Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The appointment from hell

To say this morning was rough is an understatement. I had my six week postpartum check up. Yes, I expected it to be difficult, but not as bad as it was. You see, we were planning a homebirth and working with a wonderful midwife. Although we didn't get our homebirth, our midwife played a large role on Marcellus's birthday. Long story short (I will post his birth story soon), we ended up with an emergency c-section since he was breech. I'd say the care I received in the hospital was fine, no real complaints there. They scheduled my follow up appointment for me. Well, with my baby in the NICU I didn't take the time to look into the appointment. And then since he's been gone I haven't had the energy to. Turns out since I wasn't with an OB practice they just made my appointment through the health department at human services. We went this morning and the experience was a nightmare. We get there at 8am right when they open and when I was told my appointment would be. I had to fill out information for Medicaid (while I did qualify for it while pregnant we didn't even apply until after Marcellus was in the NICU when we knew the bills would really be piling up) before going back for the appointment. Of course there are ladies coming in and out with their babies/children the whole time and the TV was on some OB/GYN show. I absolutely lost it when there was a segment on breastfeeding. I had to step outside and everything. By the time I got called back for my appointment it was almost 9am. We sit down and the nurse starts asking the basic questions. She asked if we (Mike was with me, thank God!) had a boy or girl and then proceeds to tell us a big congratulations! Don't get me wrong I do still like to be congratulated on him and there is still very much a reason for congratulations. However, after already spending an hour in a very high anxiety state all I could do is look at her and say "He died." At that point Mike and I both started crying. Poor lady was just trying to do her job and she was doing it well. She did keep her composure and offered us her condolences. About all I could ask for in a situation like that. As part of their routine process she did ask me if I was experiencing anxiety or depression...huh hello I just told you my baby died! The icing on the cake was then she provided me with a questionnaire to screen for postpartum depression. I'm sure they are required by the state to do so, but really?! There was a question on there that said "I am having difficulty sleeping, even when the baby sleeps." Ouch...that one hurt really bad. I again lost it and sat on the table my paper jacket just sobbing. If it wasn't for Mike there I would have just gotten up and left without finishing the appointment. In reality there was no reason for me to go to that appointment. They didn't do anything my midwife couldn't have done or that I couldn't have gotten done at student health services. Since Marcellus was born prematurely without an explanation there was a pathology done on my placenta. Those results still aren't in. I'm having a heck of a time figuring out who to make that appointment with. I also want the details of my surgical report. I figured there was no use in asking too much at this appointment since I will be making an appointment regarding the placenta.

So after all that we had a counseling appointment scheduled. We were a little late because it took so long at the health department. You'd think that it would be a good think we were seeing a counselor right afterward, right? Well, Mike and I met this lady for the first time last week. We weren't so sure about here then, but figured we'd give her another try. We are now definitely sure we do NOT want to go back. Last week she gave us some worksheets to fill out to screen for anxiety and depression. I understand that we could still be experiencing these things to a greater degree than just caused by grief and assumed she would adjust the results accordingly. She did not adjust anything and told us both we have severe depression. Most of the appointment was her talking about how she strongly suggests we see a doctor for getting medication and about various medications. We both indicated that we would rather not use medication, but she kept persisting. I'm not saying using medication is bad. I think it is very beneficial when used appropriately. I personally would prefer to use holistic techniques with regular counseling before trying medication. She didn't even really ask us how we felt about it or say we could see how things go for the next couple of appointments. It seems like she just went straight for the medication route. Since we already weren't feeling a good vibe from here the week before, we are not going back. Guess we'll be back on the therapy market.

Even though it was a couple days ago I do want to mention The Compassionate Friends Candle Lighting Service we went to on Sunday. Candles were lit for all children lost at any age and from any cause. There were roughly 75 people at the service with about 30 or so candles lit. Marcellus was the youngest to die and had the most recent Angel Birthday (there was a grandma there that lit a candle for her toddler grandson that shares the same Angel Birthday with Marcellus). It was tough to be there, but we made it and we did it for our baby boy. Part of what was difficult for me is that many of the candles that were lit were for adult children. Now I think no parent should ever have to go through the pain of losing there child, regardless of age. But I couldn't help but thinking "why'd the get their child for so long?! Mine was taken after only 12 days!" That is something I know I need to work on. Anyway, out of the 30 or so candles lit, there were only 2 other candles in memory of children lost as newborns. We ended up sitting right behind a couple and their teenage daughter that lit one of those 2 other candles. It was for their son, Zachary, that died very unexpectedly at about a month old almost 20 years ago. Like us, they also did not have any family in the area and Zachary is their first born son. Now out of all the places we could have sat, I think God made sure we sat behind Zachary's parents. We talked a bit and they gave us their contact information. I really hope we have the courage to contact them. They have such a beautiful family. Zachary has two younger siblings, a brother and a sister. His sister was there and it was amazing to see how much he has touched her life even though she never met him.

Marcellus, we know you touched many lives in you short time here on earth. You continue to and will always touch people's lives from your Heavenly home. Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you!


  1. Morgan and Mike, I am so sorry you had to go through this craziness today. Sounds like the hospital needs to get its act together. And the counseling center? Totally hit or miss. Sorry it was a total miss. I hope you can find someone who can help you in exactly the way you need- if not at the health center, then elsewhere. It's very good that you tried, and even better that you will continue to try. Hang in there guys. It sucks you have to do it, but you can and you will. All our love, Beth & Jeff

  2. Again, reading this, so much resonates with me. I too was like...um what's the right answer? Of coarse I'm sad because my baby just died. Here is the post I wrote after my 6-week postpartum appointment:


    I had medicaid and had to go to WakeMed Hospital to the department of human services. This was while I was still pregnant, but it was still a really crummy experience. Thankfully, I ended up with a good doctor.

    That is so awful about that therapist! I agree that medication can be a good thing, but so often it's just automatically given, without second thought. It's totally normal that you are depressed. You just lost your son, for goodness sake! But that doesn't mean you need medication. These people need to take some classes on how to deal with those that have lost babies or something. Tracey from group goes to a therapist that she really likes. Maybe you could ask at group about getting a referral?

    That's really neat you went to Compassionate Friends. I have never been to the one in Raleigh, but have gone with my grandmother numerous times in Charlottesville, Virginia. My grandmother lost my aunt, Rachel, over forty years ago. She had a heart condition and died on the UVA operating table at 3 months old. It has been nice to have this special bond with her, though of coarse I'm sad both of us have had to experience these losses. I wrote a post about the first time I shared about my loss at Compassionate Friends:


    They had a candlelight service and my grandmother always has one for Lily and my aunt Rachel, even when I can't make it. She also gets two poinsettias, in honor of them. Maybe I will go to the candlelight service here in Raleigh this year.

    That's really neat that you sat next to Zachary's family. Perfectly providential. It's amazing that his life has made such an impact on his sister. Just as my aunt Rachel has made such an impact on me. I often wonder how many more cousins I would have and what she would be like today. God can use little one's lives, long after they are gone!

    On October 15 (Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day) there is a candlelight service in Raleigh. I went in 2010 and it was very special.

    I guess you've seen on CarlyMarie's page about International Babylost Mother's Day, which they just changed the name to International Bereaved Mother's Day.


    It is a very special day and I have celebrated it the last two years. I am hoping to do something special with all the ParentCare people this year. Would you be interested?

    I've felt some jealously and frustration over people that had their children longer than me, even those that got to see them and hold them alive. It has been so difficult to never have held Lily with life within her or see her look back at me. But, maybe it would have been harder that way. Only God knows and I have to trust that.