Ember Laura-Ellen Waving

Ember Laura-Ellen Waving
Waving to mommy and daddy at 13 weeks

Saturday, January 15, 2011

When Things Couldn't Get Worse

 Yesterday it was six months since Ember was cremated and finally came home. Yes, it took a nearly week thanks to UAB not using her name OR my married name so they "lost" her for a day or two. I'll never get over all the "mistakes" they made and that's part of why I want, no NEED so badly to change the way people think and treat babies born still and their families. If Ember had a birth certificate, and thus truly had a name in their eyes, there wouldn't have been the agony of the funeral home director telling us they'd tried to pick up our baby but UAB couldn't find her. If I'd had a certificate of stillbirth in my hands, maybe I wouldn't have been yelled at for not bringing Ember in for her two and six week check-ups.
Even after Ember’s birth, things just kept getting worse at a time when I would have sworn under oath they just couldn’t. I’m brought up to the post-partum floor in a wheel chair surrounded on all sides by Hubby and several LDR nurses. Dropped off there, a nurse briefly pops her head in and it nearly spins around 360 degrees when she sees blood all over the bed and floor. She bursts in the bathroom after me, nearly yanking my IV from inside my hand when the door knocks the IV pole across the room. After she leaves, I continue pacing the room dragging the pole behind me. Despite it’s fluid is nearly completely drained by the time I’m brought upstairs, it’s neither removed nor exchanged for a couple hours. With shift change, a new nurse pops in and unhooks me from it then leaves without checking on anything else. Hubby and I are left to our own devices, dazed and captive in a room alone with our broken hearts. I wonder where the morgue is and if I could find my way to it. The only person I see without my mom or David hunting them down is every three or four hours an aid who checks my vitals.
 In the late hours of the day Ember is born, my mom makes it to the hospital. She goes through the pictures of Ember, her first grandchild, over and over. One of the first questions she asks is what they’ve given me and how much, because I’m so calm with a very flat manner. I have no idea about either, after a certain point you stop caring about needles and pills and just accept it. When sleep finally comes, it’s dream filled despite the sleeping pills. We’re woken up at shift change in the morning. After an hour or so of being ignored by the staff, a nurse is finally hunted down and told repeatedly we want to see our daughter again. With no response given for over an hour, finally one stalks in to tell me I can’t see her again because the autopsy that wasn’t to be performed till after my discharge is currently being done. It breaks through the haze of shock to make me sob again. She snaps "calm down" and tells us we can see her when the autopsy is done, then turns on a heel and is gone again. While we wait, another aid comes for my vitals and comforts me. On the whole post-partum floor and staff, she is the only one who is anything but cold and ignoring. Finally Ember is brought up, swaddled with a cap on her head and inside a whicker basket with a hood that makes seeing her face, the only part of her showing, hard to see. We’re told not to touch anything but her face, not to pick her up or move any of the blanket and especially not the cap. As soon as the nurse is gone, my mom hands her to me and I lay down beside her. As I lay next to her, memorizing her features, rubbing her tiny, soft and cold ears that are folded up and pressed to her head, I move the blanket and shirt aside to see her chest and the “knots” closing it. My vitals are taken again, with me still on my side next to her and I’m told she’s beautiful. I already know it, but it’s soothing to hear that someone else can see past her red face and torn skin and soft skull. The same nurse from before returns trying to take her, disapproving that I still have her but I turn her away several times. My mom takes a turn holding her and washes her face gently with a baby wipe.
When the IV hook-up is removed from my hand and the nurse mentions I’ll soon be discharged, I finally reliquinsh her unwilling to shower. The nurse takes her and in the far corner pulls off the booties Ember’s wearing to hand them to me. Discharge papers are brought around 2pm, and the ICU nurse in my mother flares up angrily. No one has checked my bleeding since the night before despite the fact that I hemorrhaged after delivery, and the fundal height hasn’t been checked at all either, despite the placenta going to pieces and being hard to remove. I’ve been given Prozac and an iron pill, and otherwise left alone. She raises hell, and it only gets worse when it’s revealed there is no doctor on the floor or coming anytime soon. After a few hours and several arguments between the nurse and my mother over standards of care (that nurse REALLY didn’t know what she’d gotten herself into), a doctor or intern I knew only by her first name Lindsey who can’t be 30 yet and looks closer to my age, which we’re gotten used to as UAB is a research and teaching hospital, is yanked off Labor and Delivery to be sacrificed by the post-partum nurses to my mother. I’d seen her the night I came into the hospital, and she was sweet though a little clueless. Lindsey is apologetic and admits things have been done incorrectly when told of everything that’s gone undone. She checks my stomach gently and tells me a survey sheet will be mailed to me and to please fill it out and send it back. It never is though. I doubt they want our opinions, or our story.


  1. I am so sorry you had to go through all of that. You whole story plays a big part in WHY I don't want my prenatal care from UAB. We are going to try our best to get a DR at Brookwood Medical Center. NOT a teaching hospital, they have a NICU, and they specialize in high risk. Thank you for that. You are playing a huge role in getting the best care for my rainbow baby, and I can't stress how much that means to me.

    Thinking of you always.
    <3 Cally.

  2. Wow I'm sorry you had to deal with that Katherine. As if the loss wasn't enough, you had to go through the crappy care too. They should be more trained for our situations in the hospitals. Hope you don't plan on going there next time!