Thursday, December 31, 2009

Adding Insult to Injury

I couldn't sleep (again) Sunday night and at 1:30am I reached out via email to the Perinatal Loss Group Coordinator at the hospital where I delivered Addison. I wanted help in finding a counselor/therapist/shrink to talk to one-on-one. I got a nice email back with, along with other information, a list of recommended grief therapists. Four of the 5 therapists in my city were listed as "Christian-based counselors" or "Pastoral counselors." That thinned the herd quite a bit. So, yesterday I looked at the website of the last (wo)man standing and thought she looked good. I logged into my husband's company's benefits site and determined she is in-network in case I liked her and wanted to see her regularly; called the EAP referral line and got my 6-visit authorization emailed to me; called the therapist and left a detailed voicemail message for her. This is why it's good I'm unemployed right now, because just doing that was a mentally exhausting task to complete. I've lost 98% of my ability to concentrate on simple projects. Anyway, I was very proud that I got it done.

Yesterday I received a call from said therapist who opened with "So, did you find someone yet?" I responded with, "I was hoping I found you!" She chuckled, then started in immediately with how she thought I should see someone who could deal with this type of "big stuff" [having a dead baby]. She said maybe I should contact Compassionate Friends for a name of someone, and I mentioned that I got her name in the first place from the hospital's perinatal loss provider referral sheet. I spoke with her for a few minutes, trying to convince her that we should meet and then make that decision. She said, "You sound really good." I hate when people tell me that, but I continued on anyway, and told her that I know grief can't be handled in a vacuum--I'm sure my other unresolved issues (daddy issues, control issues, anger issues, general craziness) would come up as well, and I hoped she could help me with all parts of my life. I just didn't want this to be the straw that broke the camel's back. I want to be as mentally and emotionally healthy as possible for myself and my family (that's why I'm on Zoloft). At the end I threw in that by the way I don't believe in God, so a Christian-based counselor wouldn't be best for me. That's when she told me that she definitely wouldn't be a good fit for me because she knows what gives her peace and happiness is God, so if she couldn't recommend that to me and always felt she was holding back, she wouldn't be able to help me. I thanked her for her candor and hung up. And then I wanted to cry. It's kind of like when I went for my OB follow-up appointment and everything seemed very reasonable at the moment, but 10 seconds later I turn around and ask myself What The Fuck Was That?

Later in the day I called the Perinatal Loss Group Coordinator (who is also an RN) and told her that I needed some help in finding a counselor. I briefly started to tell her about my conversation with the therapist and she was totally horrified. And I felt so happy about that, and thanked her profusely. Even before losing my daughter, I've always joked about me "being crazy." But now I feel like I'm crazy X 100 and am constantly wondering if my thoughts and feelings are totally off-base. Sadly, it doesn't seem like a joke anymore. Anyway, she took that provider off the list and gave me some recommendations based on positive feedback from other dead baby moms she has worked with. And then she spent almost 2 hours on the phone with me, listening to my experience in the hospital, asking specific questions, and telling me how sorry she was. She made me feel "normal" in everything I was feeling, and it was great. I guess that's why I'm seeking therapy right now--because it's exhausting wondering if you're nuts all the time. I still need to start from scratch and find a therapist who I mesh with, who "gets" me--oh yeah--and one who is in-network for our insurance and on the EAP list. I'm tired just thinking of all the calls I need to make.

On a totally different note, I'm trying to obtain a copy of Addison's birth and death certificates. Seems easy enough. I schlepped down to the Vital Records Office yesterday, completed the forms, went back out to an ATM because they only accept cash, paid the $20 and eventually went home with certified copies of her birth and death certificates. Only to have my husband notice that evening that the date of death on her death certificate was wrong. It had birth and death both listed as 10/28/09, but her death was actually 11/4/09. So this morning I called to see what could be done to fix this, and they told me to go back to the office or mail in a letter outlining the changes. So, I went back down to the office, completed the amendment form, and was told that someone from the Amendment Office would call me later. And they did. To tell me that they need "proof" that the date of death was 11/4/09. When I turned in the amendment form today, I also included a copy of the original death certificate request form that was completed by the funeral home director and signed off on by the medical examiner for the hospice. And I asked, "Isn't the death certificate created based on the information in that form that you have in your hand right there?" Hmm...yes, it is, was the response. But apparently they need the original. And who in the hell knows where that is. In another government office in the city, I'm sure. I am guessing they will sort this all out eventually and I will receive a copy of her death certificate in the mail at a later date. More on why I need a copy of her death certificate at a later date.

