Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It Happens

I always seem to run into trouble when I am 34 weeks pregnant. 34 weeks was when Sybella died.
When I was 34 weeks pregnant with Jack, I started bleeding heavily and was admitted to hospital for monitoring. They never found out what caused the bleeding, but suspicions were that it was placental. With Jack being a breech baby, and me having an anterior placenta, the concensus was that he'd kicked it and bit had come away. This made even more sense when part of my placenta was retained after birth, despite a c-section...the retained bit was probably the bit he kicked away. Jack was oblivious to the whole deal, while I quietly had a heart attack daily.
I was allowed to go home at 35 weeks when the bleeding stopped. As soon as I got home, I panicked, because if something went wrong now, I wouldnt know about it, and I didnt have the reassurrance of the foetal heart monitor being put on me twice a day.
I had an antenatal appointment at 36 weeks and relayed my concerns to the doctor on duty. I asked him what the incidence of stillbirth was after bleeding late in pregnancy. I was worried that the bleeding meant something sinister (as they werent positive it was placental) and was some kind of warning sign that the baby was in distress. (This wasnt so unusual, as I have since learned, for things to come a cropper so quickly...Sybella never showed any kind of distress prior to her death. She just stopped. There was absolutely no warning.) This doctor was writing in my file as I spoke. He looked up and shrugged his shoulders non-commitally.

"Shit happens," he said.

SHIT HAPPENS? When my tyre goes flat, then shit happens. When the grocery bag breaks, then shit happens. When the washing machine overflows, then shit happens. But the death of a baby?
Back then, I hadnt experienced a stillbirth, and Jack was born two weeks after this comment, on February 10 2006, pink and screaming. I knew how inappropriate, cruel and downright heartless this doctor's comment was then. I knew that even though Jack was alive, there would be some poor woman who delivered a stillborn baby around that time. I hoped and wished that this wouldnt be the doctor on duty for her delivery.
After Sybella's death, I was lying in bed one night, and this memory came flying into my head. I sat bolt upright, heart pounding, at the memory from 4 years ago.
How in the world can a doctor of obstetrics refer to a stillbirth as "shit" happening? It is despicable, is what it is.
We all know what stillbirth is. Tragic, unfair, heart-wrenching, life-stopping.
It deserves a description of much more credence and weight than "shit happens."
I cant even write about it anymore.
So wrong.


  1. That is so many levels of wrong. Where do these doctors get off?
    Sorry you had to hear that.

  2. That is absolutely unbelievable. Totally cruel and wrong.

  3. I can't believe a doctor would say that. Just so wrong.