Pages

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Guest Post from Australia

The 5th of December 2019, a beautiful sunny Thursday and a day I will never forget.

I woke up with a feeling of I-cannot-be-bothered to go to work. I was 34+1 weeks pregnant, and although the pregnancy was textbook perfect, I just felt tired that day and did not feel like seeing any patients. I was on a fantastic rotation at a medical practice attached to the private hospital. I had a few patients booked in for the day and I knew at least one of them would be a pain. But I loved being a doctor in a chilled environment with amazing supervisors. This is the rotation I had been most looking forward to.

My DH kissed me goodbye at 740am. He was off to have an amazing day on oncology ward and was savouring his last few days on a very cruisy rotation. He told me to suck it up and go to work and I would feel better once I was there. I couldnt have any sick leave because we had timed the pregnancy perfectly to finish with internship. I had to work until 38+6 weeks to be eligible for maternity leave so I did indeed "suck it up" and put on one of my favourite flattering dresses.

I sighed as I looked at where we were currently living - a granny flat with our furniture all piled up in the corner. Just a few days before, we had moved from a rental property into our own house which we were renovating and hopefully would be done before Christmas. The granny flat was old and smelly, and I couldn't wait to move into the big house which we had painstakingly considered the fine details of the renovation.

I put the leashes on my two cavoodles, who were very ready to go to doggy daycare. Doggy daycare is on the way to work and I loved sending my dogs there because they come back so happy. 

We made it around the corner when I crashed.

An elderly couple were on their way to cardiac rehab and were picking up a friend who also was going to cardiac rehab. They were slowing down and speeding up, clearly trying to locate the house they were after. We started speeding up again (we were going about 40km/h) when one of the dogs whined and I quickly looked back to check she wasnt caught up on her lead. When I looked back at the road, the car in front had stopped abruptly. It was too late but I slammed on the breaks as I rear ended them. My breath caught and the airbags went off. Smoke started to surround us. I removed my seatbelt.

I attempted to open the door but it was caught. I had to forcefully kick it open. As I stepped out of the car, I realised I had intense abdominal pain. I pulled up my dress, right there in the middle of the road, to check if I was bleeding. I wasn't.

The driver had gotten out of the car. I said "please call an ambulance, I'm pregnant". He ignored me and called out to a bystander and said "did you witness that? She hit me!" They started talking but I did not hear what they were saying. I thought, "I need my husband here".

I kneeled down onto the pathway as the pain took my breath away. "Please baby boy be okay, please baby be okay" is what I repeated to myself. A lady who was walking on the other side of the road eventually came over and I said to her "please call an ambulance, I'm 34 weeks pregnant". Thankfully she listened to me and called them. She also retrieved my phone from the car. DH was on his way.

That's when I remembered the dogs in the back. I opened the back door and they were sitting quietly, both shaking vigorously. My heart broke. Someone offered to hold them for me.

The ambos came and assessed me to be stable - yes I had pain (which they gave me panadol and the green whistle) and was nauseous, but I was stable with a little hypertension. They painfully did not have a doppler and I had no idea for half an hour how my baby was doing. We were delayed to get going to the hospital as there was another emergency somewhere else and for some reason we were unable to get going. This was the most painful half an hour of my life, while the paramedic tried to make small talk with me, and all I could think was "shut up because my baby could be dead right now".

Casey arrived and when I saw his face full of fear and worry, I felt a wave of guilt. He took the dogs to doggy daycare and we planned to meet at the hospital - me via ambulance.

When we finally got to the hospital I was wheeled through ED and I avoided all eye contact with the doctors I knew. We went straight up to the obstetric ward where they finally put the CTG on. He was alive.

DH arrived and my heart burst seeing his concern. All I felt was guilt.

My midwife came and asked me if I had pain and that's when I realised that I was contracting. The obs reg came around and said "lets watch and wait, you're anxious and your baby is too. We are concerned about placental abruption". The consultant came around and agreed. So just like that, I calmed down and the CTG improved for about an hour. They gave me a steroid and prepared for a c section "just in case".

The sonographer came around and happily declared "I don't see any obvious placental abruption here! You do have a nice muscle haematoma here though". I was again put at ease. DH and I talked about what we would do when we got out of hospital that day.

And then I started to have late decels for about 40 minutes.

The consultant came in and looked at the CTG and said "cat 1 c section, let's go". I cried again wondering what the hell I had done.

I felt like I had failed as a mother, and he wasn't even born yet.

A flurry of people came in and just like that I was getting a spinal and they started the operation. The obstetrician (who DH knows well) asked me "do you feel this?" and I knew he was pinching my skin hard with forceps. I pretended I was somewhere else while looking at DH's face and wondering what he was thinking about.

Baby boy was born flat with apgars of 1, 6 and 7. He was immediately taken away, and DH went with him even though I could see he was so torn about leaving me.

I was left with a room full of people but felt so alone. I felt empty.

The weeks after have been the hardest of my life. My son has moderate HIE and we don't know what his future will hold.

I am trying to heal and deal with my guilt. I'm not quite there yet.



