Justice for Silas: A Mother’s true story about the loss of her baby boy.
VOICES NEVER HEARD: JUSTICE FOR SILAS:
What happens when a mother loses her baby due to a hospitals incompetency? It’s time to bring awareness, to talk and to understand Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is also a time of grief for those who have lost a child. These parents often times stay silent and this should never happen to any family. Justice for Silas brings forth the opportunity to share the dark reality of what some go through in silence.
Silas’s due date was November 13, 2017. He was born 24 weeks too early. I was getting to my 16th week of my pregnancy when on May 28th I rushed to the hospital because of some bleeding and a pressure that felt an awful lot like my baby was about to come out if I pushed hard enough. I had two hospitals I could choose from and I chose the hospital that was a bit closer to my house. Never could I imagine the absolute regret and guilt I would feel choosing this hospital, once my baby passed away. I walk into the establishment as my boyfriend, Richard, parks the car. Right away the nurses greet me and are asking me to fill out a form to explain the reasoning for my visit and to sign in. I of course talked as I filled out the paperwork and let them know what was going on. They took my vitals and asked if I was wearing a pad and if so was I bleeding through. I said no, I didn’t even think of putting on a pad cause once I saw the bright red blood on the toilet paper, I instantly knew I needed to go to the hospital. They asked for a urine sample and asked how far along I was in my pregnancy, then took me back to wait for a doctor. An ultrasound tech came in and told me they would be giving me an ultrasound in a few minutes. While I was waiting, I could no longer feel the pressure of my baby wanting to come out. Relief starts to settle in and I start to calm down a little bit. I get wheeled away for my ultrasound and it’s nothing short of uncomfortable. The tech hardly looked at me and was rather cold and used (what I thought) unnecessary uncomfortable pressure against me. Naturally this just refueled my fear even more and made me think the worst, even though I was aware ultrasound techs have a protocol to follow that states they cannot talk to you during the ultrasound and will ultimately have to wait till a doctor is there to go over the results with the patient. Finally after what felt like hours she said she was done and took me back into my room. The doctor came in and said the baby was fine. His length was right where it needed to be, his heart was beating strong – all in all he was perfect. They did inform me that I had a slight UTI and was going to be prescribed pregnancy-safe antibiotics to clear it up. I was also told to not worry about the bleeding cause bleeding is natural when pregnant and the pressure I felt was because of the UTI and nothing else. I was sent home feeling a little better but still on edge.
MAY 29, 2017
The next morning I woke up and did my morning pee, washed my hands and went back to bed. That pressure was back again but not as prominent as it was the day before. I had the sudden urge to sneeze and when I did, something popped. Next thing I know my pants and underwear were soaked and the spot on the bed and blanket under me were just as wet as well. I thought I peed myself. The liquid just kept coming out so I got up to change and put on a pad. I didn’t even think to go back to the hospital that day because that pressure was instantly gone and I started to believe the doctors were right. It was just a UTI and now that I seemingly peed on myself, the scare is over.
MAY 30, 2017
I’m bleeding again. Something is definitely wrong, so Richard and I head back to the hospital. This time the urgency in the staff is no longer there. Instead, they leave me in a room waiting for me to leave a urine sample and said that a doctor will not be able to see me until a sample is given. Finally, I was able to produce a little urine and I still was left to wait for several hours. I arrived around 12:45 – 1 pm and did not get to speak to someone till about 6:45 pm. The emergency room doctor at the time asked me how far along I was then asked me if I was checked vaginally last visit and earlier that day, once I told him about the popping sensation and the liquid that was still at the time, dripping out. I said no. His face dropped and he got quiet. I could see the tiny bit of panic that flashed across his face before he regained his composure to tell me that they will have to admit me because my “UTI” is a lot worse than expected.
Now. I’m not an idiot. UTI’s are never something serious unless accompanied by serious side effects such as pain, burning, vomiting, fever, etc. Which I had absolutely none of these symptoms. Just some light bleeding and some pressure that I was still trying to find answers to cause a UTI didn’t seem right. Needless to say this nightmarish story gets worst. I get wheeled up to my room finally about an hour and a half to two hours later after being told I was being admitted. No one knew who I was. They had no idea why I was there, how I got up there or where my medical chart was. Now, Richard is a lot like me when it comes to our temperaments but he usually can keep his cool a little better than me. At this point he was absolutely livid with how unorganized and careless this hospital and their staff were, and it took everything in him to not blow up on them. He sat by my side through the entire ordeal and was in such disbelief he almost thought it was a joke.
