Parting shot

I plan to eventually post the entire birth story here (or at least an abridged version, as it was quite the saga), but for now, you’ll have to accept bits and pieces, in no particular order.  The end is a decent place to start.

After making two big, tough decisions — transferring to the hospital and then eventually opting for a C-section — we thought the hard part was over after they moved me from recovery to a regular room.  Instead, it signaled the beginning of 3 1/2 hellish days, starting with irregular results of Gabriel’s initial blood work.

Long story short, we are fairly certain now that whoever drew the blood did not follow proper site sterilization procedures, leading to contamination of the sample.  This led to a cascade of unnecessary interventions that included antibiotics, several lumbar punctures (to test for meningitis — and guess what?  improper site sterilization for lumbar punctures can CAUSE meningitis — lovely), and Gabriel (who wants it on the record that he was perfectly healthy the entire time) spending two completely unnecessary days in the NICU so they could “observe” him and begin treatment immediately when he began his [nonexistent] decline.

After lots of pressure about starting treatment, heavy-handed “I’m the doctor so of course I know best” rhetoric, and scare tactics based on one-sided information, the pediatricians on-staff never apologized or admitted that the whole ordeal was most likely due to a mistake on their part.

Instead, on their final visit before we were discharged on Friday, the two pediatricians came into the room for one final visit.  We greeted them icily, and gave them the answers that they wanted to hear (of course the baby will always sleep in his own bed) to get them on their way ASAP.

They could have offered something to try to end things on a pleasant note, but instead, as they were about to leave, the more senior pediatrician, said, “We’re so happy we could give you a healthy baby.”

Matthew and I were floored.  You GAVE us a healthy baby?  Excuse me?  I had a healthy baby, and your messed-up procedures caused completely unnecessary concerns and procedures, like the lumbar punctures and unnecessary antibiotics, that could have damaged his health.

Though they were already on their way out of the room and we did not get to call them on it, pictures are  worth a thousand words, and I believe Gabriel put this quite eloquently.*

Gabriel's response to Doctor Don't

*Note, this picture was not staged, although it did not occur at the time of the doctor’s statement.


  1. Rachel Jones says:

    Wow. I’m sure your healthy baby had nothing to do with the 9 months of proper nutrition and prenatal care from Mama. Right, it was the doctors that made it all happen. Just wow 😦

    1. Melissa @ HerGreenLife says:

      Our thoughts exactly. We were very ready to leave the hospital behind!

  2. EcoCatLady says:

    Good GAWD! I am shaking my head in utter dismay. It just leaves your stomach tied in knots doesn’t it? The whole modern medical system, I mean. On the one hand, I thoroughly believe that modern medicine saves lives in certain situations… on the other hand there is this sort of horse puckey to deal with.

    CatMan has some non-trivial health issues, and he can tell absolute horror stories about his many “encounters” with “the system.” At the same time, I’m fully aware that modern medicine has saved both of our lives on several occasions.

    I think that the problem is not so much with modern medicine itself, but with the priesthood of those engaged in the system. Seriously, what passes for medical training in this country would make the harshest of fraternity hazing rituals pale by comparison. I think it leads to this overall attitude of arrogance, smugness and this sort of “we’re the experts – don’t question us you little peon” mindset. Then you add in the very natural human tendency to distance oneself emotionally when one is surrounded by life and death issues on a daily basis, and it’s just a recipe for the sort of crap that you experienced.

    I am so SO sorry that you and little Gabriel had to go through all that, and so glad that everybody came out relatively unscathed.

    1. Melissa @ HerGreenLife says:

      Yeah, you pretty much hit the nail on the head re. modern medicine. Of course, the doctors DO also see those worst outcomes, that, though rare, are quite scary. However, in trying to minimize the slim chance of a very bad outcome, they introduced other unnecessary risk.

      We also got a, “you educated people are difficult to work with,” type comment from the OB who was pushing the C-section. The doctors obviously do NOT like to have their authority questioned!

  3. EcoCatLady says:

    p.s. I missed the finger in my first look at the photo… I figured he was just saying “suck it”… add in the finger, and the picture is absolutely priceless!

  4. Simply Bike says:

    Oh no, Melissa, this sounds terrible. I’m sorry you had to go through that (and little Gabriel too) but I’m glad to hear that you’re home and both healthy and doing well. I wish you all the best as you continue to relish life with Gabriel and as a family of three now.


  5. Do you mind sharing what hospital you went to, so that I cab avoid it?

    1. Melissa @ HerGreenLife says:

      Laura, sorry for the delayed response — I was hesitant to post until we had followed up with the hospital. We were at SSM St. Mary’s. We wrote a letter to quality control and patient relations with our experience and concerns about sterilization procedures; they wrote back, basically denying any wrongdoing. Ideally, the hospital would eat the cost of their mistakes, rather than billing us or the insurance company, but, at this point, we don’t really have the time or energy to take it any farther and are just thankful we have insurance to cover the NICU stay.

      I’ve been a bit behind in blog reading, so I didn’t realize until today that this wasn’t just a general “information for sometime in the future” question, but quite relevant to you right now!

  6. nicoleM says:

    It doesn’t matter what hospital….they’re pretty much all the same!

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