The Strength of Words

by Birth Without Fear on April 3, 2013

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” – George Orwell

I woke up in a daze and headed to go to the bathroom for the 3rd time that morning. I couldn’t believe it was already the 3rd trip this morning, come on, I was only 12 weeks pregnant. The baby isn’t that big. I finish and go to wipe. I notice its slimy, I turn on the light too look. Blood… I wipe again, more blood. It just keeps coming. I just start to sob. I know in my heart this baby is no longer with me but I try to hold out hope. Where is my phone?

I go to get my cell phone and wake up my husband and tell him. He isn’t there. I forgot, he is at work. It is then start to panic. Then I hear my son in the other room starting to cry. I felt myself starting to break down. I kept repeating “Hold it together, hold it together. Don’t loose it now”. I get Lucas a bottle and pretty much ignore him. Its all I can do at that moment.

I go into my room to try to find my cell phone. I find it and call Naval Hospital (At the time my husband was in the Navy). The Corpsman in the office answered the phone. I remember the conversation verbatim still after 5 and a half years.

Me: “Hi, I am 12 weeks pregnant and I woke up to go pee and there is blood. It won’t stop”

Corpsmen: “Is it a lot of blood or just a small pool? Have you had sex recently?”

Me: “It is a small pool, and yes we did two nights ago. My husband just got home from deployment”.

Corpsmen: “Well its probably from that”

Me: “I actually had a dream last night I was going to miscarry. I want to come in for a U/S.”

Corpsmen: “I’m sorry, we can’t do that. If you are miscarrying there is nothing we can do. I think you are miscarrying though.  It says here in your chart you already have GD (Gestational Diabetes , so I will cancel your future appointments and call us back if you haven’t passed the baby in a week or if the bleeding gets too bad or you spike a fever” (BTW I didn’t have GD).

After she spoke those words, the world stopped. My soft sobs quickly changed into pure anger. How dare she say those words to me.

Me : “There is a LOT you can do. You can reassure me that my baby is either okay, or that my baby is passed on. Either way,  you get me a ultrasound today in your office or I am going to the ER. I will have an ultrasound today and I will make sure my baby is okay.”

She made me an appointment for just an hour from then. I got dressed, got Luke ready and headed in. I was such a mess. I still couldn’t get a hold of my husband at work. My mom had no idea what to say and she wasn’t any help 2 hours away.

I was alone, scared, angry, and so hurt.

Finally they called me back. I took off my pants….. still blood. I cleaned up as best I could for the transvaginal U/S. The midwife came in she looked around and took a few pictures. All she said was “There is no heartbeat, I will be right back”.

She brought in another midwife. She grabbed the wand and checked. “Yup, no heartbeat”. And walked out. No introductions, nothing. The first midwife told me to get dressed, they needed me to go to another machine and to the doctor to confirm it again.

I wasn’t even in my body at this point, I didn’t want to be. My 6 month old son was screaming at me. I STILL couldn’t get a hold of my husband and these “professionals” had reduced me down to nothing.

I walked into the doctors side of the office. It was this HUGE room, all white and a big machine.  It reminded me of a chair at the dentist but completely overkill. She walked in and told me her name. She brought one of the midwives in to take Luke for a second. She looked at me, hugged me and said “I am so sorry”.

That was the first time someone said “I’m sorry”. I knew she meant it. I knew the words that were coming out of her mouth were full of love and caring. My entire body relaxed a few degrees. I no longer felt like I was going to break in two.

It turned out that my baby boy had died at about 6 weeks. It was a missed miscarriage. I was still only 6 months PP from having my son Lucas. After the miscarriage I developed severe PPD. Although I didn’t know it for quite awhile.

Words Post KMccraw TulipsWords are extremely powerful things. I know you have probably heard the old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. Yeah, I did too and that old saying is full of it. Words can hurt. What is said or not said to you in the wrong or even the right moment can affect so much of you.

I still wonder to this day if I had been treated with love and respect from the beginning if my PPD would not have been as severe as it was.

It took me a long time to come to terms with the loss of my second child. I love him so incredibly much. Although I just have to look at my life now, his hands are in so much of what I do today. Its amazing how one little life can change so much, and help lead you to your path.

Please, please be kind with your words.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Skylark April 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm

I’m so sorry this happened to you. You deserved and needed to be treated with respect, kindness and compassion.

Thanks for sharing this story. Doctors and Nurses need to know this as do Midwives and everyone of us. Words are powerful for good or bad and intention behind it has so much to do with how it is received. Sometimes a touch is worth a thousand words in these situations.

