My Sister just had her twins...at 29 weeks - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 80 Old 08-13-2011, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yesterday my youngest sister, pregnant with twins and due oct 31st went in for an ultrasound. They told her that her cervix looked a little "short" and sent her to the hospital to get "checked". They did an internal, she was 4 cm (hasn't had any "active" labour, just really bad braxton hicks.) But in doing the check, they broke her water.

So they did an "emergency" c-section. It was so stressful, I was there with her, they were about to proceed without her husband. (He was rushing home from work, which was an hour and a half away.) They had me scrubbed in "just in case"..but luckily he DID make it, but barely.

 

She's still confused-the baby's heart rates were both normal, neither were in distress. They told me that they were treating it like an emergency because my sister was starting to have contractions, and they thought that the baby girl's cord might birth first, which would compress it. The little boy was breech, and they told her his head would get stuck.

Ok, regardless of whether or not any of this was necessary, they still didn't explain this to my sister.

NO one called her midwife, even though she asked, several times. I paged her myself, and she did make it, but she was bothered that they just ignored her wishes.

I was in the labouring area with her, and saw so many nurses and doctors come in, examine her, put their hands in her, on her, poke her, move her, mess with buttons...Only ONE nurse bothered to introduce herself and *ask* before she examined her, and explained what she was doing. Only one out of probably 12??

 

They whisked her off for an epidural and before she knew it they were prepping her for an "emergency" c section.

The problem is, even if it truly was an emergency, and needed to happen, (we still don't know, really...) NO ONE bothered to explain this to her. I practically had to corner one of the nurses to get any information, and even then, it was limited.

And it wasn't such an emergency that they didn't have time to explain. All heart rates were fine, her contractions were still far enough apart, her blood pressure was normal. No one had a fever.

 

Her babies were born about half an hour later. The little girl weighed 2.5 lbs, and the little boy 3 lbs. She didn't hardly get to see them before they were taken to nicu. And then she didn't get to see them again until well after midnight. (she had them around 8:30).

 

I asked if there would be any lactation consultants on the floor the next day, and told them that she would need a pump. (because we're both pregnant, we talk a lot and I knew that she wanted to breastfeed. She's come to terms with the fact that twins might be tricky, but she wants to be able to at least be given a chance.)

The nurse told me "breastfeeding isn't an issue at this point". Are you kidding me? Right now is when her prolactin levels are peaking, she absolutely needs to be pumping if she's planning on nursing.

They finally gave her one this afternoon.

 

They also did spinal taps on the babies "just in case" they "might" have an "infection". They refuse to admit that their internal exam might have had something to do with them being born early, and say that it could be that they have an infection.

The tests came back negative for both. Such an unnecessary intervention. They had no signs or symptoms of infection, no fever.

I was dilated for two months before my first two babies, and because of it, my midwife left me alone, because she KNEW it could rupture the membranes.

 

This is a "teaching" hospital...the same hospital where a student nurse blew a hole in my son's lung by turning on a  faulty c-pap machine to the wrong setting.
He was born fast, and had still had fluid on his lungs because of it. My midwife was using a manual respirator, which was working. He was doing fine, and had coughed up most of the fluid at this point. But then she had to attend another birth, and had to leave.

A nurse came in and informed me that they wanted to take him to the nicu for observation, because he was born with fluid on his lungs. (even though he didn't have any left in there...)

They came back and told me that they had hooked him up to a cpap machine "just in case", which led to a chest tube. It wasn't until two weeks later that someone explained to me what happened. That he had a collapsed lung, and that it was because of human error with the c-pap. That my baby would have been FINE if they had just left him the heck alone.

We spent a month there, trying to jump through all sorts of hoops to get out. Jaundice, weight gain (he was 7 lbs at birth. It's not like he was tiny...) They basically told me that i had to give him formula in order to get him out of there. So I did.

 

 

Just being back at that hospital, and watching my sister go through so many of the same things made my blood boil. I know that our situations are different, that 29 week twins are different than full term single babies...but still. Too much of it was the same. No explanation, no courtesy. Inhumane.

