That time trusting my OBGYN nearly killed me, part 5

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At this point, my baby was 1 week old. An entire week old and here I was laying in a hospital bed fighting for my life. I feel like turning a week old is one of the first newborn milestones to be celebrated. I didn’t even get to be with my baby to celebrate this milestone and that absolutely broke my heart. I somehow felt guilty even though all that was happening was out of my control. This is not what was supposed to be happening.

The Mister and my sister-in-law’s mom (let’s call sister-in-law “Girl” and her mom “Aunt Bee” because this could get very confusing without names) were in my hospital room. They had just returned from checking on the boys and bringing back some toiletries for me. I had desperately wanted deodorant. I hadn’t had a shower in days and, even while fighting for my life, I wanted to smell good. Something was up with The Mister. He didn’t look good. He looked stressed out and worried. He knew something I didn’t.

Aunt Bee said that she was going to get me out of this hospital and into a better hospital. I hate that there are “decent” hospitals and “exceptional” hospitals. ALL of them are supposed to take care of people. Why can’t they ALL be exceptional?! Anyways, Aunt Bee had put in some phone calls and the motions were in process to get me transferred. All of the sudden, the current hospital realized that I was not doing well and started moving me to a floor with patients of a higher priority with more intense issues. Um, why did it take them so long to figure this out? Why couldn’t there be a sense of urgency with every patient?

At some point in time, one of the doctors from my OBGYN office had been in the hospital. We were told that the doctors at the hospital were trying to work with this doctor, but the doctor was refusing to cooperate. We asked to speak to the doctor. Another refusal. Instead, we were given a piece of paper with the doctor’s phone number on and and told to call if we wanted to speak. In my mind, this was their way of avoiding any issues because they knew something was wrong. All those phone calls I made telling them my symptoms, only to be ignored and told that everything was normal? The office visit where, instead of receiving an exam, I was given a prescription for Zoloft and a diagnosis of Postpartum Depression? They had plenty of opportunities to help and, now that I was fighting for my life, decided to just avoid and ignore the entire situation instead of actually try to HELP. I understand that we all make mistakes. We’re only human, so it happens. What I don’t understand, and, frankly get quite ticked off about, is when people can’t own up to their mistakes and completely ignore the outcome.

Back to the story…some amount of time had gone by, numerous phone calls were made, and I was finally getting transferred into a hospital in Philadelphia. At this point, my body was pretty swollen from all the liquids I had been given through IV, so add that to already being self-conscious about my postpartum body. An EMT team came into my room and moved me onto a stretcher so that I could be loaded up into an ambulance for transport. They did this by rolling me onto a sheet and then lifted that sheet onto the stretcher. It was SO incredibly painful. They were the nicest guys ever, but my body was in intense pain with every movement. If you’ve given birth and have experienced labor pains…it was worse than labor pains. Absolutely no exaggeration. I was still having trouble breathing, still had a rapid heartbeat, still had intense pain in my stomach even when I wasn’t moving. I was miserable and I was exhausted.

The ambulance ride over to the city was less exciting than I had always imagined an ambulance ride to be. I felt every single bump in the road. Every single little one hurt so so so bad. The ride couldn’t have been more than 30 minutes, but it seriously felt like hours. All I wanted was to be home with my babies and feeling well again.

We finally arrived at the hospital in Philadelphia and I was given a room in intensive care. Actually having the label of being in intensive care both freaked me out and calmed me at the same time. Weird, right? A part of me was freaking out because people only go to intensive care if they’re really really REALLY sick. I knew I was sick, but this just confirmed the severity. On the other hand, it calmed me because I knew that some of the best physicians work on the intensive care units. Like, these doctors really know their stuff and would now be on a mission to save my life. I actually DID know what I was talking about and my symptoms WERE actually real and not something that could be fixed with a prescription picked up at my local CVS.

I stayed in that hospital room for a total of 5 days. Five days that dragged on forever and that, somehow was the worst and best thing ever. Every day spent in that hospital was another day away from my family. Away from my newborn who spent his first holiday with extended family instead of with his mommy, daddy, and big brother (know that I am FOREVER grateful for this, but it still pained me). Away from my first born who was experiencing his first days as a big brother without his mommy by his side to help him. Away from my husband, who saved his vacation days up so we could spend our first week together as a family of 4. Instead, I was in the hospital. That’s not how it was all supposed to be!

