To start from the beginning of the story, click here.
Monday morning, I got all the confirmation I ever needed that I made the right decision by going into commercial insurance instead of personal health and life insurance. Not enough money in the world could get me to be the person on the other end of the phone with Jim as we tried to cut through the red tape of networks, emergent statuses, and moral protocol.
In the end, we were given the surprising news that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee would indeed allow us to deliver Duncan at The (out-of-network) Toledo Hospital, instead of insisting we return to Nashville to have his delivery performed at an in-network facility.
Even though we realized that this verdict was the green light that would signal the beginning of the end, we both felt relief. Delivering in Ohio would allow Seth to remain blissfully oblivious to the circumstances, not to mention the small measure of comfort that would be drawn from being in a familiar hospital environment. Delivery in Ohio would allow for the majority of our parents to be part of Duncan’s birth. Delivery in Ohio meant that, to some degree, our Nashville home would escape the footprint of this tragedy.
I wasn’t scheduled to be at the hospital until 1:30 PM for the first portion of my induction process, so Jim and I took the opportunity to spend some time together that morning. We had been hoarding a gift card to one of our favorite Italian restaurants, Bravo!, so we decided on an early lunch. Much like going through the motions on Sunday of teeing off the green and riding the zoo carousel, sitting down to a casual lunch felt surreal.
I distinctly remember how amused I was when the waiter came up to take our drink orders, and Jim very promptly replied, “Wine, please!” I think the only thing that kept me from indulging with him was the knowledge that I was going to be getting something equally as potent (via IV) soon enough.
I tried to eat my meal with relish and appreciation, knowing it would be my last of the day, but the anxiety in my chest only increased as the hour passed, and soon enough I was requesting a box for my leftovers.
On a whim, Jim and I stopped by the office of my former ob/gyn, Dr. Gibbs. Even though I did not anticipate getting to see him, given that he normally is in surgery on Mondays, I wanted to talk to my former nurse, Jo. I felt that getting her input on the induction I was about to face would go a long way toward calming both my and Jim’s nerves.
Imagine my surprise when I stepped into an empty waiting room at Dr. Gibbs’ office. I’d never seen his waiting room vacant. I was immediately waved into the inner office by Dana, the office manager, and swept up into a big hug by Jo. Her enthusiastic touch was all it took to release my first tears of the day.
I stood there like a blathering idiot, trying to explain that I knew I had no right to be there seeking medical advice, seeing as how I was no longer a patient, but she hushed me almost immediately, and ushered Jim and I into an exam room. “Of course you came here. Where else would you go?” Her no-nonsense claim had me calming in an instant, but nothing put my heart at ease faster than seeing my dear Dr. Gibbs walk into the exam room.
He wasn’t supposed to be in the office. He was supposed to be at jury duty. Which was why his schedule had been cleared from patients and surgery alike. But he’d been unexpectedly released from jury duty, and decided to spend a quiet day in his office catching up on paperwork.
We couldn’t help but laugh at the “coincidence.” Nothing about me being his patient had EVER been quiet or routine. Why should things change just because I was no longer under his care?
Being able to talk to Dr. Gibbs about the induction procedure, to get his take on a vaginal delivery, and to have him walk us through the timeline of the next 36 hours was a gift we could never have asked to receive. Jim and I both felt so much more prepared for what lie ahead. He was even kind enough to walk with us through the half-mile of tunnels and hallways from his office to the Labor & Delivery floor of the hospital. He left us with bear hugs, and the promise that he’d try to be the one at my side during delivery if he could get out of jury duty the next day. (He couldn’t, as it would turn out, but his promise to try was enough.)
The procedure that I was to have done was supposed to be relatively easy and straightforward – no more time consuming or invasive than my annual gynecological exam.
Note my use of the phrase “supposed to be.”
As the doctor began to prep for the insertion of the laminaria (I’m not going to explain; you’ll just have to click the link), I mentioned to her that she might want to use the smallest instruments possible, as I have a very narrow cervix. She cocked her eyebrow at me, as most medical professionals would do if their patient started to dole out advice. And, as most medical professionals would do, I would hazard to guess, she ignored my suggestion, and proceeded to use the instrument she had on hand….
…..and she promptly, painfully tore my cervix to a bloody mess.
Poor Jim. I can still see his face, twisted in agony, as he physically restrained me on the table. I was delirious with pain and shock, crying out repeatedly, “no, no, no; please, no; make it stop. Make her stop!” Chaos ensued, with the doctor calling for assistance, and trying in vain to staunch the bleeding that she caused, and in the end, proceeding to stitch me up without anesthesia.
I’m pretty sure Jim and I both plastered “I told you so” frowns on our foreheads, as the doctor apologized for the debacle, and proceeded to explain to us that “given the difficulty of the insertion,” I was going to have to be admitted overnight, rather than being sent home as planned.
Yeah, no kidding.
She left the procedure room to prepare a delivery suite for us, and within the hour, I was taken to the corner room of the Labor & Delivery floor.
The very room where I labored with Seth until his emergency c-section.
Ironic? Fitting? You decide. I, however, took a small measure of comfort from being in a familiar room, even though I knew the outcome this time would be so different than the last.
To be continued…..