* Sit back ladies and gentlemen, this story is about to go for an even wilder ride. *
Everything is finally situated and everyone is seemingly up to speed on what is going on. My overnight nurse was a fucking moron. She was no help and kept fidgeting with my IV instead of asking if I was okay or if I needed anything. She avoided questions and I could tell she was one of the people who were still not briefed on why I was even admitted in the first place. Soon after, a doctor and nurse from the maternity ward came up with a fetal Doppler to check on my baby and I. The doctor had a thick heavy accent and just like the ultrasound tech from my first visit, also used a heavy amount of pressure on my sensitive stomach that made me wince. The nurse noticed and verbally told the doctor I had some slight tenderness in the area that he was pushing on. The doctor takes the fetal Doppler and places it on me. No heartbeat. He moves it around and still no heartbeat. They assure me the baby is fine. He’s probably in a strange position and that’s why they can’t pick it up. They make a comment about how all they can hear is my placenta and to make sure I pee every time I get the urge cause it’s important. The nurse tells me, if anyone has a problem with it just fire back with a response like, “maybe you should get pregnant as well and then you can have the same bathroom privileges as me,” which I found sort of odd that she decided to throw in a joke at that time. Soon after, they leave and tell me they’ll see me in 24 weeks. Another ultrasound tech comes in but it’s not to see the baby. Instead it’s to do an ultrasound near my ribs and around my chest, which I thought was strange. She didn’t speak to let me know why she was there or what she was checking for but she did thank us before she left. That was the last person I saw that night, a doctor never came in to check on me – it was like I didn’t exist. To this day I still have no idea what that ultrasound was for, no one spoke about it. Keep in mind I wasn’t feeling any pressure at all by this time. Maybe a little crampy, but my baby felt secured and safe inside me though I was still uneasy.
MAY 31, 2017
The next morning around 5 am, Richard and I are talking after what was an extremely uncomfortable night. I know he’s exhausted cause he had to maneuver himself in a tolerable position on the one chair that was in the room and let’s be honest no one sleeps well in just a plain wooden chair. So I tell him to go home and take a nap and come back later because hospitals take their sweet time gathering up the discharge papers. He kisses me goodbye and leaves. As I’m lying there in bed waiting for my airhead nurse to come in and check on me I start to feel the need to pee. At this point I’m afraid to admit that I am terrified of peeing cause I want everything to be okay and at that point in time – I did not feel like everything was okay. Finally she comes in and asks me how I’m feeling. I express my concerns once again and complain about the pressure. Her response? “You should tell a doctor.” I was stunned. I then asked her when was the doctor going to come in. She said she wasn’t sure when the doctor would come in but she would go find them if I really needed their assistance. She ends up leaving and I’m stuck in this room replaying in my head what just happened. I’m in total disbelief that no one is really taking me seriously, but am comforted by the fact that because these doctors are leaving me alone and not really checking up on me then my baby and I must be okay. They wouldn’t leave me be if nothing was truly wrong right? Wrong…so very wrong.
I can’t take it anymore, I have to get up and use the bathroom. I wiggle my way out of the bed trying to be careful not to knock my IV out of my wrist and find a way to successfully bring my IV in with me to use the bathroom. I use the bathroom and I feel something plop out of me. I get up and look at the toilet water and I see this weird mucous-like discharge in pink-tinted water – which I assumed the pink was from me still bleeding a little. I’m still standing up and trying to wipe myself and that’s when I feel something sticking out of me and lightly tapping my butt cheeks as I moved around. Panic is coming on hard and fast and my heart starts to race. I’m trying to calm myself down and tell myself it’s nothing. Nothing is wrong, nothing can be wrong. I twisted my body a little bit more to see if I could feel what was coming out of me and it was no longer there. Instantly I calm down. I turn the other way to flush the toilet and that’s when I saw it. The image that is forever burned into my memory that still to this day has yet to leave. My beautiful, beautiful little boy was lying on the ground next to a toilet in a hospital…lifeless, cold and dead. Shock welled up inside me and I didn’t know what to do so I yanked the nurse assistance pull cord that all hospital bathrooms have and basically broke it. I backed away from my dead baby’s body, my eyes still locked on him as part of me tells myself to rush to him and pick him up to cradle against me, while the other half tells me not to move and just stand there frozen. Suddenly, there’s a knock on the door before I decide what to do and the nurses come in with smiles on their faces asking if everything is okay. I don’t remember clearly what happened next but I heard a scream. I didn’t realize till after everything happened that the scream was coming from me. Next thing I know I’m back in bed and someone is handing me a box of tissues while another person is brushing the hair out of my face and wiping my tears. I hear a voice in the background asking me if I would like to see my baby because, “He’s perfect.” A tiny part of me lights up because I interpreted that comment as her informing me my baby can be saved and he’s alive. But I turn to look at her and the look on her face said otherwise. My baby was not save-able. He was already gone and it was too late. I shook my head no and said I didn’t want to see him. I didn’t trust my emotions or myself to see the little creation Richard and I had made. It seemed almost cruel of the staff to ask if I’d like to see him so soon considering the horrific experience that had taken place not even an hour ago.