I guess I just feel like all these complications add insult to the original injury of losing her. When we ordered Addison's urn, the company apprently went out of business between the time we ordered it, and the time the order was processed. We did finally get our money back, ordered the urn from another company and received it, but the whole thing was a total pain in the ass. I feel like getting anything done in regards to Addison requires jumping through these ridiculous hoops. It's just annoying. Or maybe I'm just bothered because the truly annoying thing is that she died.


  1. I'm so sorry you're having these complications. They really do add insult to injury.

    Your feelings aren't crazy at all - I could have written half your posts. That's how familiar they sound to me. I'm in a private forum with other Mums who've lost babies and they are constantly reassuring me my feelings are normal.

    I'm in Australia but we have some organisations (Sids and Kids and SANDS) that exist to research infant death and provide support to bereaved parents. They offer free counselling to anyone who's lost a baby. Can you find something similar there?

    When we bought Matilda home, her urn cracked around the top so we had to ring repeatedly to find out when we could go and get a new one. It did seem like insult to injury at the time but it was in the early days when it was all so raw that I don't think it made me feel worse at the time.

    Did you ever find any of the answers you wanted from your ob?

    Maddie x

  2. You are SO not crazy. I have had nearly every thought and feeling you have. As for your would be therapist, I'm pretty horrified myself that all you have been able to find are Christian based counsellors and to have that woman reject you on the basis that you don't believe in God is crap. We were lucky enough to find a wonderful therapist after our son died, unfortunately not covered by insurance but well worth the thousand dollars we spent on sessions. It is so important to have your feelings validated and to realize that you are not crazy despite being on medication (I'm on Effexor) and having thoughts that don't seem rational. Of course there is really nothing rational about dealing with baby loss. Babies are not supposed to die in this day and age. Most people just don't get the depth of pain you are in and therefore cannot possibly understand why you are thinking and feeling the things you are at this moment in your life. I did try the Compassionate Friends Society but coming from a smaller city, there was only one monthly meeting and we were the only ones there three months in a row besides the bitter man running the meetings. He told us right off the bat that we could expect to lose our marriage. I was put right off it because of that. I need more support than once a month for sure. Keep looking, there is support out there. Sending you hugs and the wish for a better year.

  3. Hi Rebecca. I followed you over from glow in the woods. Firstly I wanted to say that Addison is beautiful. I'm so glad you have the picture there.

    I am really shocked by that therapist. I'm glad you were able to tell the hospital that she'd basically rejected you because you don't believe in God - I am so shocked! Telling you to find your peace and happiness in God is so not what a counsellor is there to do. I hope you can find someone that works for you soon. I'm starting to think that counselling would be a good idea for me too, although I wasn't keen at first.

    It's not fair that she died. Anything else going wrong on top of that shouldn't happen. It just shouldn't. If you lose your baby you should be somehow insured against the day to day crap of life.

  4. Maddie, thanks for asking. Some of those questions are just angry venting. And I'm pretty sure going back to my OB would be an exercise in futility. But as far as getting testing done to rule out some possible issues with me, I did decide to try to see my perinatologist who saw me about 4 times during my pregnancy (advanced maternal age, you know). I called the office on Wednesday but haven't heard back. I'm sure I'll post about that visit once it happens.

  5. Margaret, I am totally with you that a once-a-month meeting isn't enough. My project for next week is to find a suitable therapist.

  6. We went back to see Matilda's neonatalogist afterwards. We didn't find out anything we didn't already know or suspect but it was useful to us to get things straight in our mind. She also told us that she'd been discussing Matilda's case with the other neonatalogists (she had a rare syndrome - Beckwith Weidemann). It's hard to explain but to hear that her dying was cause for discussion with the other doctors, made us feel better somehow. I'm not really sure why.