Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Except for the fact that he wasn't there when we needed him to be because he was in surgery delivering someone else's child, I don't remember very much about the OB who delivered Thomas.

He wasn't around all that much. I think he came in just once before the decision to move to a C-section was made after 19 hours of labor and three hours of OB-less pushing.

But I do remember the brief visit he paid to us in my hospital room the day Thomas died.

It was evening, and dim in my room. He hovered near the door, reluctant to move further in, and he leaned almost casually against the wall.

He had the unfortunate nervous habit of punctuating everything he said with a smile. And now, as I look back, it's horrifying to think that he should have stood there grinning just hours after my child died while telling me that "next time" they'd do a C-section at 37 weeks and all would be fine.

Next time. Fine. Sure.

In my haze of shock and grief I found this comforting. I grabbed his words and held them tightly to me. Next time. Good, we'll just sweep this present catastrophe away and look to next time when everything will work out just perfectly.

I suppose it's what he had to do to sweep away whatever feelings of culpability he may have had. Promise the stricken parents that you've figured out a foolproof way for this not to happen again. There. Done. Ahhhhh, much better.

It was the last time we saw him. I was there for a full 6 days, and he came in just once. His ridiculous grinning and blathering was finally interrupted by the coroner and he bid a hasty and grateful retreat.

Funny what comes back to you for no good reason.

I wonder if he ever thinks of us. I wonder if he remembers us at all. I often imagine people leaving me to run gratefully home to their own lives, and if anyone had cause and opportunity to do just that, it was certainly him.


Monica said...

Wow.. I feel the same way about my OB. The OB who chose not to induce even though at 20 weeks she new Jimmy had a cord defect (only one artery instead of two). She tried to appear like she cared. And yeah.. she did the, "next time" thing too. Almost as if the reason I was sad was that I didn't get a baby, not that I was grieving the loss of a certain baby. My baby. Your baby. Our life. And then she went home to her husband who his a bigwig at IBM and played with her two sons. Sorry.. this is supposed to be about you..but it hit a raw nerve with me. I'm sorry. I don't know why those things just pop up. ((hugs))

Julia said...

What a gigantic ass.
I am so sorry.

Rosepetal said...

Yes, he is just an ass. There is no other magical explanation. An OB should know better - it should be part of their professionalism, knowing how to react with such situations. They should know that anything said in those intense moments when your soul is an open raw wound remains branded there for a very long time, being analysed over and over again.

Lori said...

I have had similar thoughts about the OB who delivered our twins. She was uncomfortable and awkward during the whole "ordeal" and I don't remember her ever expressing any real words of comfort or sympathy. Thank God for our nurses.

This is a time of year full of memories and longings for you. I understand and I wanted you to know that I continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers- for whatever that is worth.

Teresa said...

ditto Julia! GIGANTIC.

Teresa said...
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Julie said...

Kristin, Thinking of you and sending big squishy hugs.

Kristen said...

Double ditto Julia. I've never understood people. As I told my stepsister last weekend while visiting my mom 'I hate most people and their complete stupidity.'

Hugs to you and yours.

Bronwyn said...

I remember a similar comment from one of the nurses as I was leaving: "We hope to see you back here soon under happier circumstances". Of course, that never happened...

Imagine if they had the same reaction to the death of a parent or spouse: "Don't worry, with your next husband, we'll be sure to test him for heart disease much sooner." I'm being a bit unfair -- I know they are just trying to give us a glimmer of hope among all that grief, but it's not really what bereaved parents need to hear while their dead child is still lying in a hospital cot.