Thursday, September 22, 2011

Interview with Liz Purvis

Two weeks ago, Liz Purvis shared her heartbreaking story about the birth of her son, Ben (Tater).  She allowed me to ask her questions about her birth.  My hope is that this mom's message will touch your hearts and make you think.  If you are touched by her story in any way, please leave a comment for her below.  I know it would mean a lot to her to read that their family's suffering is not in vain, and she is helping others by sharing her story.

BWB:  Why is it so important to you to share your story and is it emotionally difficult to do so?
Liz:  It is important because I had no idea that I was pregnant with a son who had hemophilia. I feel like everything went wrong. I want to share my story with other moms who are in the same situation.  Hopefully, they will take away something from this and be prepared. It is very emotional. For 6 days I tried to bring him into the world safely, and it didn't happen.  It's hard to see all the beautiful and safe births, and ours went so wrong.

BWB:  Do you know why your water broke at 34 weeks?
Liz:  To this day, I have no idea. I remember telling some friends and the doctor that my belly had dropped.  I remember feeling the urge to clean the night before. My husband had literally just walked in the door from being out in the field for a week. I was starting a load of clothes, and it just happened.

3 months pregnant

BWB:  How was your nutrition and hydration during your pregnancy?
Liz:  Great. I only gained 20 pounds (though, I only made it 34 weeks! lol) I ate well, drank plenty, and took my vitamins.

BWB:  Do you think the progress of your labor was hindered in any way due to the care you recieved at the hospital?
Liz:  Yes.  I was on my back the entire time.  I wasn't allowed to eat.  I had fluids going in at 200 cc an hour.  I was forced to be in the bed all the time and use the bed pan.  I would get up and use the restroom when the nurses left because it seemed like I had to go every 15 minutes.   I wasn't allowed to walk.  I was allowed to be up for one hour a day when I would play cards with my husband.  I was very uncomfortable with different people in my room all the time.  I was very uncomfortable.  We had no clue what was going on.  We were away from home.  I was always taught (in school) that the baby needs to come out within 24-72 hours after water breaking.

BWB:  "failure to descend" - By any chance, were you on your back?
Liz:  Yes I was. I also had cervical cancer and had lots of biopsies done on my cervix and cancer removed.  So, I never thought I'd be able to delivery naturally with all the scar tissue.  No one listened.  I saw a different male OBGYN every visit, and I was transferred to a different hospital.

BWB:  What drugs were involved in your delivery?
Liz:  They hung pitocin after the contractions starting coming on their own. I was very upset with that. I didn't want that stuff at all. I said, "I waited for 6 days!  Now you can wait!", but they hung it anyway.  It was the worst thing ever.  I had an epidural that the doctor turned off while I was trying to push.  He said if I could feel the contractions maybe I could push him out.  I was also getting iv pain meds: Stadol, I think.

BWB:  Do you believe the Pitocin made your contractions too severe for Tater?
Liz:  I know it made it very hard on me.  So, I imagine they were too severe for him.

BWB:  Did the Pitocin make the contractions so severe that it made the epidural essential for you to endure the pain?
Liz:  Yes ma'am. The last thing I wanted was someone messing with my spinal fluid and putting a needle in my spine. 

BWB:  What is your opinion of them using an internal monitor on Tater?
Liz:  I was ok with the first one.  Tater kept moving around.  So, the external monitors couldn't read. 
*Liz went on to say that she was not ok with the second set that was put on Tater.  It made her very uncomfortable as a mom, and she questioned the medical staff about it being too much for him.

BWB:  How was your strength level when you were induced?
Liz:  I was tired, and recieving so much iv fluid that I was up and down every 15 minutes.  I couldn't sleep because of all the monitors on my belly.  I hadn't had a meal.  I was finally upped to a liquid diet after 2 days.

BWB:  Had you been able to keep up your strength by eating and drinking for the 6 days you were in the hospital?
Liz:  No ma'am.

