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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Memories of Birth, Teale, part six, the final

I believe my Mom went home shortly after we left Teale in the NICU with the nurses. It had been a rough night and I had had major surgery. Mark wanted to get me into my bed and he also hoped to get a few hours of sleep. We ran in home daycare together back then, ten children counted on us daily. Our "kids" would be showing up in the morning, unaware of what our night had been. Mark needed to get home before the families started coming to our house so he could explain. Beau had no idea he had a new baby sister, nor did much of our family or friends know the hell we had just been through. The night had been so strange and unbelievable, we had not bothered many with calls, as early in the evening we had been unsure what would happen. Then by the time she was born, it was late and what would we say? Mark had the difficult task of spreading the word of our daughter's birth. I was too physically spent to talk to many people and my thoughts were too full of fear. I imagined words of uncertainty coming from my lips. "We had a daughter, but she was completely unresponsive at birth and we don't know if she will make it. If she does pull through this, we don't know how severe her brain damage is or what she'll be capable of." Awful, unfathomable, the night still just felt like a dream or the worst nightmare ever. The morning came and Mark went home, his leaving me there alone was like he was leaving me with a pack of wolves. I felt betrayed by many, the resident in triage who had treated me so poorly, the medical community who had told me she would be ok, all the people who had told me stories of their friends or friend's friends who had had gastroschisis but were doing well in life. But mostly I felt betrayed by God, why did He allow this to happen? Mark and I did everything in our power to handle this pregnancy with grace. We prayed for our baby's safety often, we went to the numerous doctors, we attended counseling together to be prepared and build our relationship stronger in this time of stress. We went to church weekly and were involved deeply in our faith community. I believed, we were decent people, living our life honestly and caring about others. We loved each other more than most couples I knew, enjoying our covenant with God in a marriage of faith. We truly enjoying working side by side daily, caring for other people's children and raising our active son. This would become the time in my life I would struggle in my faith the most, the time I would be the most angry at God. In contrast it would also be the time I felt the most surrounded by God's love and the most connected to the universe as people showed us much love and care in our time of pain. In my pregnancy, I had trusted it was going to be ok. I had believed that God had given us this baby for a reason and we were doing everything possible to make sure she would be healthy. She would "just" need major surgery after birth. Basically after the recovery of her gastroschisis repair, she would be like any other baby and grow up to be like any other kid and then adult. I know Mark and I prayed as we fell asleep together the night of Teale's birth. I know hospital policy was that Mark could not be in bed with me, but the nurses turned the other cheek, knowing our baby may not make it. I needed Marks arms around me, much like a child scared from a nightmare, I needed him close. When Mark left, I do not remember. If we went to see Teale together before his going or if he went alone to the NICU is all trapped somewhere in my mind. Those details are lost to time or the heavy medicines I was on. Memories come in waves of those first hours and days, but one stands out above the rest. While I was alone in my room after Mark had gone home, the doctor who had been overseeing the resident came in. The resident had been horrid to me, treating me like a hypochondriac the night before. She acted like I was over exaggerating my labor and she had wanted to send me home. The realization that had she sent me home, I could have lost Teale and possibly Mark would have also lost me, had already occurred to the both of us. When the doctor came in, he asked if he could sit down, although I felt strong enough to talk, I would have preferred Mark was there. I was angry at the doctor, but more so, at the resident he was overseeing. The doctor offered an apology for what went on, for how triage was handled, for the results it all had on my daughter. He would never really know how his and the resident's bad judgement would impact my daughter and all of us in the long run. Somewhere out there, both of these doctors are living their lives freely, while Teale struggles everyday.


  1. This must have been excruciating to write/relive. It is painful and heartbreaking to read. I can't tell you how grateful I am that you've chosen to share your story with us. I, too, wonder who Teale may have become had they acted with more urgency. Medical professionals sometimes forget that we are the experts on our own bodies. I wonder if this experience changed how that woman treats her patients. I sure hope it did.

  2. Jan, Part three was the most difficult. It seriously wrecked me, heart beat was fast for hours and I mentally was just ripped apart. I am glad it's over, as in many ways it may have helped heal me too. I have much more to write about the days and weeks immediately following her birth. Our finding out her issues was often done with incredible insensitivity. Right now I want to bask in the greatness of Teale's placement into SHCH!!! I am glad you have been a part of my life.

  3. In a way, I relate to the bitterness you feel toward the doctors getting to live their free lives while TT struggles daily. Will's brachial plexus injury, by nature, is said to always be due to the fault of the doctor birthing the child. Roland and I have struggled with this as well, particularly when we took him for surgery in Texas.

  4. Sad for you and Will Amy. Life is tough enough without added challenges! I wouldn't say I am bitter, it comes in waves, no doubt. I think I mostly believe Teale is who she was supposed to teach all who she touches.