 

I'm having a really hard time calming myself down, i couldn't sleep last night, and i'm still overloaded with adrenaline. I need to calm down, but I just can't seem to.

I want to be there for my sister without freaking her out, but I really want to be able to speak for her if she feels like she's not able. The staff is so patronizing, and treats parents like they're idiots.

 

I told her before I left last night, that these are HER babies, not the hospitals. And that if they"need" to do anything, they need to explain it to her fully before they do it, and that she needs to actually consent. And if she doesn't understand what's going on, they need to explain it in a way that she does. (Plain english.)

(I was really speaking more to her husband than her at this point, she was still in shock.)

 

Anyway, I don't know why im sharing all of this. I'm not trying to freak anyone out, I just needed to vent, and this seemed to be the best place to do it right now.

 

Thanks for listening.

 


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#2 of 80 Old 08-13-2011, 07:28 PM
 
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You have every reason to be upset. Having the twins at that age is scary enough, and having to deal with the rest of it would have left me in shock as well. It is very hard to speak up for yourself and your babies when you are in shock and in the dark about what is going on. Other members might be able to help more as far as speaking to someone at the hospital about the general lack of informed consent and extremely poor bedside manner. It is awful that they were born so soon, but luckily they are less likely to have as many complications at this point. I'll pray for your family. hug2.gif

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#3 of 80 Old 08-13-2011, 07:51 PM
 
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hug2.gif

 

Wow, that sounds so unbelievably stressful.  So sorry your family is going through all of this.  Your sister must be in shock -- I know I would be.  It sounds like you are being an incredible support to her.  Sending lots of good thoughts to your sister and the babies.

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#4 of 80 Old 08-13-2011, 08:35 PM
 
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they did spinal taps on them???? omg. seriously why would anyone go to a teaching hospital? ack. i am stressed out just reading this :(


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#5 of 80 Old 08-13-2011, 08:57 PM
 
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I would be as mad and furious.  Hossie's are a business and we are numbers, hugs hun.

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#6 of 80 Old 08-13-2011, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks guys, for sending thoughts and prayers. She'll appreciate any extra prayers, she's so worried right now.

 

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Originally Posted by lookatreestar View Post

they did spinal taps on them???? omg. seriously why would anyone go to a teaching hospital? ack. i am stressed out just reading this :(


There are only two hospitals that deliver babies in our city, and this one is the "best" one, with the children's hospital. (It's a university.) So even if she had them at the other hospital, they would have transferred her to this one anyway, because they have the most bells and whistles in their nicu. It's ironic that the *best* is the one that seems to intervene the most.

 

I've never had a good experience at this hospital, for any procedure, surgery, baby...

I had my first son at the other hospital, and it was awesome. Very low key, calm...it was great. The midwife didn't even make it there, so it was just me, my mom and a nurse who was really laid back and very sweet. She stayed pretty much hands off, unless I asked for assistance.

 

 With my second, I had to go to this 'teaching' hospital because my midwife was already there with another delivery, and I have my babies really fast. So there wasn't time for her to make it to the other hospital. It was brutal.

And then last summer I had a miscarriage at this hospital (I had to go to this one because of the ER), and they didn't even give me anywhere to lay down for 36 hours. They basically treated me in the waiting room, which was terribly uncomfortable, and degrading.  I was forced to miscarry in front of strangers with no privacy, but couldn't leave because they thought that I might need blood transfusions.

 

Seriously, this is the *best* we can do?
 

 


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#7 of 80 Old 08-13-2011, 10:34 PM
 
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This has me CUSSING!! Aaaauuuugghh!!! Scary, scary stuff. I am so sorry for your sister. It is AMAZING how HORRIBLE the medical world can be to mamas. No compassion whatsoever. First of all, they were the ones that caused this tragic situation to begin with... and they don't even have the courtesy to explain themselves as the prepare to cut her open and remove her babies from her body?! And then they won't even let her stay with her tiny, underdeveloped babies?!??!!!! Sometimes I wonder how people could behave this way towards other human beings. The lack of humanity is truly atrocious.

