Friday, October 8, 2010

Things you never want to read in an autopsy report

The appointment wasn't horrible, well at least no more horrible than going to get an autopsy report should be. Dr. K again proved she knows how to take care of a DBM by having all the clinic staff prepared for me. I didn't have to even set foot in the waiting room with all the pregnant women. There was crying of course, but there were hugs too.

So the report itself doesn't have any answers about why Reid died. There are a couple indicators that might point to undiagnosed gestational diabetes which leads to higher risks of stillbirth, but all my blood work was normal. However, since there's nothing else to blame, we are going to keep a very close eye on my blood sugar from now on. I am going for the less than fun 2 hour glucose test at the end of the month. If I don't manage to get knocked up in the near future, we will repeat the test when I do and then we will do it again at the normal 26-28 week mark. And maybe a few more times too just to be sure.

Coming home with a copy of the report and not being able to stop myself from reading it was way worse than the appointment.

Fun and Guilt-Inducing Autopsy Details:

1. Reid had brown eyes. Not a surprise given that all three living members of the family have brown eyes, but I would have rather seen that for myself.

2. He was above the 97th percentile for height and weight and just below 90th of head size (no wonder I couldn't deliver naturally). Normally you find out these things when you take your baby for check ups and vaccinations, not in autposy reports.

3. He was dressed in a blue sleeper. On one hand I am grateful that one of the nurses put clothes on him. (I couldn't bring myself to pick him up the last time I saw him and he was all swaddled up in blankets so I didn't know what he was wearing.) On the other hand I am consumed with guilt for not having been the one to dress him. Every time I read about how someone spent hours with their baby, bathing and dressing them and taking pictures, it's like a knife in my heart because I DIDN'T. It just NEVER OCCURED TO ME that I would want to do those things and no one even suggested it beyond someone asking if we wanted pictures right after I got out of surgery (when I was just a little in shock). I can spread the guilt around a bit to D.G. and the hospital staff (they are more used to dealing with stillbirths when the baby dies before delivery and the parents are not in total shock), but that doesn't change the fact that I will never have the change to do those things for my son. AND I have no "nice" pictures of him.

4. There were signs of hypoxia so his oxygen supply was cut off before he died. Of course they can't tell when or how he lost his oxygen supply but he did. It makes me worry that he suffered before he died. That during labour he was literally trying say. "Get me out of here, I'm dying!" and no one could hear him. That if I had just told my doctor I wanted a c-section at 38 weeks, he never would have been through stress of labour. Maybe he would have died anyway because life is stressful, but we might have gotten a few minutes or hours or days with him before he died.

I'm sure that there are more things in there what would freak me out but I am trying not focus on the fact that I could know how much all my baby's internal organs weighed. Not really the kind of thing you can brag about at mom's group.


cullensblessings said...

Oh Car- I wish we did not have to do these things. Read these reports that often leave more questions than answers. I hate that I just spoke for an hour tonight to a mother who lost her child at 39 weeks o Tuesday.
None of it makes any sense..
I am so very sorry for all of us.
Grace- Leslie

Merry said...

We didn't have an autopsy and I've had moments of wondering if I should have done. I think perhaps not now, that sounds so dreadfully traumatic. I've got copies of Freddie's 11 days of notes and they really hurt to read - but of course I do.

If it helps at all, Freddie had extreme hypoxia and had a strong heartbeat throughout - no one has been able to equate that to birth trauma, more along the lines of a child who was very sick, for whom birth was the very last straw but so might an epidural a unexpcted (to him) c/s have been. And I could have chosen too - we are in such a similar position. In my heart, I know he was too sick to not be connected to me.

Lilly's Mom (Desiree) said...

How horrible for you. We refused to have an autopsy done, and sometimes I regret not having one.
Maybe it would have given me a little more closure? Probably not.
I'll be praying for you, and your blood sugar!

Catherine W said...

I'm glad that Dr K looked after you and I'm so, so sorry that you had to go through this process.

I couldn't read past point one yesterday when I started reading this post. Just breaks my heart.

I'm sorry that you have been left with all that guilt. Please remember that you would have been in terrible, terrible shock. I know I only did a lot of the things I did for G because the medical staff asked me if I wanted to. I would never have thought to ask otherwise.

Violet1122 said...

My heart just breaks for you.

I know that I would want to know all the details... but it would tear me apart to know.

I'm sorry there wasn't any definitive answer. But of course, your little son was perfect, as we all knew he was.

((Big Hugs))

Missy said...

I desperately wanted to know the color of his eyes. I was positive they would be brown and will be anyways, but hoped they would change to hazel like mine. I thought it would be a violation of his body to look. Nice to know that might be in the autopsy when I finally muster the courage to request it. The docs / nurses were less than informing with us also. I probably would not have wanted to dress or bathe him but would have liked to have been told I could. They put him in a onesie and I finally told him to put him in the outfit we brought. I wish I did it myself.

therootofallevel said...

i remember getting the report back too. how my doctor just half-assed said "everything looks fine." FINE? FINE? my son is fucking dead --- everything is NOT FINE!

i am glad you have it in hand and can stop worrying about its arrival. it helps. a little…

Hannah said...

oh, I'm so sorry, all those things stir up deep pains in me too. The eyes of my son were a big deal and since we didn't do an autopsy, I'll never know.

I didn't get to dress my son or bathe him and everytime I hear it, it hurts a lot.

thinking of you and feeling your pain.

a blog stalker,