Saturday, June 8, 2013

Beyond Belief

This post was written by my husband. It is a follow up to my post about what happened Tuesday night. He wrote it in real time, as everything was happening. He said it helped him to stay calm. I think it's amazingly written because it captures the confusion and emotion of the experience (not to mention a little bit of the bizarre hilarity of certain moments). I inserted a few of my own comments at times in italics, but tried to keep those to a minimum.

I can't talk to you, you are in the hospital in Zihuatanejo, I'm just a few feet outside the door in the waiting room. I want to hold you, sit next to you but I can't. Though they just let me in to calm you down which was wonderful.

I thought writing all this down so we don't forget would be an interesting way to pass the time. It's 2:08am as I start writing.

I woke up tonight to you calling my name in fear. Then I saw the blood, everything just started ... occurring, with such complete disregard to our wishes and dreams that it has me sitting here, in shock, in a waiting room with sleeping and worried people from Zihua. There are so many of them it is shocking.

Part of me wants to listen to them talking about why they are here, but I am too busy rehearsing in my mind the things I may need to say to someone if the need arises.

We sat there watching the blood, in disbelief, at first it was just dripping out of you so fast. "Trying to hold your hopes and dreams in with a piece of toilet paper" seems so incredibly appropriate. Then, for just an instant the bleeding seemed to almost stop, and .... Hope. And then suddenly, more, darker, redder, more terrifying blood. It had something else in it, placenta? Ooze, mucus, I don't even know. You were being VERY brave, staying calm (I definitely didn’t feel calm OR brave) and asked me to get the phone it was time to call the midwives, which leads me into a tangent.

THANK FUCKING GOD for us switching care when we did, we only spoke to them briefly so far, but I know they are going to be there for us through all of this, I am so thankful for (I never caught her name). I am so glad I got my call through to speak with her again. It's the only thing that calmed you for the IV (and self-administered butt suppository, which reminds me we will be washing your hands first thing tomorrow!).

Then we heard the dreaded word from her - "miscarriage" followed by "ER." Did I mention we're in Mexico? I grab cash, passports, cellphones and call the front desk to get us a cab. You actually asked me "what am I going to wear???" Then in a surreal haze of continuing disbelief we go up the stairs to the street. Juan? Called us a taxi and told them it was an emergency. Within minutes we hear it screeching corners, screaming towards us on its terrible shocks and awful brakes. 7 minutes later we pull up to the ER and there are 50 people standing or lying around. Something awful happened to another family tonight, I don't know what.

We walk in, no one at the booth and a security guard suggests we knock on the other door. And a little nurse is standing there and she takes you from me. Then, mortal terror. Helpless, useless, worthless me left to do nothing but stand by the brown, overfull trashcan, everyone is staring at me. 20 Mexicans, all looking at the fat gringo guy staring into space in the corner by the garbage can. (Writing this is surprisingly difficult). Mind racing, wonder what is happening, are they checking your blood? Weighing you? WHAT IS HAPPENING. Then the door opens and you smiling, shaking and an ultrasound machine. Blue jelly on your tummy and then. Our baby, heart beating strong, squirming, wiggling, ALIVE. Lots of Spanish I couldn't follow, there was no headrest so I was holding your head in my hand. Then she mimes a scissoring motion and after wiping her gloved hand through the lubrication on your tummy, she slides her fingers up to your CLEAR discomfort. More blood, lots more, placenta sliding down, was it from the walk?? Who cares, is the baby ok?? Why so much blood?? No answers until "he says I’ll be staying overnight, maybe even a couple days." My first thought was, Kirk and Mary will be so worried. Odd, but they will. So will everyone at Amuleto I think?

Then I get told to go buy you adult diapers from somewhere. It's 1am in Zihuatanejo and my Spanish is awful at best, but...ok, where can I get them! This was an important moment because I was doing something to help. Not just useless, I had a job to do. Then I take all your things, even your phone???? But how can I talk to you while I'm away, what if something happens?? I just do as I am told and then realize I've lost MY phone, and I struggle to care, we still have yours.

Walking to pharmacy and the taxi driver is waiting!! My phone IS there in his backseat. I am able to tell him what is happening and he understands everything I'm saying? Maybe I'm not so horrible after all. Down the street is a Mexican pharmacy which is literally a garage, but I talk to the nice lady who works there and tell her what's happening. She smiles when I say "Miramos nuestra bebe y todo esta bien, el corazon es muy fuerte."

Then she said "todo esta bien, es una aventura y no tengo bolsas." So I carried the adult diapers and what not back to you. I try to call the midwife but cant get through. I get inside and you moved, nothing but a bloodstained sheet where I left you. Momentary panic, then I see you across the room. I can't stay with you, I can't even come to you, so I tell you hurriedly I love you, I’ll be right outside and I’ll keep trying the midwife. Then I sit and read the signs on the wall and begin to process what is happening.

