Another Hurdle

Yesterday we received the results of the post mortem.  This is a hurdle that we’ve wanted to get past for a while.  It was important to us to try to find out what happened and to know what implications there would be for future pregnancies.  I was worried about the appointment, scared that I would discover an underlying problem that would leave us mourning future children as well as Lentil.  Six weeks after Lentil was born I had to have blood tests to check for clotting disorders that may have caused his death and I was worried that they would come back positive.

The night before the appointment Paul dreamt that we had twins, they both had Holt-Oram syndrome but they were alive.  It’s funny we were so worried about Lentil being born with HOS but it doesn’t matter anymore, we just want a baby who breathes, a baby we can bring home.  Paul’s dreamt before about future children, about us having a little girl with HOS, this time it was a boy and a girl.  I have to admit that I’m jealous.  I’m usually the one with the vivid dreams but I’ve only had a couple of really dark dreams about Lentil since his death rather than any dreams about his siblings.

We went to the hospital, unfortunately the consultant was running about half an hour late.  I was a little annoyed about this initially until Paul pointed out that she could have been called to an emergency.  He’s always thinking of others before himself and considers the bigger picture.  We were taken to a private meeting room to wait for the consultant.  The terrible interior design choices kept us amused and kept our minds off the news that we may be about to hear.

The consultant was really lovely, she gave us the report to read and answered all of the questions that we had.  We had made a list of questions to take with us as we knew we’d forget what we had wanted to ask once we were there.  Lentil died because he was starved of oxygen.  He was really healthy and hadn’t had problems until that day.  They aren’t sure why he was starved of oxygen.  The report says ‘an umbilical cord accident’ is the most likely explanation.  

The result has left me with really mixed emotions.  Lentil hadn’t been struggling for a long time, he really was perfect.  There is no reason to believe that future pregnancies would end in the same way.  Yet the idea that he was perfect and was so close to living just makes me so sad.  Lentil hadn’t been very active that day and we were offered the option of going into hospital for continuous monitoring but his heartbeat was strong.  If we or the midwife had thought that there was any danger we would have gone straight to hospital without any question.  But we didn’t.  The consultant did say that even with continuous monitoring the outcome may not have been any different.  It seems that the lack of oxygen was sudden and acute.  It’s just hard to put the ‘what ifs’ to bed but I know I must.

The next hurdle to overcome is receiving the results of the inquiry that the hospital is completing.  I’m terrified that the report will attribute blame.  Either to my husband and I for not going to the hospital for continuous monitoring or to our midwife for not encouraging us to do so.  As I’ve already mentioned, we had no concerns.  Lentil’s heartbeat was so strong and regular.  The contractions were becoming much more powerful and closer together.  We had and still have absolute faith in our midwife and we would not only have no qualms about her being our midwife in the future, we can’t imagine it being anyone else.  We definitely don’t blame our midwife and I’m trying really hard not to blame myself so a report that attributes blame would be completely unhelpful.

The one piece of news that we received yesterday that we hadn’t been expecting was the news that the obstetrician felt that I should strongly consider a c-section for future deliveries.  Not because another natural delivery would put the baby at risk but because of the severity of the tear that I had when Lentil was born.  This has raised more questions for me.  Lentil was ten days early, it’s best to wait until 39 weeks for an elective c-section.  There can be problems with a baby’s lungs not being ready when they’re born by c-section and the likelihood of these problems occurring increases the earlier that you have the baby.  It’s raised lots of new concerns in my head but has also reduced some other worries.  

Yesterday was definitely a day of mixed emotions.  In some ways we received the best news that we could have hoped for.  There is no underlying problem, it’s unlikely to happen again.  But it doesn’t bring Lentil back and it has made guilt rear it’s ugly head yet again.

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12 thoughts on “Another Hurdle

  1. I’m glad you have some answers and some reassurance. It takes time to absorb the information and to start to slot it into the narrative of what happened, make it a piece of the wall that divides life before loss from life now. I remember vividly being told the findings of our son’s post-mortem and hoping for something more profound than essentially “just because”. In retrospect I know that’s because I wanted to have some control, to know what I could have done differently so I could do it differently next time – if there was a next time. I felt so out of control that I needed something like that to hang onto, even if it was something that meant it was my fault. Of course, knowing it was random and unlikely to happen again was later reassuring as unbeknown to us I was already pregnant when we received the results.

    Regarding the c-section thing, I was terrified at the thought of it when I was told I needed one for my second son. However, it wasn’t as awful as I feared and was actually easier to recover from than my first delivery – an emergency forceps delivery that tore me to shreds. None of my living babies made it to full term and two were actively premature. The preemies were delivered by c-section (my placenta had failed in both cases, had been failing since at least 20 weeks) but after they had been given two rounds of steroids to mature their lungs. Neither had to go to SCBU when delivered because of that. A planned c-section (even though mine were only planned 48 hours ahead) is a very different prospect from an emergency one.

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      1. I’m glad it helps. I always hate to think of myself as one of those preachy types. I’ve just been through a great deal to get my wee family so have some experience to offer by way of anecdote rather than advice as such. I know I felt pretty isolated with the bizarre thoughts and feelings I had when we lost our son so I almost feel like it’s my duty to be very open and out there with my experience.

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  2. Becca,
    Please don’t be concerned about having a baby early. My daughter works on the neo natal intensive care ward in Norwich and most of their babies are delivered at 34 weeks with no problems. Obviously some have underlying health problems but the ones that just come early are fine. She said the babies that come at 30 weeks or less cause the most concern. She also said breast feed if baby is early because digestive system will cope better. Lots of love xxxxx kim

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  3. Very timely post for me as we have our meeting to get postmortem results on Thursday. I’m so scared but also want it to be over so I can deal with whatever comes out of it. I don’t know what answer I want, to hear – that she was never going to survive for some major reason, or to hear that she was perfect, there is no reason and if she had been born earlier she’d be sleeping on me right now.

    Oh guilt, our old friend. Just make sure to notice each guilty thought and ask yourself not if it is true or not (creates a whole world of internal debate) but ask if it is helpful or not? Is that thought going to encourage you to be the person you want to be? If not, then it’s time to let that thought go, until it or another comes back and then repeat times a million! Easier said than done I know xx

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      1. They did, the obstetrician asked if we’d like a copy and photocopied hers. I haven’t read it all yet, Paul has. I find the individual details a bit upsetting, I’m sure I’ll read it properly in time though so I’m glad we have a copy. If they don’t offer you one I’d definitely ask for it x

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      2. Ok. So hard to mentally prepare when you have no idea what they’re going to say! I’m so sorry that you’re in this position of talking about your son’s postmortem but appreciate the help! X

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      3. I’m happy to help, I just wish that neither of us were in this situation. The bit that I find hard is the detailed analysis of internal organs. I just don’t really want to think about my son in terms of the weights of different parts. I know it’s important for the post mortem, and it showed that he was really healthy but it’s still hard to think about. It’s not really something I want to think about. Knowing that I would see the results like that did help me to be mentally prepared for it though xx

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