Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Labor Stopped!!!!

OK. So on Friday I started having contractions. Ended up in Maternity on Sunday in Labor. This is what happened...It's a letter my husband wrote to my doc (who I love, but was out of town this weekend) and a couple head honchos at the hospital. Saves me from writing it all...I'll edit just enough to take out names and such....

Dr. L,

I wanted to make you aware of the experience Renee had at Hospital this weekend. Renee was having contractions on Friday, December 4th, and your office had us time them. They then determined that the contractions were too erratic and advised her to not come in. They said if they started becoming more frequent and intense to call back. Renee started having them again late Saturday night into early Sunday morning. We timed them at consistently 2 minutes apart and gaining in intensity. Dr. M asked us to come in to the maternity ward.

When we arrived shortly after 8am, we were assigned to a nurse named S (I’m sorry, I don’t have her last name.) When she told us she hadn't read Renee's chart, we advised her of Renee’s pregnancy issues – insulin-dependent gestational diabetes, half a uterus, etc. We told her that Renee had not yet eaten anything or taken her insulin, but her sugar level was 87 at 5:30 in the morning. S had Renee check her levels again at this time (9:12) and her sugar level was 92. S told Renee to not eat anything or take the insulin until the doctor had a chance to see her.

S checked and said that Renee was not dilated at all, even though she’d been consistently dilated 1.5 cm for several weeks. S called Dr. M, who said to put Renee on a series of pills that would stop the contractions. I asked why, when Renee is past 36 weeks, they would want to stop the contractions, and S replied, “Because they’re not going to want to do a c-section on a Sunday.” As I type this, I realize how ridiculous this is, but it’s true. S repeatedly told Renee that she was “not in real labor.” I don’t find it helpful for a nurse to tell a pregnant woman having severe contractions (that are clearly being registered on the monitor) that she is not in “real” labor.

At 11am, after more than 2 hours of severe contractions (and three doses of medication used to stop them), they started subsiding and S said Dr. M was there and would be in to see Renee “in a minute.” At noon I went to the front desk to ask when Dr. M would be in and I was again told (by a different nurse) “in a minute.” Two hours later I had Renee check her sugar level and it was 73. I went to the front desk and told the stable of nurses there that it was 73 and someone, who I found out later was Dr. M, said Renee needed to eat “now” and said she’d order a meal for Renee. We still had not met Dr. M or seen S since 11am. When Renee needed assistance, such as when the monitors had popped off her belly, a different nurse would come in, fix it and say that Dr. Ma or S would be in soon. As I stated before, this didn’t happen for hours.

At 2:30 S came into our room, again checked Renee’s cervix, said Dr. M would do the same even though there was still no change and said they were letting Renee go. I asked her where Renee’s meal was, and S said she didn’t know what I was talking about. She got Dr. M, which is when I realized she was the one I told about Renee’s sugar level being 73, and she said she’d check with “downstairs.” S came back in and said the cafeteria had forgotten about Renee’s order. I then asked since they were letting Renee go home, if we could just go and get her a lunch on our own instead of waiting for hospital food and was told it would be right there. While we waited for the food, Renee was given a prescription for what we were told was pain medication and then signed out. Dr. M came in with the meal and it was a sandwich and chicken noodle soup, crackers, fruit and milk. Too many carbs for someone with gestational diabetes and milk product for someone who is lactose intolerant. It also occurred to me that I’d seen Dr. M sitting at the nurse’s station many times during the day, but she hadn’t visited Renee until 2:30.

But Dr. M did then explain to us the real reason for not letting Renee deliver – because she has gestational diabetes, our baby’s lungs develop later, and without the ability to do an amniocentesis, they didn’t want to risk it. That is a great reason and makes a lot more sense than “they don’t want to do it on a Sunday.”

Regarding what S told us about Renee being prescribed a painkiller to take every 6 hours. We filled it immediately. Later Sunday night Renee had an excruciating headache so she called the maternity ward and said, “Dr. M prescribed me the painkiller Nifedipine and I want to know if it’s okay to take Tylenol on top of it.” They told her it was fine. They did not mention that this prescription is NOT a painkiller. On Monday when Renee had her regularly scheduled appointment in the city at high risk OB office, she told them the prescription she’d been put on and she was told that it is NOT a painkiller, but something that stops contractions. Renee had not taken it since Sunday at around 7:00 due to the headache and nausea it caused, instead rather dealing with the cramping and backache without medication. high risk OB office encouraged Renee to call your office to explain the medication situation and to determine if she should continue taking it or stop altogether. It was determined that she not continue with the medication. So we paid our $15 prescription copay for nothing.

We were very upset about our experience on Sunday. We were forgotten about, neglected, and generally treated poorly. This has already been a very difficult pregnancy and this weekend added a lot of unnecessary stress. Several friends in nursing are advising us to switch hospitals to ...., but we prefer to stay in ...... for the convenience, plus Renee really likes you and has been pleased with her care up until this point. We would like assurances that this was an aberration and isn’t the way Renee will be treated when she is in “real” labor.

Please feel free to contact me at any time at .... or on my cell phone at .....

Thank you,



  1. omg. i would send that to the hospital as well. that is BS!

  2. one was head of nursing, the other was head of maternity. and my OB

  3. My God. That much incompetence is unbelievable. You must have been so upset and stressed out. I'm so so sorry you've been through this, in addition to everything else.

    Great letter by your husband, though. I hope it results in better care for you from here on in...

  4. Hubby had an amazing phone call this afternoon with E the head of nursing at the hospital.

    She wasn't impressed and assured us that we would not be dealing with S when I go back. And she will have a talk with both Dr. M and nurse S.

    Can't wait to get my OB, Dr. L's, opinion about what happened. She is going to flip her lid.

  5. WOW!! I am so sorry you were treated that way. That is awful! That letter is great by hubby. I hope that will get you better care when you go in to deliver.

  6. Thank you, thank you. I especially liked how I tied the "real" labor part into the end of the letter.

  7. That is just insane. I would say you've got to be kidding, but sadly I know far too well that you are not. Good for your husband writing this letter. It was articulate and honest. If your doctor and the hospital are worth a bean you should receive a contrite letter in return. It won't make up for all that you endured, but at least they would be recognizing how awful it was.

    Hugs. And yeah for stopped contractions?

  8. I'm sorry you were treated so poorly.