Monday, October 27, 2014


So we took Dylan to the ER last weekend. It was all kinds of stupid. He was crying when walking all of a sudden and grabbing at his knee. We tested him over an hour or so, then I called nurses connection which takes forever and they said to go in. We checked a couple more times to see if it was still happening and it was, so then went in on a Saturday night.  (By the time we got back into the actual treatment area, Dylan was completely fine.)

This was our first time at the ER. Every other time we'd gone to after-hours peds which is a normal pediatrician in a normal office. 

Of course primarily I was terrified of all of the extremely sick people in the ER. Like the teenager who had a 103 fever and looked like death. Or the 4 sorority girls who were getting checked after after a girl at our local University had just DIED of meningitis. 

So Dylan and I kept to ourselves in a quiet area while Mr. GG went to get us dinner. I didn't let Dylan out of the ergo.

But then suddenly I was crying. With real tears. (Not like sobbing, but it was real.) And I was a little surprised. My brain couldn't stop replaying the night I went into pre-term labor over and over in my head and the emotions of that night: fear, panic, disorientation, all came rushing back.

My friend had dropped me off at the entrance to the ER, but there are 3 entrances to the hospital, just one of which is the ER. I went to the ER door, but there were so many people. And I was crying. And bleeding. And it just didn't feel like the right place. Do you go to the front of the line? Wait? I'm not the kind of person to just go in and be all hysterical. It may sound really stupid that I didn't go in, but no one had prepared me for what to do in that situation. So I went in a different entrance instead and I think I went up to the L&D floor, but I can't even actually remember. After wandering around crying, finally a pregnant lady helped me to the triage. 

So I was in the ER, with Dylan, and kept seeing myself hesitate at the entrance and imagining what would have happened if I had walked in. I truly felt the same helplessness and fear.

I'm great in general, but I doubt certain parts of my experience will ever leave me. Luckily, I have very few triggers, but revisiting the "scene" was pretty intense. I just wish I had known what to do that night.

If 1 out of every 8 babies are born pre-term? Why don't we talk about it? And what to do if it happens to you? I understand it's scary and pregnancy is already a time of worry, but actually going into to pre-term labor is much scarier than worry. Why don't we take hospital tours earlier? Or talk to everyone about the NICU? 

What I went through was terrifying and traumatic, but I also think the system let me down. 

November is prematurity awareness month. Go to the March of Dimes and show your support.


  1. I know this has been the hardest thing I have ever dealt with. I have been having anxiety and panic attacks since the girls were first put in the NICU and still having them almost two months later. I do agree that people need to be made more aware of the increase in premature births. It has changed my life and I also think it has permanently effected me.

  2. Yes this. I struggle with this too.

    Mine actually isn't from the labor or delivery, but from when D had to go back to the NICU. I'll never forget how uncomfortable and inconsolable he was that night, and any time he gets really upset these days I start panicking and feeling his tummy and checking his poop for blood.

    When we went to the hospital, I wasn't having contractions but was losing fluid like crazy, so I had a towel between my legs, and as soon as we walked in the front desk people just sent us to triage. Dealing with figuring out to wait in line or not in an ER.. that would have been scary and stressful to me as well. I'm sorry you had to go through it at all, but especially alone. When I saw the cord prolapse, it was when I was on the potty, and for a long time afterward I would have flashbacks of what it looked like and get scared.

    I appreciate you putting this out there and being vulnerable, and for the reminder about prematurity awareness month.

  3. My experience doesn't remotely compare to yours, but I had similar feelings taking Jack to the ER at 5 months old for random, middle of the night screaming. It was like reliving the night we took him in at 3 days old and he was rushed to the NICU. I do wish hospital tours were earlier and info about the NICU was covered ahead of time. Knowing more ahead of time about pre-term labor or being admitted to the NICU would be so much better than feeling like you're flying blind. I don't think I'll ever react to any medical situation in Jack's future without that horrible, sinking, helpless feeling. So sorry you experienced that over the weekend - but happy to hear Dylan is okay!

  4. I'm sorry you had to brave the ER with Dylan. That sounds difficult on so many levels. You've encouraged me to get my hospital tour sooner than planned…although I pray I don't need it.

    1. I pray you don't need it either! But the info never hurts. :)

  5. I don't think we talk about it for te same reason people don't talk about infertility and loss. It scares people too much to think something could go wrong. So instead we stuff these things and silence those who will talk about it.

    But you're right about needing to talk about it. I remember people giving me weird looks for touring L&D when I was 27 weeks pregnant and being uncomfortable when I asked about NICU. But I knew with being high-risk that it was important to have this information. And even though it didn't prepare me for what lay ahead, at least I wasn't completely caught off guard.

    I'm so sorry the trip to the ER triggered your PTSD. But thank you for being brave enough to share. It's important.

  6. We have been home from the NICU with our son 39 days and I think about it every day. Those 3.5 weeks replay over and over in my mind... It definitely changes you and I agree we all probably suffer from PTSD as a result!