S is a junior resident in Queensland, Australia. Her son is 16 days old today.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Expectations and Realities

I will finally sign out that last autopsy that is due in 9 days so that this time I don't wait until day 60.
*I call my husband on day 60 and tell him I'll be staying really late to finish an autopsy, but I'll be home for Punky's bed time, for sure; she gets to bed 30 minutes late.

Tonight I get home from work before 6:00pm and I'm definitely going to wash my makeup sponges and re-order whatever stuff I'm low on from Sephora.
*A friend texts with a work crisis and I write back-and-forth for 45 minutes until I have to break for bath time.

For sure this time I will buy our plane tickets for our holiday travel at least three months ahead of time to save money.
*Three weeks before the trip I'm scrambling for the last three seats on the plane, surely paying at least $200 more per ticket. Again.

After Punky's bath tonight, I am definitely going to change her sheets and thin out her clothing that she's outgrown for donation.
*I spend that 25 minutes recording (for posterity) the funniest conversation that she and I had about unicorns vs. mermaids while she was in the bath.

Today will be such a good day at work; I have been off for a week and I am back and refreshed with an empty queue to start.
*43 new cases in the queue, Pedi GI calls and asks for a stat run on a liver biopsy for possible atresia, three separate colleagues come in with "sorry, I have a few quick cases that need review, and they're kinda old" and then the outlying problem hospital calls to say that a surgeon is screaming about a lost specimen and I need to call him NOW.

I will be the first one to sign up for what to bring to the next pre-K class party; I will definitely get paper plates or napkins this time!
*The list comes out when I'm on call and can't bring Punky to school or pick her up for a week; I cut an array of colorful fresh fruit for 1.7 hours at midnight and arrange them into an appealing rainbow configuration in an act of self-flagellation.

I will schedule a nice, easy play date with Punky's school friend that has the really nice and friendly mom to bolster my only child's social skills.
*I finally text her 14 weeks after I first committed to it in my mind, schedule them to come to our house for the upcoming Saturday, spend three hours the night before cleaning the house,  and then drink a mimosa beforehand to ease the path to small talk. It goes fine. The anxiety regarding the next play date begins immediately after the front door closes behind them.

I will work extra hard to keep up efficiency today and just work on my cases, one after another, until they are all completed before I do anything extra because I know that I'm too far behind already this week.
*I work steadily for 45 minutes, then make a doctor's appt for myself that I've been putting off for two years, make sure bills are paid, finally order Christmas gifts for my oldest friend's five kids so they get there in time (converted from birthday gifts, because I decide to face it, remembering five extra birthdays annually is essentially never going to happen), and make that rage donation to Amy McGrath (because Moscow Mitch did something heinous *again*) so I don't forget to do it later. Only half of my cases are signed out. Crap.

I really want to spend the 20 min of Punky's bath time doing color-by-number on my iPad.
*I fold two more baskets of other people's laundry and force myself to put away the clothes.

Tonight I will definitely clear off the clutter from the kitchen table that we never use for eating, because I know that my husband hates this state of affairs.
*I put approximately four pieces of paper into recycling, photograph 16 pieces of artwork for Keepy and throw them away, then realize that I need to answer my MOC quarterly questions now since the thought just popped into my head and if I don't do it I'll miss the deadline.

This year, I will wrap presents as they come in to keep caught up.
*I place gifts in reusable cloth bags on a random midnight a few days before Christmas in place of sleeping.

I will definitely complete all four of the reminders I set on my phone for internet errands today.
*At 1:23 am, I sigh and change the dates on all four phone reminders to tomorrow's date. Well, technically *today's* date.

I will work on that amazing wooden puzzle tonight after putting Punky to bed and eating something.
*I scroll thru my Facebook feed for 1.75 hours reading the news, getting angry; I see a couple of cute kids and I feel a little better.

It's been weeks since I've had a work day off with the kid in daycare, I will definitely knock out at least four of my running to-do-at-home jobs off the list I keep on my phone, including setting up the Roomba that I bought two months ago which is sitting in it's box in the corner of the utility room.
*I drop off Punky, "stop in" to World Market for 1.4 hours, then head over to Target to wander around for another two, finally getting home at 1:45 pm and folding laundry/hanging clothes in the closest while listening to podcasts and scrolling Instagram until I have to pick up Punky at 5:30pm; the Roomba remains unopened.

I will make sure that this year, we get our family photos done in October so that I can get the cards completed in November.
*I panic and realize that the weekend before Thanksgiving is the last of the semi-decent leaf color and implore my husband to check out that spot that he's been meaning to look at for photography; cards are completed on December 8th and mailed on December 15th.

I will definitely go to bed in the 12:00 hour tonight; I really need a couple extra hours of sleep this week.
*I jolt awake at 2:34am, scroll back through the Schitt's Creek episode list to figure out exactly how many episodes I missed on auto-play, and finish cleaning up the kitchen before brushing teeth and falling into bed.

I will set a recurring reminder in my phone to write a blog post for MiM at some point so they don't kick me off the site.
*I sit at my desk at work at spew this out instead of signing out cases or validating immunostains, because, well, it's just time.