MFM: Back to the unknown

We had our appointment with MFM on Wednesday, and I did feel like the doctor mostly listened, but I still somehow was not able to ask all my questions, and left feeling confused.  Perhaps I am looking for a reassurance and clarity that will just never be possible in this situation.  But basically, while the OB was not inaccurate that they found infection, the MFM dr was not convinced it had caused Sidney’s death.  He said that there was inflammation in both the placenta and umbilical cord, which was most likely indicative of infection.  However, he said that was fairly common, even in healthy babies, especially in the placenta (umbilical cord infection is more rare).  He said the same can be said for the small clot, that finding a small clot in a placenta of a healthy baby is not that unusual.  And then he said the scariest part to me–that basically, my contractions could have been too much for baby Sidney, and slowly cut off his blood flow.  And finally, he said it also could have been a cord accident, and we just didn’t see any indication of anything going wrong (I wasn’t expecting this one).  The combination of all of these factors may have proved fatal.  He said that it was unlikely that it was genetic/chromosomal, since the autopsy came back normal. He also said it was unlikely that Sidney had gotten a virus and had been sick for a while, or there would have been clearer signs of infection on his perfect body–I inserted the word perfect here.  The MFM did not say that.  And that it was unlikely that there was placental insufficiency, since Sidney was not too small–he was 6 lbs, 1.5 oz, which seems a little small to me, but not in the larger scheme of things I guess.  I know that around 20 weeks, he was measuring in the 49th percentile.  Because of all of these possibilities, he said Sidney’s cause of death is unknown.  So of course, with that information, I have ‘decided’ what I think happened.  Basically, with Eli’s birth, my water broke before contractions, so labor started slowly, and lasted a long time.  After 36 hours, with Eli being stuck at 9 cms for a long time, his heart rate started decelerating, and we did an emergency c-section to get him out.  He came out grunting, the drs thought there could be an infection, so they put him on antibiotics.  Never determined if there was in fact an infection.  And they said this type of thing was fairly common.  The MFM doctor agreed when I asked him, but he seemed not to understand my question about patterns/similarities in Eli and Sidney’s births.  So what I fear may have happened is that when I lost my mucus plug Thursday and then had contractions that stopped and re-started Tuesday, the trauma and length of the birth proved too much for Sidney, and his heart rate started decelerating, but since we weren’t in the hospital and monitoring him, and maybe because he had a little infection, my poor baby just died.  All while I was thinking, look at me, I am laboring at home, and doing so well, and when I get in, I will be nearly completely dilated and the dr’s will be impressed and my birth will be easy bla, bla, bla.  What the F–k is wrong with me, that I was concerned with having a stupid v-bac and didn’t recognize that babies could die, that maybe Eli almost died.  Instead, I was angry at how much the doctors in Seattle intervened in Eli’s birth.  I am so angry at myself, and heartbroken.  I want Sidney here.  I am having a rough morning. Except that maybe all the days are rough.

Okay, so break from guilt/whining and moving on to a practical note.  The MFM said that in a subsequent pregnancy, I would have more frequent growth scans, and then starting at 32 weeks, we would do two non-stress tests a week.  We would consider induction anywhere from 36 to 39 weeks, depending on how I and the baby were doing.  I could go on baby aspirin, but he doesn’t see the need for blood thinners.  I tested negative for some common clotting disorders.  While there are more tests that can be done, he thinks it’s not worth it, since my placenta was not completely clotted.  So we may eventually get a second opinion on all of this regarding another baby, but for other baby loss moms, what was your monitoring like?  And since I now may fall into the category of cord accident (which I don’t really get), do you do anything different in these situations?

A few other random thoughts:

This sucks.

I did hold a 3 month old.  I did okay.  Until his brother showed up and started playing with him, and I saw a picture of the two of them at the hospital together.  Then my heart ached.  It aches now writing this.

I met with the volunteer coordinator to talk about volunteering.  I will most likely help at a few random things this summer, and then they will assign me to a classroom on a weekly basis.  I feel mildly excited about this, although the volunteer form asked me what year in high school or college I was….I wrote professor.

I finally posted about Sidney on facebook.  The support has been positive, and I felt good about it at first.  But now I am angry that I am receiving condolence comments instead of congratulations messages.  I want my living son, not people’s sympathies.

And did I mention this sucks.  And that I don’t know how to do it.  And it sucks.  And I am angry.  And I want to scream and cry and yell but none of that will change anything or bring my baby back who may have died because of one of my fucking contractions.


4 thoughts on “MFM: Back to the unknown

  1. This does truly all suck, and I’m so very sorry. To answer your questions – I do the bi-weekly NSTs at the hospital, and we’re planning delivery at 37+4. I also do frequent ultrasounds to look at umbilical cord, so we can tell whether decels on NST (you’re likely going to see them if you do this much monitoring) could be from a potential cord issue or are more of just a benign cord kick or something. We started these weekly ultrasounds at about 30 weeks. I think prior to that we checked the cord at 26 and 28 weeks. To me, this extra monitoring, including the ultrasounds is a little bit reassuring. We’ve seen no cord issues in this pregnancy (knock on wood). Had we seen one, we would have stepped up the monitoring even more and/or considered an even earlier delivery…


  2. Thanks for this information, Christine. I just don’t trust doctors at all these days, and I want to make sure that I know the different options I can ask for, and how to try to advocate for myself, were we to get pregnant again in the future.


  3. I can relate to your entire blog post. I’ve been obsessively trying to figure out my daughter’s death…even after MFM said “who knows?” I called dr Collins (umbilical cord guy) and he basically said the same as your MFM. My poor baby’s umbilical cord was probably caught in an unfortunate position and my early labor contractions were too much for her to handle.
    The sibling thing…completely guts me. It’s not fair our boys don’t get to play with their siblings. They’ve been robbed too.


  4. Please don’t feel guilty about laboring at home. That’s what they tell us to do! They probably would’ve sent you home if you went in too early! And plenty of women have vbac with no complications! Nothing you did caused this. It’s our doctor’s job to tell us if something’s wrong – we trust them. I have plenty of guilt too, of course we do, but I know we did everything right, and this shit situation happened to us, not because of us.💗


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