Your placenta dropped and is blocking the cervix, does that mean c-section? Does that mean hospital birth after all? I try to call the midwife back and get through this time! When I explain she sounds SO relieved.

Does this place have a bathroom? Oh, yes it's over there. I check the clock in the clerks room, it stopped at 11:34:23. Glad I have a phone. Fucking Mexico.

Staring at the wall, practicing my Spanish, rehearsing in my head what to say. She's calling me in to see you!! Oh, you're too tense to take the IV I have to calm you down. I feel like an idiot standing across the room trying to comfort you with words. The other nurses are all sleeping on the unoccupied beds and snoring while I try to bring your heart rate and blood pressure down with words. Blood stains still on the ultrasound table? Blood on your gown? I suppose sleeping is more important for them than keeping the room clean (Yes, they medical staff did a lot of sleeping). Trying hard not to be a judgmental American prick. As I look around I realize, you are in a neonatal ICU, my hope goes up.

She makes you insert a rectal suppository yourself, then she graciously allows you to wipe your hand on the bed! (Yes, this really happened. I neglected to share it in my version of the story.)

You need the IV to slow your bleeding so I try to calm you down and we use the time to talk a bit. I tell you what the midwife said and you visibly relax, but I have to remind you to do deep breathing exercises and eventually she gets the IV in. Success! I helped twice tonight!

Sadly though, this means they shoo me back out. So here I sit, writing all this down, wishing so badly that I was lying in bed with you at Amuleto snuggling up and dreaming about our perfect little boy.

Shit it's hot back where you are, way cooler in the waiting room it seems.

Another family arrived with a little girl, the kids here are SO adorable it's crazy.

Another ambulance just arrived, bringing someone in the front doors now, how do doctors deal with so much pain and suffering. Limitless stress and tension and fear, I am at a loss. Ugh, a man covered in blood, head tied down, unconscious just came out of the ambulance. He looks like he was hit by a car. No family for him yet. The poor little girl saw him. The child in the back is screaming loudly as they bring him in. The EMTs have serious uniforms, look like spelunkers.

So many worried people here, a child screaming in pain in the hospital and the family going in and out. They all look so scared, I am worried for them. The child is wailing and making the most awful noises, have I mentioned this is awful. I hope the little kid is ok.

I'm thirsty but afraid to leave if they come looking for me. Wonder if I can explain to one of these people here to tell the nurse I’ll be right back if she comes out.... Time to see if my limited Spanish is sufficient for this conversation.

Como se dice "nurse". Doctor!

Yea... Not sure I got this. 3:27am. At least 5 more hours til the doctor comes to see you?(B. was told the doctor would come at a certain time to check on me. That never actually happened. At least he had something to make him feel better).

I wonder if we should try and get home on Friday's Alaska flight, I wonder if there is still room...

Slowing down here at El Hospital General de Zihuatanejo, everyone is mostly asleep though the snoring has picked up considerably. There is another prego girl here, she looks about 15. Wonder what she's doing...

Can't fall asleep, only have this plastic baggy to carry our passports and everything else. Rather not wake up to that all gone. I hope you are sleeping. I love you so much it hurts.

5:10am. Snoring people all around and I’m almost falling asleep but impossible to get comfy. Would pay 100 bucks for the dirty sheet and piece of cardboard the guy in the corner is under. Hoping you are healing. Another full day of this will be brutal, gonna have to sleep at some point but won't leave hospital without you. A nice local guy tried to convince me to sleep on the bench I'm sitting on but it's a no go, maybe under it tho...

Pharmacy is closed, waited too long. Crazy though, street vendors setup shop already just down the street. Just saw another super young pregnant girl. Maybe 14-16. Couple of super prime time floor spaces just opened up but I'm afraid if I crash on the floor the nurse won't see me. Might use the bathroom finally, janitor just cleaned it, though no TP, doesn't seem to bother the locals. Just noticed that there are another 30 ppl sleeping outside on lawn chairs and what not. They are just waiting in line to see a doctor. Crasaaaazy.

Took a short walk, wasn't abducted or mugged. Everyone I saw looked tired too. Oh shit, the cardboard guy just have me his cardboard for FREE. Still too afraid to use it though. He missed out on a serious cash making opportunity. Was considering paying him to just STOP snoring, especially as though he were sleeping on a down comforter on a pillow top mattress. At least have the decency to sit here and be miserable like a man. Going on 6am. Left Amuleto at midnight. This nightmare coaster just keeps on Rollin.

Mexicans flock to emergency health care like white people to the apple store on iPhone release day. Steve jobs and Dr. Bernardo Sepulveda y Gutierrez seem to know how to create a product that everyone wants.

Floor mopping shit is pungent taking a brief respite from my vigilance, be back shortly.

6:03am. Wondering if the doctor is an early riser. What does a night in this place cost I wonder?

Whaaaaaat?! A truck pulled up, dude shouts something and a few people rush out and come back with TP! The toilet paper man came and I fuckin missed it...

Just hallucinated a local girl into you. Hope you are sleeping (nope) and healing. I love you SO much.