Sending you love, thoughts and prayers for the future.

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Kate April 3, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I’m fighting back tears while reading this. I am so sorry you were spoken to like that. I cannot imagine how you were feeling. I know how anxious I was early in my pregnancy and I couldn’t wait for my 12 week scan to make sure everything was ok. I would break down at the slightest thing. A woman needs to be treated with compassion and respect, especially when pregnant.
I want to give you a big hug!!
Thankyou for sharing your story. It helps to read stories like this from time to time to remind us to treat eachother gently and consider how we say things.
Sending love and strength to you xx

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Gwen April 3, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Thank you for this profound and powerful reminder that WORDS MATTER. I am so sorry for your loss. It is sad and tragic and deep. You will go on to enjoy another day with the love of this little life in your heart. Don’t feel guilty for living your life to its highest possibilities. Soar above PPD and find hope and laughter. Know that people you have never met have connected with your story and send you their genuine love. You are wonderful and amazing.

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Susan B April 3, 2013 at 11:40 pm

I am shedding tears on your behalf. I’m so sorry for the pain you experienced. The child you lost remains with you now and always. You are both precious.

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Kathy April 3, 2013 at 11:41 pm

I’m so sorry for your loss. I had a missed miscarriage at 12 weeks with my third pregnancy, and similar to you, it seemed my babe had stopped growing at perhaps 6 weeks. I’m so terribly sorry you were so unsupported by so many and spoken to so brutally. I am so grateful that I was treated with such respect by the midwife who did my scan to confirm my worst fears – it made the world of difference to have her genuine sympathy, her hand in mine while I cried. Healing love to you.

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Amber April 4, 2013 at 12:57 pm

The navy is not known for their sympathy. They told me I was “making it up” when in reality I had retained placenta for 9 weeks and 5 days. I am deeply sorry you had to go through this. *emotional hug*

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Tara June 15, 2013 at 1:19 pm

I am so thankful you didn’t die! that sort of thing fills me with wrath! Can you say septicemia boys and girls? We almost lost my grandmother to it, she ran fevers so high she lost most of her hair and all her teeth–in her 30′s. My youngest aunt would not have been born at all and I would not have had my grandmother growing up if they had not relented and given her the much needed D&C. My condolences on your loss, that’s horrible.

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Rachel Barlow April 4, 2013 at 9:41 pm

My heart breaks for you! You deserve love and respect. You aren’t another number in their schedule! You and baby are so much more!

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Laura Merrigan April 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Thank you for sharing your story !! So sorry for your loss and the way you were spoke to and treated ( I also found out at 12 weeks that I had lost my baby at 6 weeks. And now as I sit here with MY rainbow baby sleeping in the back seat , I cry tears for anyone who has experienced a loss like this . as I read your story i think back to when i Heard those words and they are the worst thing you can ever experience , its unbelievable and puts you in such a dark place. Your last line speaks volumes …… Although I always grieve the loss of my first , I am now so amazingly blessed with a perfect little dolly and the path I am now on is where I am meant to be . Sending you huge hugs and props for sharing your story. Miscarriage is not an easy topic to discuss and I really appreciate you putting yourself out there ! Xo

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Des April 20, 2013 at 8:10 am

Wow! I could not believe how you were spoken to. Those midwives and doctors are an embarrassment
to the entire medical fraternity.
I have mourned with every patient that I have seen who has suffered loss and tried to make sure that amongst all the words they may hear, the words that stick are:
“It’s not your fault, it’s nothing that you’ve done and it’s nothing that you’ve haven’t done that has caused this to happen”
Sometimes that is all the words that the hurting Mom needs to hear in order to begin the healing

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Clare S April 20, 2013 at 5:58 pm

These words can cut like a knife. It seems that because miscarriage is a fairly common thing that it makes it less important or that the loss of that baby less special.

I had this happen during a miscarriage at 8 weeks. The OB was very matter of fact and said: it died at 8 weeks. You will bleed for a couple of months and be all clear after that (he didnt want to perform a D&C on me due to my ‘young’ age (19) – there was no discussion on the pros and cons i was not given a choice).

Then, strangely when I was pregnant with my second daughter at the morphology scan I had just asked the gender. the sonographer said another girl. I, of course, started wondering out loud what she would look like, if she would be like her sister etc. etc. the sonographer turned around and goes: ‘well i have seen my fair share of dead fetuses at this gestation in my training and to be honest, they all look the same – human-like frogs, so she doesnt really look like anyone or different right now’.

