wasn’t my OB with Natan, like Dr. K I think she would have listened to me more carefully.

If I believed in good omens, I’d take the random coincidence that we’re beginning the shots on Natan’s six month birthday as one.


8 responses to “July 3rd

  1. I’ve been thinking about you today. This is a hard day. I am so sorry.

    I think I said it before– the compassionate care we got at the hospital was so, so important and so helpful. So I get that part completely.

    I am glad they started progesterone. I hope that makes you feel better mentally and that the combination of it and the cerclage will get you to December and live baby.

  2. I really like the idea of thinking of the coincidence as a good omen, even though I don’t believe in them any more than it seems like you do.

    This must be such a difficult day for you.

    I know this must sound odd, but I’m so touched by your description of the doctors and nurses involved in Natan’s delivery. It almost makes me believe that there are doctors somewhere who actually care about their patients.

    It’s such a stark contrast to my own delivery. None of the doctors or nurses said anything to me except what was absolutely professionally necessary (“can you sit up?” “please lie down” “you may feel some pressure”). After the delivery, I never saw any of them again.

  3. I think I can wrap my mind around this being a good omen simply because it brings you that sense/feeling.

    Time sure doesn’t pass in a linear or logical fashion. Sometimes I feel like time wraps around, or collapses on itself somehow. Sorry if that doesn’t make sense.

    I’m glad to hear that you have started the progesterone shots. It sounds like you are having them done at the doctor’s office. Many women I *know* have to give them to themselves (or their DH has to do it). This would absolutely NOT be an option for me. No way.

  4. Thanks, everyone.

    Niobe what you said doesn’t sound odd at all. I was clearly touched too, and I don’t know how I could have gone on without them. I guess I would have, but I wouldn’t be nearly as “okay.”

    I’m so sorry you had such cold, heartless doctors. I suppose that’s what I would have expected from them, so I’m grateful they proved me wrong.

  5. Every time I read about your account of January 3, 2007, I think about almost loosing a friend. I am very sorry for you that Natan did not survive, but the fact that you almost died is what scares me the most. It took me a few days to e-mail you once I found your blog because I was so shaken.

    What comforts me is that you had VERY caring people around you at the time. It sounds like they were doing the best they thought they could do to help you out. I often wish that I could go back in time to tell them what I know about drug metabolism. I don’t know if it would have helped the situation, but I somehow feel like it might have.

    Right now I am glad that you are alive, have a wonderful OB, AND have a new life developing in you. You are a great mom. It is too bad that Natan only was able to be out of the womb alive for 7 minutes, but I am sure he felt your and Josh’s love in that short time. I do believe that even at that young an age Natan felt all of the caring around him both in and out of the womb from you and the people around you.

    Your new baby WILL know you two for a lot longer. I am thinking in the affirmative that you are going to take HOME a healthy baby in December. I know he or she will have Natan watching out for them in spirit.

    Good luck with the progesterone treatments. I think that you are doing it right to have it in the doctor’s office. I am not a fan of long needles with viscous solutions.

  6. i am thinking of you on Natan’s 6-month birthday. this is such a difficult milestone. hugs to you.

  7. I’m so sorry this was a hard day for you, and I’m sorry I didn’t comment earlier.

    I am very glad you got the shot, and yes, it does seem like a fortuitous coincidence. I was just telling someone about you and your site and the progesterone shots the other day. I don’t know if it comforts you at all, but you are helping others with this site and your writing.


  8. Thanks Aurelia. That’s great to hear.

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