 

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#8 of 80 Old 08-13-2011, 10:43 PM
 
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well that is just all around awful hug.gif
 

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Thanks guys, for sending thoughts and prayers. She'll appreciate any extra prayers, she's so worried right now.

 


There are only two hospitals that deliver babies in our city, and this one is the "best" one, with the children's hospital. (It's a university.) So even if she had them at the other hospital, they would have transferred her to this one anyway, because they have the most bells and whistles in their nicu. It's ironic that the *best* is the one that seems to intervene the most.

 

I've never had a good experience at this hospital, for any procedure, surgery, baby...

I had my first son at the other hospital, and it was awesome. Very low key, calm...it was great. The midwife didn't even make it there, so it was just me, my mom and a nurse who was really laid back and very sweet. She stayed pretty much hands off, unless I asked for assistance.

 

 With my second, I had to go to this 'teaching' hospital because my midwife was already there with another delivery, and I have my babies really fast. So there wasn't time for her to make it to the other hospital. It was brutal.

And then last summer I had a miscarriage at this hospital (I had to go to this one because of the ER), and they didn't even give me anywhere to lay down for 36 hours. They basically treated me in the waiting room, which was terribly uncomfortable, and degrading.  I was forced to miscarry in front of strangers with no privacy, but couldn't leave because they thought that I might need blood transfusions.

 

Seriously, this is the *best* we can do?
 

 



 


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#9 of 80 Old 08-13-2011, 11:21 PM
 
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Your sister is fortunate to have you there for her. I'm sure you made the whole thing much better for her. Can you contact LLL on her behalf to help out with the bfing?

 

Is there any chance of getting some therapy for yourself before your own birth?

 

I learned just recently that any c-section that is unplanned & takes place after labour has started is considered an emergency c-section - it's really not a very accurate term at all.

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#10 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 05:45 AM
 
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Since her babies are so young, and are going to have a long road in the hospital before they can go home, and HIGH medical bills - your sister may want to consider suing the hospital for negligence since it is the hospitals fault that her babies were born so soon.  She and her husband should consult with a lawyer about it.

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#11 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 05:55 AM
 
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My heart is breaking for your sister! I would be so furious! grouphug.gif

 

I would totally get in touch with a lawyer but IDK how you could *prove* it wasn't active labor KWIM? The Dr is the "expert" and I'm sure he will say it was active labor and was absolutely necessary.

 

Those babies need BM now more than ever I can't believe the nurse said it wasn't important!


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#12 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 05:56 AM
 
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Wow, how terrifying, and scary! Your sister is lucky to have you, I can't imagine her going through that alone. Thank you for being there for her.

I'm so angry for her right now! This is the "best" care they can give?? Those babies are fighting for their lives because of their error. I really think they should consult a lawyer too. I would write down anything you remember, and have others do the same, since medical records aren't always reliable, and some information can go missing.
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#13 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 06:36 AM
 
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I'm so saddened and angry for your family.  Such an unneeded shortening of time in the womb.  I hope that your sister is recovering and her little ones pull through this trauma.  :(


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#14 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 06:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

My heart is breaking for your sister! I would be so furious! grouphug.gif

 

I would totally get in touch with a lawyer but IDK how you could *prove* it wasn't active labor KWIM? The Dr is the "expert" and I'm sure he will say it was active labor and was absolutely necessary.

 

Those babies need BM now more than ever I can't believe the nurse said it wasn't important!


Well, thing is, in practice they would have to do everything they could to STOP active labor in a mother who was only 29weeks.  Since her water wasn't broken until the Dr. did an internal exam, if there had been active labor they would have been giving meds to try and stop the labor.

 

I think she's got a reasonable chance - the hospital might even settle the case to avoid a huge jury verdict.  A lawyer is definitely needed though - and the hospital may get REALLY nice, or REALLY nasty (although if they get nasty they piss off a jury even more).  I would definitely be suing.

 

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Wow, how terrifying, and scary! Your sister is lucky to have you, I can't imagine her going through that alone. Thank you for being there for her.