It was shocking. I was so incredibly hurt and all of a sudden didnt want that person intruding on my body or looking at my baby. It was horrendous. Did she not think about what she was saying? Did she not step outside of herself and her ‘professional’ opinion often enough to realise that there will be times that she is doing a scan of a woman that may have lost a baby at that gestation how absolutely cruel (and incorrect!) those words could be?

I will never forget it.

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Tara June 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Words fail me…

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Marcy April 22, 2013 at 8:37 am

Thank you so much for sharing your difficult story. We went through two miscarriages before having our beautiful baby boy, William, in December 2012. He is almost four months old and completely perfect. I thought I was really over my miscarriages until I read your post and I started crying. My first miscarriage was the worst because it was so unexpected and we had no idea what was happening. The ultrasound tech refused to tell us anything and sent us to wait in the waiting room to speak to the doctor. We waited 45 minutes (!!!???!! — the longest 45 minutes of my life) to speak to a doctor. The doctor began by calling me by the wrong name. She couldn’t even spend an extra 30 seconds to be bothered reading the chart well enough to figure out my NAME. I switched to a new OB/GYN practice immediately after that experience and I am happy to say that the doctors at the new practice treat me like gold. Even at the end of my pregnancy with William, when things were getting a little medically hairy and I kept asking for more time to wait and see what happened and think before making decisions… they NEVER pushed me. I am so grateful to have found this practice where the doctors are kind and they listen to the patients. Being listened to and treated kindly makes all the difference in the world.

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Missy June 15, 2013 at 11:00 am

Hugs for you. Thank you for sharing, your message is so important. I had a similar situation, 14 weeks, at a regular visit, and no heartbeat found. They sent me to the hospital for an ultrasound to “rule out miscarriage”. I was alone as well, husband at work, and the tech was quiet as she looked at my baby. Another person came in to look. They whispered, left the room, and then without any words about what they saw, my belly was wiped off, I was escorted to a small conference type room, and left alone. (for what felt like a long time). A phone finally rang, and being the only one there, I picked it up after several rings (I thought someone from the hospital would come in…I wasn’t expecting a call!) It was MY doctor. I love him, but he didn’t know that no one had spoken to me, so he started with “I’m really sorry. So, would you like to wait for your body to expell the baby naturally, which may take up to a week, or would you like to schedule a D and C? I can do it on Monday…” “Wait…my baby died?” …That’s all I can remember from that little room. I wish I would have learned about it from a caring human. Could have used a hug on the worst moment of my life. THANK YOU for sharing! I wish for you a beautiful rainbow baby one day, and a continued great connection with your angel baby. <3

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Mama Sallee June 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Thank so much for sharing yourself. I am so incredibly sorry you had to endure that alone. It breaks my heart. And I do have a great connection with my angel baby. Its been almost 6 years now. And we do have a rainbow baby! She was born on Labor Day 2011 and will be 2 very soon!

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ThisFrustratesMe June 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm

im so sorry to hear this. :-( i hate how absolutely awful navy medicine is. i had some issues in my first trimester, and called the naval clinic. they told me “theres nothing we can do, if youre going to miscarry, then youre going to miscarry.” they never let me take any preventative measures, and had me
working on a ship that was UNDERWAY! while i was dizzy, throwing up, and getting about 4hours of “off” time a night (with potty trips, i just wasnt sleeping). they wouldnt even get me in for my first appointment until my second trimester, because “the chances that youll miscarry are too high, and we need to make sure.” thankfully, the baby is still fine, and im scheduled for a homebirth with a wonderful midwife in august. i refuse to see a naval doctor again.

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Megan June 15, 2013 at 9:42 pm

What a sad experience. I had a similar one with the Air Force. From the get-go, I just knew I was pregnant with twins. Then I had a TERRIBLE dream about having a miscarriage. I thought nothing of it and went in at 16 weeks for a check-up. My Dr. decided to get me an ultrasound, during which the tech refused to make eye contact. I went back into the office and the Dr. shows me the ultrasound pics and says, ” Here’s your baby, healthy and strong.. and this(pointing to another ultrasound) is your dead baby.” And then she just moved on. I was a mess. I could barely walk down to our car to drive home. I think the worst part was that since we were still having one baby, everyone acted like, “Well, at least you’re still having one.” That’s not the point. I still lost a baby. Prayers to all of you that have gone through a miscarriage. They are no fun at all!

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