Missing our baby boy

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Self Torture

I’m doing it again. Torturing myself. I’m not sure why I’m compelled to do this, but I know I’m not the only one. It’s probably just one more fun side affect of losing a child.

I researched cord compression, the most plausible explanation for my son’s death. It fits with all the facts we have surrounding his death, and my current doctor believes it’s the most likely explanation.

Cord compression is where some part of the baby is pressing the umbilical cord to the side of the uterine wall. The first sign of cord compression is a drop in the baby’s heart rate. Second is decrease of fetal movement. Third…there is no third. After the second sign, if undetected, the result is death.

I remember becoming aware of his movements decreasing. It was the Friday before we lost him. I told myself not to panic, this happens towards the end of pregnancy due to lack of room. He’s still moving that’s all that matters. I didn’t want to call my doctor’s office (an hour and a half away) because my doctor was on vacation and I had already had a very unpleasant encounter with his substitute that left me in tears. I would wait it out and just be aware. No need to go through a false alarm this late in the game. We only had a week and a half to go, everything will be fine.

I woke up Tuesday morning realizing he hadn’t moved all night.

I’m not sure why blame is so important here. Maybe it’s not blame as much as misplaced anger over such senselessness. There is really no one to be angry at, when you think about it. Currently, however, I’m angry at my old OB for not thinking weekly appointments were necessary before my c-section. Partly, I’m sure, because he was going on vacation and other patients were being squeezed in until he left.

In fact, the last time I saw him he said, “Well, I guess I’ll see you folks in three weeks!”

When my son was born he was on vacation...again.

Had we had our weekly appointments, would he have been able to detect fetal distress? Had I not been such a fucking coward and gone to the doctor, false alarm and bitch replacement be damned, would my son be here today?

I’ll never have answers. Somehow, it doesn’t stop me from searching for them.

The doctor attending that night at the hospital (coincidentally my OB’s partner in his practice) told me her best hypothesis was that I had undetected gestational diabetes and that’s what killed my son. My OB (shockingly) concurred. (This information came five months after my son’s death via phone call). This conflicted with what the hospital told me was a cord accident.

This put me into a setback, to put it mildly. After coming to terms with losing our child and trying to live again, I get this new information to digest.

After that, I lived for months with the understanding that I was responsible for my son’s death. Months of hating myself, blaming myself and wishing that I could just die too so the guilt would finally leave and justice would be done – how could I ever forgive myself for this? Amazingly, that didn’t happen. I still got up every day, went about my life and managed to function again.

My new doctor has reviewed everything and thinks the information I was given from my old OB was careless. I had no sugar or protein in my urine and Brayden wasn't overly large (born at 8.5 lbs)...two obvious signs of uncontrolled GD. Also, because my son turned breech so late in the pregnancy, there were no abnormalities in lab work and he was perfect in every way, he’s confident saying he believes it was a cord compression accident. It would have been all too easy for it to happen.

Does this make me feel better? Not really. I still hold myself responsible for not going in when some inner voice told me that something was wrong. It’s so easy to mistake paranoia for genuine trouble, but I should have taken that chance. Who knows what may have happened?

Why do we torture ourselves like this? It’s not like it takes a lot to keep the pain alive for us – delving deeper into the how’s and why’s of it only rub salt in the wounds…especially when, deep down, we know we’ll never know why. Not really. We may have a physical answer, something that satisfies the science end of death, but we’ll never have the why us? answered.

Life is so unfair. Trying to see the beauty in it now feels pointless. I just see it how it is – sometimes good, sometimes shitty. But, none of it seems fair.


  1. Dawn,

    Although my tragedy was completely different, as you know, my baby died in utero as well... and for awhile, I had the same feelings. With my ectopic, before my doc knew it was ectopic, he said, "you are having another miscarriage." I said, well the first one wasn't exactly a miscarriage, my baby had a fatal dianosis, he said, (without having the pathology report from baby Gabe's death) "it was a miscarriage, and we are going to find out why your body keep miscarrying your babies."
    That was heartbreaking to hear. For a long time, I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror, I hated my body so much for doing that. Because I hated my body, I hated everything about me for a very long time.
    I blamed myself, so in that regard and for so many other reasons, I can relate to you.

    Although I don't know what its like to be that far ahead in pregnancy, I think I would have acted the same way as you did...I would have thought the same thoughts. How were you supposed to know? As you said, you were so far along, baby didn't have much room.

    Blaming yourself, as I know, is part of the grieving process. I blamed myself until honestly, just recently. I hope you don't for that much longer. I pray for peace for all of us, and eventual happiness. Its so hard though, terribly hard.

    I keep you in my thoughts and prayers,

  2. Thanks Megan. Honestly, eight days or eight months...a loss is devastating, more so to have it happen repeatedly. I still feel enormous guilt sometimes, although it's most times followed up with the thought that what's done is done, guilt and blame can't take it away. No comfort in that, but it helps me lay it to rest...for a time.

    It's comforting to know that you can relate. As you probably know, sometimes us loss mommies feel like no one can...even though we know differently, it doesn't change the feeling.

    ((HUGS)) to you and me. I hope I find the strength to forgive myself for good, not just the moment, as you have. It's a struggle, one that I hope to overcome with time.

  3. We come by the self torture honestly. We don't look for it or strive to find it...it finds it way to us. So often I hear the word 'closure' in relation to many different scenarios. Everyone is looking for closure to help aid in their recovery and healing. I suppose that we are no different.

    But with that closure comes the blame game. If someone else is to blame it is supposed to help us feel better. But I really believe that assigning blame doesn't do a bit of good unless the party to blame is 'held responsible' (i.e. going to jail or favorable finding in a lawsuit). But even in those circumstances, do we *really* feel any better with that closure? Nope. Not a bit. Just bitter and angry.

    But then you consider that we are nice people - the kind of people who don't like to openly place blame on others unless it is blatant. We will do it 'privately' but not out in the wide open for everyone to see....which doesn't help either. So where does that leave us? Here. In the middle of these messes that are supposed to be our lives.

    I have trouble with the guilt thing...probably will for a long time, but it's not something that I regularly throw out there because it doesn't change anything. I place some blame on us because we didn't want ultrasounds every week (but we ended up having them weekly anyway after the NST were 'non-reactive') and because we declined another ultrasound after a non-reactive NST 3 days before before Gracie died (4 days after the US that showed her in the 19th%) because we had one scheduled for the day that she died. I place blame on our providers for not being concerned about the drop from the 30th to 19th percentile in growth in a 3 week period.

    In the end, none of it changes anything. I am still without my baby and it hurts like hell. I just keep telling myself it will get better and easier...someday it really will.