I'm so angry for her right now! This is the "best" care they can give?? Those babies are fighting for their lives because of their error. I really think they should consult a lawyer too. I would write down anything you remember, and have others do the same, since medical records aren't always reliable, and some information can go missing.


Yes, AND keep documentation of everything that the nurses are doing, saying, every time they are nasty or short with the mother or father.  I really think the hospital should be falling all over themselves with niceness b/c they really are risking a pretty big lawsuit.

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#16 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 10:17 AM
 
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They definitely should have done everything they can to stop labor if that was the case. Did they offer any medication to stop the contractions? Test urine for bacterial infections? Start an saline drip to counteract any dehydration? Discuss steriods as an option? I have read (and know of personally) several cases where delivery was stopped long enough for steroid treatment, even with broken waters. I would consult a lawyer as well. The consults are free, and many injury/malpractice lawyers do not charge unless their is a judgment.

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#17 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 12:21 PM
 
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I'm not one to immediately pull out the lawsuit card, but in this case I would absolutely consult with a lawyer. To me it sounds like they set off the birth by accident, by breaking the water (how stupid is that?!), and then continued to stack one intervention on top of another. She was not given any opportunity to ask questions, to make decisions, she was treated like a slab of meat. Horrible. Definitely talk to a lawyer.

Sadly, that will do nothing to make up for this awful experience. greensad.gif Prayers for the babies, and for your sister. I hope she will heal quickly from this, not just physically, but especially emotionally. 

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#18 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 01:41 PM
 
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How stressful. greensad.gif I hope your sister and her babies are ok.
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#19 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 02:10 PM
 
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Pretty please, don't give her one more thing to do right now. She just gave birth to two babies.

Maybe hook her up with an Ipad with internet access (if it's not available as wireless, get a cell card). She can diary there about anything having to do with their care and the words of the nurses. And a really good nursing pillow, AND one of them tube-top tank pumping bras. Grab the video about hands on pumping for preemies. Get her a water bottle. A BIG ONE. And a little ice chest for her drinks and milk. Hand sanitizer that she likes the smell of. Bring her house pillow so she can sleep, maybe her pregnancy pillow, because I'm sure she's a little "twin" shaped still, and needs comfort. Cute zip-up tops are nice for pumping. Preemie outfits can be ordered online. Gift cards for gas/parking/local restaurants.



I feel like a shill for the medical industry, but there's probably no malpractice. It's standard of care to do a vaginal exam when someone is having pre-term contractions. The water breaking accidentally is one of the things that can happen, especially at 4 cm and, and I suspect, she sounds like she was in labor. 4 cm dilated at 29 weeks is not normal. It totally fucking blows. It's incredibly regrettable. I'm not sure it's a clear cut case of malpractice. But working on a malpractice case is not what she needs to be doing right now. Keeping a record of what happens so she can come back to it later, absolutely.
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#20 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 04:01 PM
 
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I agree with jane, unfortunately if water broke from just an internal the bags were probably bulging and ready to break.  If she was 4cm there probably wasn't much going back anyway.  I am so sorry for the awful experience but thankfully the babies were not super-preemies and should be ok. 

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#21 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 05:15 PM
 
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I agree with Jane as well. What she needs most is a lot of support right now & fortunately being in Canada the medical expenses are covered.


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#22 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 07:37 PM
 
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Corabelle, so sorry to hear this.  hug.gif Your sister, her husband, and you should definitely document everything, and then decide whether to sue a little later.  Praying for you and those poor babies.  


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#23 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 07:50 PM
 
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I hope everyone pulls through this and, yes, she is lucky to have you there for her, and looking out for her and the babies (its really awful that hospitals don't always work to support nursing, especially when its tough- that is when the help is needed most).

 

Its also important to care for yourself!


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#24 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi guys,

Sorry to take so long to get back. I've been at the hospital with her all day.

Regarding the spinal taps: We finally got a doctor to explain this to us. (My dad actually called my cousin, in Iowa, who's an ER pediatrician.) He explained what the hospital here could have..but just didn't.

