I am working on my PTSD from what happened in the hospital(s) with my therapist. We just started this past week and it’s pretty intense. I feel the need to write it down as well, but I want to preface this by saying I do not expect comments or anything, just listening and maybe sharing with someone who might have gone through someone similar. I’m neither looking for sympathy or a rally cry against what happened. I’m not bashing them, just telling my story. And please, no advice. There isn’t anything I can change about what happened and someone saying, “You should have…” really only causes me to feel more pain and guilt as I work this out. I’m just writing this to heal. xo
The first day:
After my water broke, I remember laying on the bathroom floor and thinking, “No, no, no, no, wake up, this can’t be real. This can’t happen to me.” I was on the phone with 911 and then the firetrucks and ambulance came and I was on the floor with a towel stuffed between my legs. Bawling. I was asked repeatedly if I’d peed myself, someone checked for “tissue” in the toilet and there was none.
Taken to the hospital, I was numb. I had no idea what anyone said or did in that short ride, only that I was being asked if I was contracting and in my mind I thought, “No, because that means labor and I’m only 18 weeks and 5 days.”
Once I got to the hospital, I was wheeled into the ER and someone ran up to L&D to see what happened next. 15 minutes later they came back telling me I couldn’t be admitted there because I wasn’t 20 weeks. And a school bus had just gotten in an accident so I wasn’t able to have a room either. I spent the next 30 minutes laying on the stretcher in the hall as people passed me. An EMT stayed with to try to talk to the staff and see what could be done, but no one seemed to know or really care.
I was 18 weeks.
My water was broken.
It was over.
Finally wheeled into a room, I was left unmonitored on a bed while staff came in and out repeatedly asking what I was there for. I had to explain it again and again, reiterating I was having twins each time. They seemed to be annoyed that I had a room, telling me that the school bus accident was awful (I got mixed reports that it was minor and the kids were ok) and that the doctor was busy with those children. I waited. Sam was initially refused to see me because he had Bella (no other children in the ER) but finally was able to come back with the promise she’d stay in our room.
Exact time alludes me but we were there a total of 6 or so hours. I was taken for an ultrasound 4 hours in by a tech to also wanted to know if I’d peed myself, and didn’t speak to me other than that. I felt uneasy, everyone seemed to think this was a joke or I was stupid. She told me she couldn’t show me any images or answer any questions, so we sat quietly in the room as she waved the wand. I remember watching her face change from, “Waste of time,” to “Oh shit.”
Wheeled back, I waited at least another hour for the doctor to look at the report. All of a sudden he appeared, without introduction simply said, “Looks like both sacs broke, one of the twin’s feet is in your cervix, so at this point there’s nothing we can do.”
I will never, ever forget the excruciating pain of that moment. It literally felt like my heart had been ripped out of my body, and I covered my face with my hands and screamed. I don’t know what I had expected but it wasn’t that. I just bawled and bawled and it actually hurt to breathe. I thought I was going to die from the pain alone.
He stood there and waited till Sam asked what we should do and then said, “You can go home, you can stay here, you can be transferred to your hospital.” We chose to transfer and were told that an ambulance would have to become available before we could leave. I never saw that doctor again and we were left alone until the EMT’s came to get us.
I felt as if I was a huge burden and annoyance to them. As if I had chosen that day for my water to break with babies that had zero chance of survival – and on a bus crash day. I felt so horribly for those children and families that anytime I was told I couldn’t be seen or couldn’t have a room, I reasoned with myself that it was totally fine.
Laying in the hall on a stretcher for 45 minutes as water leaked out of me and I carried 2 babies and people that could help/say something/tell me it would be ok passed by. Left in the middle of the ER at the nurses station where I was stared at, moved around, and the only person who cared was a random EMT.
It was totally fine.
Only it wasn’t. And I can’t shake it. Among other things that came after that. It was the tip of the crappy iceberg where you’re left so shaken and unsure of what has happened that it all cascades down on you. 10 months and I replay these events every night in my head as I try to sort out what happened. Why I was treated like a bother from start to finish. Why no one really cared. Why the pressure to “get it over with” was so strong. Why I still feel intense guilt for being angry – because there really wasn’t a lot they could do.
Except maybe treat me like a person.
But I was pregnant. And a woman. And “hysterical.” And my babies weren’t “really babies.” So I didn’t count. We didn’t count.
And the impact of not counting, of that entire week of not mattering to the staff I needed it to matter to, the impact it left behind is life altering.