Infection. Sidney died of an infection. I do not know what type of infection, or how it killed him but it did. And they also found a small placental clot, but they seem to think that is secondary. It took me making phone calls all day to even learn this much, and finally around 4:30 pm, the OB called me back and told me as much over the phone, suggesting I make an appointment with MFM to go over the report in more detail. Infections. Who even dies of infections in this country any more? Did I eat something that made him sick? Did I do something that made him sick? Or was it just some virus or bacteria who happened to land on me and then hurt my precious baby? And more importantly, how could I not have known? Why didn’t I act in time and help him? I let my baby get sick, and now he is gone, and I have to live with that. I imagine that infections are slow, but I don’t know, and I don’t know how the clot is related. If I ever am able to sit down and talk with someone in more detail, I will ask these questions.
I am ashamed. Infection seems to call out that I did something wrong. I am embarrassed to share that information. If I say Sidney died of unknown causes, it seems more like an act of God or nature that we just can’t understand, but infection seems like something preventable. My beautiful baby. I just want you back.
I feel very alone. The OB was not responsive. He did not call to tell me the results were in, so I finally called the office. You have to call the main desk and then have them leave him a message. I did that, and I missed his call back. He said the results were in, he was out of the office but to call another OB. So I called the main desk back and got transferred to a nurse’s answering machine. Left another message. Got a call back that the other OB was in labor and delivery so why did’t I just make an appointment to go over the results with MFM. Unless it was urgent. I said, well, kind of. My baby is already dead, but I want to know the results. So she said she’d call the doctor and call me back. The doctor finally calls. Says he only has a few minutes but that they found an infection in the umbilical cord and placenta. What infection, I ask? He doesn’t know. It doesn’t say. Just an infection. And then there was a small placental clot. The baby (Sidney’s) body looked fine so the infection had not been there for too long. He had died within 24 hours of his birth. That’s all he knows. Then he hung up. Then I told my husband. My husband stormed out of the room, angry that I had not made an appointment to learn the results in person. In person? If only I had been able to do that. This morning, I finally got through to MFM. They didn’t have an appointment available until Aug. 10th. Okay, I said. To have to fight so hard just so someone can talk to me about my son’s death. So that I can return to the same place I went when in labor (I am already scared about that). Then coincidentally a woman from the OB’s office called to tell me she had faxed my papers over to my PCP. She was nice, so I told her what had happened. She called MFM and got us an appointment for July 20th. But she was kind, and she listened, and she cared, and she helped. She said call if I need anything. Why is it so hard for someone to do that? She didn’t actually change anything. She didn’t bring Sidney back. But she was kind. She heard me. I don’t think that is too much to ask from an OB’s office.
Eli said he wants to be a heart doctor when he grows up. Then he will go and fix baby Sidney, so he can get to come. I said, well, it’s probably too late to help Sidney but maybe you can help other babies, help other parents so they are not sad. He said, yes, I want to join a doctor team that does that. When I’m a grownup I will help the next baby you have get to come. His timing might be a little off, but I like the sentiments. If only someone could have helped Sidney. If only someone can help a next baby that we try to have come, in the words of Eli. I would like to replace despair with hope but I am not there yet. For now, I have to learn to come to terms with ‘infection’ and what that means, and how my beautiful boy is not here.
And in the mean time, there was another birth announcement greeting me at the door of Eli’s school. Birth announcements really hit home. More than pregnant women, and maybe even more than babies.