 

Babies at this size/age don't get fevers, so in the case of an infection, they wouldn't know if the baby even had it until it was way too late. He said that it would be negligent of the hospital to NOT do a spinal tap. He said a lot of other stuff that seemed to make sense...but that's the basics.

This would have all been nice to know yesterday when they were trying to decide whether or not to consent to it. Doctors really need to explain things better.

 

As far as the breaking water etc...She wasn't in labour before the water broke. The labour didn't start until about 4 hours later, and that's when everything got "panicky" and they wanted to do the c-section.

They didn't try to stop the contractions. (she was told that wasn't an option, and that once the water is broken, they have to deliver.)
But she was given steroids before the labour started. (and antibiotics, saline etc.)

 

Suing is probably not going to be even worth their time. We are in Canada, so their medical expenses are for the most part covered.

The crappy side of this is that because we have public health care, my sister is being discharged tomorrow (most likely) without her babies, and with a wound that is going to be life altering for the next few weeks. She can't even walk to the nicu yet, and needs help getting in and out of bed, chairs etc.

 

They didn't show her how to even use her pump, so when I went in this morning, she was in tears. The suction dial was hidden, and was set to max. She has major blood blisters all over and wasn't getting very much with the pump at all.

 

I cranked the speed and turned the suction down to "barely there" just to see how  that was and she literally GUSHED. She was so happy that it was finally working, and not hurting.
I also got her different sizes of flanges (they gave her little tiny ones, and she's bigger breasted.) And then, after the pump couldn't get anymore, I showed her how to hand express, and she got double what she had just pumped.

We sort of joked about it, she 'mooed' and I told her "i'll bet you never thought that there would be a day when your big sister would "milk" you".

 

Her babies are only getting about 2 mls every 2-3 hours, so what she pumped today is enough for her babies and then some, which is fantastic. It's the one way that she feels she can actually do something for her babies right now.

 

(She got to proudly take it into NICU and feed it to her babies herself through the feeding tube, and then touch her babies, and stroke them etc. Her little girl was crying, and she stopped as soon as my sister held her hand, which was extremely theraputic for both of them!)

 

After being discharged though, she'll have to rent a pump, which is going to be expensive. (I might just try to get her an ameda...or lend her mine until I need it in October.)

 

And the REALLY crappy thing is that last night, their appartment building had a fire. Not in their unit, but above it. Apparently it was arson. So they aren't allowed in there, and their stuff might be ruined.

When it rains, it pours, doesn't it?

 

We're going to go over and see if their things are ok, and if they are, we're going to pack it all up, put it in a storage unit, and they're going to move in with my mom and dad for a few months. (They have a few spare rooms, and my mom is thrilled, and my sister is relieved.)

 

 They wanted out of that building anyway, it smelled like smoke all the time (cigarette, not the yummy bonfire kind..) even though it was a non-smoking building.  The neighbors were always fighting/screaming, and it was SUPER tiny. Their kitchen was smaller than my hallway, and borderline unusable.

So, getting out of there=good. Having to deal with it right now,=not so good.

We were going to be having a baby shower for her on saturday, but now I think we'll be moving their stuff for them instead.

I really wish that they'd let her stay a few more days, just to heal. There's no way that she can do stairs right now...poor girl.

 


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#25 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 08:36 PM
 
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Glad to hear some answers were given. Sounds like things are progressing.

 

Please look into the breast pump some more. A friend of mine (ottawa, on) had her little girl in the nicu for 2 weeks. The hospital lent her the pump for that period of time but she had to buy a personal kit (fits onto the hospital grade pump to make it sanitary for each user). I believe they even gave her all the bottles to freeze in & everything. Definitely worth investigating further.

 

Unfortunately it does seem to be standard to release mom's much too soon from the hospital - I'm glad she's got some good family support.

 

Oh my - the fire was just not something they needed. Wow.


Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#26 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 08:42 PM
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Corrabelle, I'm so sorry that your sister has had all this happen to her. (And the apartment issue on top of it all is just icing on the cake. Ugh.)