The nurses finally leave my room and it wasn’t until then did I realize I was 100% completely alone in my little world. My baby was gone, Richard was home by now and probably passed out and my family was at home. I pick up my phone and my first call was not to Richard. Richard I didn’t want to call first cause I didn’t want to tell him that I lost our baby. I couldn’t compose myself enough to tell him just yet what happened cause no expecting father should ever receive that call. I felt like I failed him and it was my fault for our son’s death. How could I be the bearer of bad news when not even an hour ago, I told him I was fine and I would see him later today? I called my best friend here in town first and I knew she would be sleeping but I needed to tell someone. Just like I suspected, she was asleep but she answered. I remember not being able to keep my cool and practically screamed what happened to her. Once I got off the phone, I contacted my best friend in Florida and told her what happened and then I prepped myself to wake Richard up to tell him the heartbreaking news. The phone rings once and he groggily answers. I try as calmly as I can to let him know that I need him and that he has to prepare himself cause our baby is gone. I can’t tell if what I said registered in his mind, but he right away said okay and he was on his way. I hang up the phone and I remember my heart just breaking even more as I waited for him to come back.
30 minutes later, the door opens and it’s Richard. Without a word he climbs into bed with me and hugs me as tight as he can as I broke down. Richard is a very strong person. He held me as I cried and told me everything was going to be okay though it didn’t feel like it. Eventually a nurse came in from the maternity ward and said they will be moving me down into maternity. Richard gathered my stuff as they checked my vitals and drew more blood. They sat me down in a wheelchair and wheeled me into my next room. My nurse was kind and very warm. She tried to comfort me to her best ability and tried to explain what was going to happen next. A doctor came in and told me they weren’t sure if my placenta had passed and since I was a first-time mother who had experienced such horror, I was ill-equipped to verify whether or not it did cause I was in so much shock. The doctor tells me he will be inducing me by shoving a pill into my vagina to get the contractions going. Hopefully by doing that, my placenta will pass and I will not have to get a D&C. The next few hours were a blur. He did the procedure and said they would give me some time to pass it. In the meantime, I was in bed and was bleeding. I’ve never seen so much blood in my life. My nurse was constantly changing my gown and my sheets and taking me to the bathroom to wipe me and wash me. Eventually she tells me that I passed my placenta and I’m okay. Next they’ll be taking my placenta and running tests on it to make sure this “UTI” was not the cause of my baby’s death and him falling out of me. It wasn’t. Indeed, I had a slight UTI, but nowhere near as bad as they tried to make it out to be.
The doctor comes back and says the reason for my baby’s death was not because of the UTI but cause I had an incompetent cervix. For those of you who are unaware of what that means, it means it was a weakened cervix. Usually around 12 weeks or so (if the problem is known) your OB will check weekly on your cervix to make sure that it’s still closed and not opening. If it does start to open that’s when your OB will perform a surgery on you and insert a cerclage. Basically, this cerclage is a stitch to hold your cervix together. So in other words, they pretty much sew you up to ensure that your baby does not fall out. He told me they never know about the incompetent cervix until it actually happens. Yet…I walked in that hospital from day 1 and openly complained about this feeling of my baby coming out, which normally is a sign for the doctor to take extra care and precautions to check my cervix out to see if there was an opening happening. But hey, what do I know right? The doctor then pats me on the shoulder and says sorry and next time it’ll be an easy fix if I come in again.
I was in this hospital for another night and just wanted to go home. I was able to see my son, which at the time Richard and I had no idea the sex of our baby. I was actually really close to seeing the sex of our baby on June 20th, which is 2 days after my birthday. The nurse allowed us to hold him and spend time with him for as long as we needed. We were then approached by the nurse and were asked how we wanted to proceed with his body. Neither Richard or I thought about what we wanted to do with him cause that’s not what people think about when they are expecting a child. We were given 3 options:
- Bury him
- Cremate him
- Give him up and let the hospital take him down to their lab and destroy him.
We chose to cremate him.
MAY 31, 2018 PRESENT DAY
Exactly a year later, and I remember this as if it happened yesterday. Ladies, trust your bodies. Trust your motherly instincts and if you feel something is wrong go to the doctor. If they insist nothing is wrong and you still feel like something is, by all means, speak up. Express the worry and concern. There isn’t a moment that goes by where I don’t say to myself that I should have been more persistent. I should have spoken up more and complained harder. Maybe if I did, my ending wouldn’t have been so heartbreaking. Our Silas would be here today. Or maybe things would have ended the same way but Richard and I would have more peace in our hearts knowing that the hospital did everything they could because they took our worries seriously.
Mom and dad are so sorry this happened to you, Silas. You weren’t meant to live just to die before you were even given a chance at life. The sorrow in both of our hearts will never go away. If I could go back in time, I would have chosen a different hospital. I would have fought for you a lot harder than I did. We both know you’re watching over us, and you’re probably confused as to why we are so sad some days. You knew nothing other than love and we’re proud to know that we at least gave you that much before you passed. Rest in peace, little bear.