Written By: Nicole Diaz
As we prepared for the arrival of our 2nd daughter, Rylie Krystine, the thought of still-birth never crossed my mind. I never imagined our “hello” would be “goodbye”.
I absolutely LOVED being pregnant. I did everything right…got early prenatal care and ate right. My daughter, Rayna was 3 and could not wait to be a big sister.
On Tuesday, December 21, 1999 at 37 weeks gestation, Rayna and I saw Rylie was moving around and waving “hi” as the ultrasound tech scanned my belly. The tech confirmed that Rylie was still a girl and gave us a few pictures to take home. Life was picture perfect.
Then, without warning, my dream turned into a nightmare. I woke up the morning of December 22nd like any other day. We had breakfast and got ready for the day, which included my weekly doctor’s appointment. As Rayna and I waited in the waiting room for our turn, I couldn’t remember when I felt Rylie move last. Then, I heard my name. As we walked back to do the routine weight check and urine sample, I mentioned to the medical assistant that I don’t think I felt Rylie move that morning. She smiled and said “I am sure everything is fine. The doctor will be in with you shortly.” and walked out closing the door behind her. The physician assistant came in shortly after and when I asked where my doctor was. She said, “Oh he’s busy, lay back and let’s hear this baby’s heart tones.” As I laid back and my belly shifted the PA joked “oh this baby is a mover.” Then, placed the doppler on my belly. She moved it around and around trying to get the tones and continued to make comments like, “Well, if I didn’t just see your belly move, I would be worried.” At this time, I was starting to panic. She had me walk to another room where the ultrasound machine was and said, “I am sure baby is just laying with her back to us, so I just want to show you for peace of mind that everything is ok.” As soon as the ultrasound wand hit my belly, I started crying. The PA didn’t say anything and continued to scan and then said, “I am going to send you next door to labor and delivery. Their ultrasound machine is better than this one. Is there anyone you would like for me to call.” My head was spinning, tears were falling, and Rayna was squeezing my hand asking if everything was ok with her baby sister.
When we got to the hospital (next door) I was “greeted” by a lady asking, “Oh are you the one with the fetal demise?” I was caught off guard and said, “No, the PA at my doctor’s office sent me over here because she couldn’t detect the heartbeat.” The nurse then lead me to a room and told me an ultrasound tech would be in shortly. My husband at the time showed up with my dad, who took Rayna for us. We sat in that room for what seemed like an eternity (it was about 45 minutes) before the tech came in. She scanned my belly and didn’t say a word. When we asked her to tell us ANYTHING she said the doctor will be in shortly. Again, we were left sitting, not knowing, and waiting…and waiting. Another 35 minutes pass and the phone in the room rings. The nurse comes in and says, “That’s the doctor, he wants to speak with you.” She hands me the phone.
“Hello?” I said with confusion. “Ah, yes. She is gone so we are going to get the ball rolling and start induction.”(Was what I heard from the other end) I was in shock and could not believe the words I just heard. “Excuse me?” was all I could manage to say. “Yes, so your baby is dead and we are going to move you to another room and start an induction of labor.” With those words, I dropped the phone and started crying even harder than I already was. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I couldn’t believe the way I was being treated!
After we got moved, they checked me and I was 3cm dialated and they started pitocin. By this time, my parents were there. I asked (begged!) them to break my water. When I had Rayna, the doctor broke my water and she arrived shortly after, but they refused. So again, we were left waiting. Hours pass and there wasn’t much change. Again, I asked for them to break my water and the doctor said, “We are going to let nature take its course”, and he walked out. The nurse told me, “Get some sleep” and walked out. SLEEP?! Really?! How was I supposed to “sleep” right now?! So, my mom and husband sat at the table next me playing cards to pass the time and I laid there…my eyes were closed, but I wasn’t sleeping.
The next morning, around 8:30, while my mom and husband went to get some coffee, the doctor came in and before he could get a word out I said (ok, I screamed) “Break my water NOW! If you won’t do it give me the tool and I will do it myself!!” He was not happy with how I spoke to him and told the nurse “just go ahead and do it.”…. 45 minutes later, with my mom and husband by my side, Rylie Krystine was born still, with the umbilical cord around her neck 2 times, on December 23rd. She had 10 fingers and 10 toes…she was perfect. The nurse wrapped her up and asked me if I wanted to hold her. As she placed Rylie in my arms all I could do was cry and ask WHY?!
I was not prepared to hand my daughter to a nurse, never to see her again but I had to. After doing so, there was no way I was going to stay in the hospital, listening to all the other women cry tears of joy as they heard their baby’s first cry. I signed myself out of the hospital and went home…empty handed…
As I look back on this day, I don’t blame the hospital or staff for the way I was treated. They weren’t educated with the materials of how to handle situations like mine. I wish the OC Walk to Remember was in my area at that time.
It is through the OC Walk to Remember and the donations made in honor of all the babies gone too soon, that hospitals are given the materials and training needed to give the families proper support. I pray that no woman is ever treated the way I was.