The nurses and doctors that took care of me were amazing. The nurses were there to tend to my every little need. It seemed like I had to go to the bathroom every 5 minutes and, as annoying as that probably was, they would help me every step of the way. They washed my body and combed my hair, helping me to feel a tiny bit more human and less a sick new mom who couldn’t even breathe without a steady supply of oxygen. The doctors would come in with their teams…multiple doctors together…to ask me questions and perform various physicals. They would listen to what I had to say, take it all seriously, and do their best to get to the root of the problem. Imagine that.

The food was horrible. That’s my only complaint about that hospital, but, in the grand scheme of things, who cares what the food tastes like as long as the doctors and nurses get their patients out healthy, right?

Finally, after those 5 days, the doctors decided I was well enough to get moved to the rehabilitation section of the hospital. I still had a fever, but I was not requiring oxygen as much, my pains were not as intense, and it seemed as though I was on the mend. I was so excited because being moved meant that I was one step closer to being well again. One step closer to being home again with my family.

The new hospital room had a window in it. The intensive care room may have had a window in it, too, but I honestly don’t even remember. I do remember the window in this new room. At this point in time, it was mid-February and snow was on the ground. My bed was right by the window which was both nice and upsetting at the same time. It was nice to be able to look outside and see the buildings of Philadelphia. I’ve always loved the buildings in Philly and how so many of the buildings have such detailed designs that buildings today don’t really have. It was upsetting to be able to look out of the window, however, because I was constantly being reminded of something I had been told when I was pregnant.

It’s no surprise that I’m a fan of social media. I’ve run multiple businesses online, met my husband online (true story…and this was before meeting people online was popular!), so it’s only natural that I’m in a bunch of different Facebook groups. Groups for hobbies and interests. Groups for running businesses and learning about local events and such. I happened to be in one of the mom groups when I was told something that has stuck with me to this day. There was some thread going where I had posted that I was anxious to have a baby in the middle of the winter. After all, Big Dude had been born in Florida…there’s no snow or ice in Florida! I was so worried that I was going to slip and fall on the ice or get hurt. Multiple people responded that everything would be ok, but one person told me that she had babies in the winter and there was nothing better than sitting in a comfortable chair near a window, holding a newborn, and watching the snow fall. That it was so calming and made for perfect moments of bonding. I looked forward to that moment so much. Instead of getting to experience that same calm myself, with my new baby, I was stuck in a hospital watching the snow fall by myself. Not holding my baby.

Continue reading this series:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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8 Responses

  1. Rebecca Goodman says:

    I read your blog about your birthing experience… Where did you have your son? I had my son at Virtua in Voorhees and it was the absolute worse experience of my life. But I am curious what they claimed finally was wrong with you? Or do you not know?

    • Elizabeth Dukart says:

      Hi Rebecca! He was born at Virtua in Voorhees, too. I’m so sorry you had a bad experience! Part 6 will have the diagnosis. I’m working on it 🙂

  2. Elesa says:

    What was the diagnosis in the end? It sounds terrifying.

    • Elizabeth Dukart says:

      Hi Elesa. It was the most terrifying experience of my life and I’m so thankful that I lived to tell the story! Part 6 will be published soon and will have the diagnosis.

  3. Rachel says:

    I’m on the edge of my seat here! So sad to hear you had such a horrible experience with your doctor – that’s criminal. If you ever decide to have another baby I highly recommend seeing the doctors at virtua center for women – they’re tied right to the hospital at Voorhees.

    • Elizabeth Dukart says:

      Working on part 6! Thank you for the recommendation! Our plan always was 3 kids, but, after all this happened, we changed our minds.

  4. Steph says:

    Dr. T sounds like a doctor I dealt with who gave me a c-section and used staples to close me…which obviously got infected. From the moment I met him I didn’t want him near me or my baby. He had a crude sense of humor and terrible bedside manner.

    I’m sorry you had to deal with this!!

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