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Tuesday, September 06, 2005


A young woman in her third pregnancy.

She came to me because she had been having some abdominal pain and bleeding. Alot. Clots.

Sometimes, it is possible to have a tiny amount of bleeding in the early stages of pregnancy. It's when the bleeding is heavy or is accompanied by pain...that's when you get worried.

I tried to prepare her for the possiblity of a miscarriage. We both knew that the pregnancy was most likely lost, but she clung onto the hope that maybe, just maybe...

I arranged for her to have an urgent ultrasound scan at the early pregnancy unit.

I had just finished speaking to the Obstetric team when she started to scream.

Quickly, I dashed into her cubicle.

To find her choking in anguish, holding in her hands out, covered in blood. There was blood in puddles and dark clots on the floor. She was crying out, "So much blood! I couldn't stop it! My baby is dead, isn't he? Isn't he?". Her eyes were wide and reddened.

I brought her a plastic bowl and she emptied her hands into it.

And then I saw it, but didn't say anything.

A minute transparent hand, lying on the surface of one of the clots.

I looked up at her and saw that she had curled into a small ball, clutching her tummy as if she could hold in her baby that way. I knew it was too late, but I also knew that it was not the right time to confirm her fears. I hoped that she didn't see what was floating in the bowl.

I covered the bowl with a piece of cloth, and then spent the next 5 minutes holding her hand. As the porters came to take her away to the wards, I surreptitiously gave them the bowl to bring with them.

I hope she never saw it.

And I wish I hadn't.


Blogger fortycalibernap said...

that is nothing but sad. it's been a very sad weekend, and this just about rounds it off for me.

i've read hundreds of clinical reports of miscarriage and abortion over the years. i've read of thousands of deaths in a variety of venues and fashions.

but what i've read from new orleans since friday, and what i've just read from you. . . i think i'm wide open, for whatever reason, and I think i'm feeling that.

thank you.

5:12 am  
Blogger Alphabet Moppet said...

That is just so sad. There are so many people who have kids but do not know how to treasure them or protect them and there are others who just .. cannot have them.

10:01 am  
Blogger tscd said...

fortycalibernap: It must be hard being an American and watching your own people suffer. We are praying for you. Hope things perk up soon.

hungry bunny: That is very true. This woman already had other children - but I don't think that will be much comfort to her.

6:55 am  
Blogger fortycalibernap said...

i don't know what to say. . . i like to think i'm a compassionate person, but this whole Katrina thing has brought at least one feeling home strong:

if it can get this bad in what is supposed to be the current cradle of civilization, how bad has it really been in the rest of the world all these years i've been asleep?

what the hell are we doing to one another?

11:24 pm  

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