 

I would be careful about jumping to conclusions about what was necessary and what was not. It sounds like the communication has been incredibly substandard, but that doesn't mean the decisions were wrong. (Also, just FYI, she is not being sent home now because it's public insurance. It's totally normal for mothers of NICU babies to go home without their babies in all health care systems under all types of insurance.)

 

Personally, I would not immediately be thinking lawsuit, but if she still has questions, I would absolutely be calling the hospital's patient advocate's office immediately, if only to help get some answers and also perhaps see about staying a few more days. That can often be arranged. (It was for me.)

 

Also, she may want to check what's available for pump rental. She may not need to rent out of pocket, and she could check her extended health benefits (if she has them), too, because you are right, that will really add up over the coming weeks/months.

 

Hugs to you for the emotions this has brought up for you.


professor & maman de DS1 (6) & DS2 (1)

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#27 of 80 Old 08-15-2011, 12:48 AM
 
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I didn't mean to say that she should seek a lawyer immediately. Right now she is healing. I would definitely help by keeping a record of what is going on, though. It will be hard to remember the ins and outs of that stuff, especially since she is focused on the babies now. If I were in her shoes, when I was ready, I would approach the hospital about general lack of informed consent for the procedures. It is very scary as a parent to be in that situation and not know what the doctors are doing, or why.

Ask if the hospital can have a pump available for her when she is in the NICU. I know that hospitals here do that, but you may have to advocate for her. I would also find a way to get her a lactation consultation if you can. An LC will be able to help her keep her supply up for when they are able to breastfeed. The suggestions about a little ice chests for drinks, milk, and snacks was great. Gift cards for local stores or restaurants are great as well. Gas cards can be very helpful if they have to travel much to get to the hospital.
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#28 of 80 Old 08-15-2011, 07:24 AM
 
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Corrabelle,

I am SO glad you are there for your sister! What a terrifying time and I can't believe all the things going wrong. As a little sister who is pregnant with twins and has a big sister nearby who is pregnant with her 3rd child, I depend on her so much for emotional and logistical support- and I haven't had anything happen like your sister! 

 

I hope that the babies and your sister recover well. Please keep us posted on all of them. How are the babies doing?

 

Your family is in my thoughts and prayers!

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#29 of 80 Old 08-15-2011, 08:37 AM
 
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that is exciting that she was able to produce milk. You can help her label and store excess (or get your mom on board with that) and even though she may never need it, she may really be grateful with twins to have that after they come home! So glad to hear they are doing okay so far, despite all the problems. I am so glad to hear she has family support. (and, with private insurance I don't think they keep moms any longer- possibly less and then they often argue about covering every last thing too). hopefully she will bond with some of the NICU nurses and they will look out for her a bit. I have heard wonderful stories about NICU nurses from 2 friends whose babies had extended stays for serious health problems. And yes! you can go bug the hospital about getting her an LC asap. My friend who had her daughter in Ottawa said they were super on top of the nursing- wouldn't even release her from hospital until they were satisfied that nursing was established (I was impressed- so different from here. I guess that is not always the case).


dissertating mom to three

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#30 of 80 Old 08-15-2011, 09:05 AM
 
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if i were you, i would kick up a fuss at the hospital about being discharged. my baby was preterm, born vaginally with no complications and they were going to discharge me super early while my dd was in the NICU because there was nothing wrong with *me*! i protested and they let me stay an extra two days. then they discharged me and my dd was still in the NICU and i kicked up another fuss until they gave me one of the available "family" rooms so i could stay at the hospital all day and at least have somewhere to nap. if i hadn't had my midwife to advocate for me i'd have had no idea i could demand to stay longer and use some of the resources available to me through the hospital. the staff certainly weren't going to tell me about them! you can rent a hospital grade pump through most pharmacies... i'd do that as soon as she does get discharged so she has one waiting at home. again, the staff were totally unhelpful in that regard, it was my midwife who got me connected. 

 

i hope your sister and the babies heal well and thrive. it's going to be a loooong road ahead, she's lucky to have someone to advocate for her! 

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