BWB: How long were you contracting before the c-section?
Liz: about 9 hours

BWB:  How do you feel things were handled after the cesarean?
Liz:  Horribly.  My stomach was growing, not going down.  I had horrible back spasms. My legs were swollen my ankles and feet were so swollen that I couldn't even wear a house shoe.  The pain was horrible.  They wouldn't tell me what was going on.  I had to climb from the surgery bed to my own bed.  They wouldn't even let Bubba help me transfer beds.  I wasn't allowed food or water.  I went to the ER after being discharged for 2 days.  They rushed me back.  I had high blood pressure.  I was so swollen.  They did ultrasounds of my thigh and leg because they thought it was a blood clot.  They stuck me over 6 times to try and get blood.  The amount of blood I had left was too low and they wanted to transfuse me.  When I was admitted back, they gave me iron pills and 3 doses of blood pressure meds, and discharged me again.

BWB: What caused his intercranial hemorrhage?
Liz: We really don't know if it was from all the trauma or if it was spontaneous.

BWB:  What have you learned from this experience?
Liz:  To not have another baby. I don't know how all these people were involved and let things go so wrong.

BWB:  What is your advice to pregnant women who are reading your story?
Liz:  Speak up! If you're not comfortable, talk with the staff and get comfortable.  Don't do anything you don't want to do.  Watch for signs of a brain bleed.

BWB:  What would you like others in the hemophilia community to learn from your story?
Liz:  My story is not normal.  Most people don't go through all of this.  Don't be scared.  Work with your hematologist.  Let your family and friends support you.  Make sure everything is ready just in case.

BWB:  As a nurse, how do you think the medical staff should've communicated with you during and after Tater's birth?
Liz:  They could have done much better.  The doctor was always too busy to talk with me.  The nurses just did what they were told.  The NICU staff was amazing.

Liz's story has made a huge impression on my life.  I am grateful to have had the honor of meeting her online and speaking to her over the phone.  I believe Liz's birth was stolen from her.  She had plans of a gentle birth.  She took care of herself during her pregnancy, and she and her husband were looking forward to having a large family.  For whatever reason, her water broke at 34 weeks.  Her birth was horribly mismanaged, and resulted in lifelong injuries for her sweet little boy.  Liz cares for Tater everyday with her whole heart.  She and Bubba want the very best for him.  Please comment below for Liz.  She will receive anything helpful and encouraging you can share. 


  1. Love you Liz! You are an amazing mommy and friend. xoxoxoxoxo

  2. Thanks for sharing Liz, and thanks to you and Tater for making my life more enjoyable. Love you both to bits! Oh, and Bubba, I think you're pretty special too!

  3. Liz, I think you are one, very curagious person. There's no way I would be able to make it through the things you have. Thank you for sharing your story. You are truly a blessing for your little boy. He is very blessed to have someone to love him unconditionaly, and to watch out and protect him. You're awesome!

  4. Thank you so much for opening up to the world with your story. You have such a beautiful family, but I am so sorry you had to get it this way. I can't imagine the hurt you experienced throughout your birth.

  5. This story sounds a lot like my first birth with my hemophiliac son. I was in labor for 29 hours, pushed for an hour and a half, but thankfully didn't end in emergency cesection. I was swollen for days, I wore size 10 shoes, when normally a 7, it was crazy. I also had a great pregnancy and no idea he was going to have hemophilia, it all happens so fast, and I had no idea why he was bleeding in his head, it was so scary :( I was thankfulthough for a great team at the hospital, they helped me somewhat understand and took great care of us, especially since my husband had to leave for training the following day after birth for 6 months.
    You are a brave and amazing mama. You went through so much and stayed strong. Such an inspiration!!!
    Oh! With my second son, we scheduled a csection, much easier!!! :)

  6. It's sad to read that you don't want to have more children because obviously you are a great, loving mother. The world needs more people like you! God bless you and your family!

  7. You are a strong mommy! So glad to hear your story and it looks like he is doing well. We experienced a similar story- bad labor and delivery that resulted in a severe and massive brain bleed in my son who has severe a with an inhibitor. My little one also has blue glasses! Hope you and your family are doing well!


Thank you for commenting. I love to hear from BWB readers!