7am, birds chirping like crazy outside. World waking up. I am a anxious to see you. The place next door just filled up instantly with like 100 people. Not sure what it is, they have been sleeping for their place in line for hours. It seems like a medical place.

Still haven't slept more than a minute or two. Tired, but went on an adventure and bought some water and toilet paper! Whew, I watched the lady bleach that restroom 1.5 hours ago and it still smells like a rat died in there. (I literally looked for a dead rat, it's that bad).

People keep knocking on the door to that room and no answer. Just got asked for some contact info. They said the doctor will be here between 9-10 to speak with us again (this never happened), but that he has to see all the patients. Couple more hours, maybe we can go back to Amuleto! Nervous again, talking to them made me worse for some reason. And I'm so frazzled I couldn't even dictate my phone number.

Tiredness is fading, getting sick to stomach now. Worried about you, you're all alone with your thoughts. 7:32 am, I hope they are talking to you. (No one was talking to me.) This place got super busy in the last 30 minutes. Some people have been here since last night just waiting to see a doctor.

Wow, Juan came and asked if I could see you and they let me in to you!!!

Baby being born in the room next door, they kept sending her out to walk around more! You're almost finished bleeding its 8:30am. Lucio came as well, I was almost in tears speaking to him, how amazingly kind of them to come to check on us.

Just got kicked back outside, this place is a zoo now. 8:40am. Seeing you and talking to you made all the difference in the world. I am so worried for you and so sorry you were alone all night. Most of the people who were here all night have a new family member with them and are smiling and happy!

I have to say, this had an adverse effect on me, today I am not uncomfortable being the only American in sight.

Heeeeeeey. The baby!!!!!! It's so little and quiet.

One girl is crying uncontrollably (she's not happy about something, maybe she learned about the poor girl in the bed next to you). Literally multiple families sobbing tears of joy and tears of grief and then hugging each other. This emotional roller coaster just went off the tracks, I am gonna just fall apart soon. Hope we can leave, I hope everything is ok. Almost 9am. I love you.

Uhm. Side note, reading over a guys shoulder in a newspaper and there is AWFUL picture of a woman who was murdered. They don't filter out the stuff not safe for kids apparently. Aaaand I just coughed all over his head, sweet.

Wow, it's 9:11am, a woman has been here since 3am needing to see the neonatal doctor, she JUST got called back. We must have just caught him last night, this must mean he's here! Doctors came and went randomly all night). When was the last time you drank water? (Who knows?) Tick tock where's the doc.

9:37 got you more water but that dude closes the door so fast I can't give it to him. (This hospital didn’t give water to patients. Family members had to provide it). Doctor must be with the girl who just gave birth!

Guy who came in last night just left again, on stretcher but he was alive! 9:52 trying to tell myself it's just Mexico and nothing is wrong.

Bibi just brought me chilaquiles, fruit, coffee and oj. She's just sitting here with me. I'm trying not to cry. Now she's seeing how much we owe. I am pretty much in shock by the care they are giving to us. Remind me to write a glowing review novel on trip advisor and send them all gifts and baby pictures.

Looks like you're staying longer, at least til 2pm. Bibi is talking to everyone for us and just went in to talk with you. Apparently there are better places for you to be but they are full. They may move you, she said the entire cost is gong to be like 200 pesos, 20 dollars. In LA I would expect a 3000 bill by now.

So now we wait longer, everything is under control but they just want to monitor you longer, you're ok, the baby is ok, we're just being cautious. The last of my overnight buddies just left.

1030 am. Bibi is still in talking with you, I hope she's making you feel better. I hope the doctor helped. (yeah right)I hope a lot of things. Coffee helped me, much more awake now.

12:09 were home.

And now it's Saturday and we are actually home, in our real home. Waiting until Monday to see what we can find out. I am trying to stay calm, but it's been really hard. Feeling confused and sad and nervous.


  1. This is so incredibly heartbreaking. I can feel his sense of helplessness.
    I am glad you are home and close to getting some answers. I hope the bleeding has stopped. I am so sorry you are going through this. I can't imagine. Thinking of you and hoping this is just a minor problem and a crazy story to tell your son one day.

  2. I am thinking of you 3, and sending you all the strenght and love. I hope everything is well, that you are not bleeding anymore, that you will see your healthy baby on Monday. Hugs.

  3. thinking of you all and hoping for good news tomorrow - hang in there, you guys are amazing!

  4. It was amazing to read that and also so sad. My heart goes out to you guys. I seriously cannot imagine. You are all in my thoughts and prayers!

  5. darn! i wrote out a whole comment and the internet ate it. gah!
    Your husband is SO brave. It must have been so scary for him not knowing the language and trying to be there for you, and help you fetch items from the pharmacy. (My husband always feels out of place when we visit Mexico. "Here I am, a 6'6" gringo. I'm a monster!") The description of the hospital sounds DREADFUL and I am so so glad that you, baby, and your hubby are all OK


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