Thursday, January 16, 2014

Medical Records and Unanswered Questions

Since I first got mine and Lily's medical records in the summer of 2012, I've been meaning to write about this. A few days ago, while I was going through some of Lily's things in her memory chest, I thought of those records and wanted to look them over again...

It is very emotional, very bittersweet, to go through those thirty or so pages... much of it is fancy medical lingo that I can't decipher. Some of the pages bring a smile to my face, the pages that are full of information from my appointments from when I was pregnant with Lily. They take me back to that place, when she was here... they bring back those sweet memories of hearing her precious heart beating, seeing her on the ultrasound machine, and finding out all the fascinating facts about how her body was growing within mine. I have record of my weight and blood-pressure from each appointment. I have record of each date of all my ultrasounds. I have the notes about all the testings I had done and the vaccines I received. I have record of her heart rate from each visit, which brings back the memory of the sound of that fast thump, thump, thump. I have papers from my 6-week postpartum check-up. I have my intake papers from when I first started going to my doctor. All the dates from these records are 2009 and 2010... seeing them takes me right back. I see my age listed as 20-year-old female... how can I already be 24? How can it already be 2014?

As I said, it's bittersweet to look through these pages... but they are a reminder that Lily was really, truly here. She had weight in this world. Because I have so few memories of/with Lily, I cherish those I do have... even the memories of appointments. It has been healing to have these records.

The papers in my records that are the most difficult to look at are the Pathology Report and the Delivery Notes/L&D Summary. I didn't really know what to expect to find in my records, as I've obviously never gotten records like this before. I had no idea I'd have all these pages of notes, written from the perspective of my doctor. It is so strange to read through what he wrote. Certain parts are extremely difficult to read...

Findings: A nonviable infant delivered with Apgars of 0 at 1 minute 0 at five minutes, weighing 3426 grams or 7 pounds 9 ounces at 16:24...

Description of Procedures: The patient arrived at the birth center and I was called by L&D nursing at approximately 6:30 and informed by the nurses that they could not find a fetal heart beat using Doppler... I immediately proceeded to the birth center and evaluated the patient with ultrasound at about 6:50. Ultrasound revealed a single intrauterine pregnancy and the fetal heart was evaluated and there was no cardiac motion over the course of a 10 minute examination. The patient was informed of fetal demise and plans for delivery were made.... the nonviable neonate was handed to the care of the patient with the nursing staff in attendance. The patient voiced desire to hold the baby... The maternal patient remained in the LDR suite in good condition. The stillborn neonate remained in the LDR suite with fetal demise status in the care of the patient and the nursing staff.

Reading this took me right back to her birth and my feelings surrounding it. "The patient voiced desire to hold the baby." This makes me proud that I wanted to hold her. You see, I was scared of how she might look (other loss parents have said and thought the same thing. Some choose not to see their baby). I am so glad that I chose to hold her right after she was born. I am proud that I pushed my fear aside and mothered my baby girl in the only way I knew how, the only way I could...

I went over things from my medical records with a midwife last summer. Dr. M never really went over them with me, in a way that I could understand at least. I just needed someone who could decipher the medical lingo to help me make heads or tails of things.

As Dr. M had told me, there is no medical explanation why Lily was taken so soon and the autopsy results were inconclusive. I will never know why this side of Heaven... but, there were traces of something found that hints at an infection. An infection that could have taken her life (though the infection could have come as a result of her passing). I cried my eyes out when I heard this and felt like it was my fault, like I did something to get the infection that killed her, even if I never knew what I was doing obviously. I didn't know about this for over 2 years and it was hard to hear it.

God walked me through that and brought me to the place where I have to trust that He is greater than all that and if He wanted her here, she would be. He is greater than any medical condition or explanation and He knew what was going to happen. He planned her life and brought the purposes of her life to fruition. Her life and death were not in vain, nor were they a surprise to Him.

Overall, I have found a greater sense of peace and healing through going over these records... and I know with every fiber of my being that my Heavenly Father is in control of my life, as well as Lily's life. I know that He is good always and He gives peace. He comforts the hurting and heals the broken. That's my God.

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