10 September 2009

He's going to struggle, he's going to struggle ... oh look he's struggling.

Caesarean schmaesarean. Having given birth both naturally and by caesarean section, I can attest to the fact that they are both as bad as each other, if not worse.

But I'd still birth naturally if given the choice. It made me feel so powerful.

Ahem. Now:

I've had something on my mind about the birth of Joseph. Something that's been nagging at me in such a small way that it hardly matters. In fact I wasn't going to blog it except that Swift Jan blogged about her caesarean and how she felt a little bit cheated. I wondered if I should even mention this little frustration or not. Maybe I will. If you think I'm being silly even wasting time thinking about this, feel free to flame me in the comments.

A pentecostal Christian would call it "speaking [something] into being." Someone else might call it "the power of positive/negative thinking." Personally, I would just say it's frustrating when it seems that outcomes have been influenced by someone else's personal opinion.

Nat was born at 37 weeks. Nobody expected him to have any prematurity problems at 37 weeks. They said that 37 weeks is 'full-term' and on he came. He was tiny: 5lb 1oz or 2290g. But there was never any question that he would have respiratory or any other difficulties, and he came, he grew and he thrived.

The doctors who attended me during the birth of Joseph were different. They were so concerned about the potential for respiratory distress that they wanted me to have the caesarean later - at what they thought was 38 weeks. I still wasn't convinced of their amended date, making 38 weeks a possible 40 weeks. And my babies usually come early and fast - a risk I couldn't possibly take with Joseph.

They were worried about his lung development but I was quite firm about my desire for him to be born at 37 weeks, the same as Happy Healthy Nat. Every maternal instinct I had told me not to leave it the extra week.

I'll never know what would have happened in that extra week if I'd given in. Possibly nothing. Probably nothing. But also the cord had a velamentous insertion, meaning that each day Joseph was inside me he could easily have bled to death. Nobody knew that at that stage. Joseph was in danger and all we knew was that this crazy mother was adamant that the baby needed to be born at 37, not 38 weeks.

So why were they so worried about Joseph's lung development at 37 weeks?

I'd had two steroid injections to mature Joe's lungs - something I was never offered with Nat, because nobody was worried. On the ultrasound, Nat was a small baby. Approximately the 21st percentile. On the ultrasound, Joseph was slightly larger than average. Approximately the 58th percentile. Everything pointed to Joseph being even bigger and stronger than Nat was.

However, the possibility of Joseph developing respiratory distress due to my decision to deliver at 37 weeks dogged my mind. Although I trusted my instinct, I still questioned it in the back of my mind.

Joseph was born, and he was larger than Nat. He was strong too. He was breathing well and looking great - even his APGAR scores were higher than Nat's and Anna's who were both found to be normal and healthy.

But no. Everyone was prepared for respiratory distress, and therefore, respiratory distress was declared.

"Can you hear that slight grunt as he breathes?" the midwife said. Joseph was sighing very very very quietly with each breath he took. "That's a sign of respiratory distress," she said. "We'll just take him to the Special Care Nursery just to be sure."

And such are the drugs they give you that you agree with anything. "I don't mind not being with him or feeding him," I replied. "You just take him and look after him."

Totally against what I would have said if I'd had my wits about me. But I was flat on my back with my guts open. I think she would have won in a fight.

I tell you though, my kid was fine.

Mr de Elba followed Joseph to Special Care and sat with him as Joe breathed some oxygen. After one hour, it was decided that the oxygen wasn't actually needed. Joseph and his Daddy returned to the ward much earlier than I who was stuck in recovery, itching to see my son. Itching all over my face actually, for that is what spinal morphine often does.

"You know," Mr de Elba confided to me later, "I don't think he really needed the oxygen. I don't even think he was in respiratory distress. I think they just thought 'better safe than sorry' and decided to cover themselves."

And again, I agreed with their decision. Better safe than sorry. Always.

I guess I'm just thinking of it now because I got a Patient Discharge Summary for Joseph in the mail today. Yeah, he's 7 weeks old, but better late than never. They've sent a copy to my old doctor in my previous town but none to my current doctor. And they've reported that Joseph spent a whole night in Special Care instead of one short hour because of this 'respiratory distress' of which he had no symptoms except a tiny tiny tiny little noise when he breathed.

There's still a part of me that thinks that they believed so strongly that he would have respiratory distress that they saw it where it didn't really exist. I get a little sad that dotting every 'i' and crossing every 't' made me miss out on the first three hours with my son.

I bet that midwife just wanted all the cuddles for herself.

Nevermind. I've got all the cuddles now!

(See? I said it was nothing. Silly me.)


The Accidental Housewife said...

You're not crazy for mentioning it. That's what blogs are for - cheaper than therapy! And besides, I like to read about your thoughts. I think maybe every mother harbours a couple of regrets about their birthing. It's only normal when something so close and personal is pretty much run by a doctor and a couple of midwives you barely know. Not that I'm advocating home birth or anything, I was very glad to have someone with half a clue there when I was lost in my own screamy, gassy world. I just wish their clue had lined up with my clue on a couple of issues, if you know what I mean!

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

That is just the most beautiful picture! Just beautiful!!

I wanted to thank you for the thoughts you shared yesterday/last night ... on the post about the baby on the post card. You truly lifted my spirits. Thank you so much for sharing your medical expertise. It really touched me. Thanks so much.

You have a beautiful family. I wish that I could meet you.

Hippomanic Jen said...

Yes, it makes you wonder doesn't it?

Sassy Britches said...

Wow, one never thinks of it from the patient/mother's perspective. I can totally see where the hospital was coming from in terms of covering themselves and malpractice scares and things. But, I never thought about how covering themselves could actually backfire and cause the patient/mother to feel cheated. This is a whole new realm I've entered into!

Joy said...

I remember my face itching after my first C-section. I thought I would claw my eyes and nose out and off. I told them about it during my 2nd c-section and they must have used something different because I didn't itch so bad.
I didn't have either one of my girls for a couple of hours after they were born. I guess because I was in recovery. I remember being back there all alone and my husband went with the baby. I was a little miffed about being left behind. My dad video taped her thru the window in the nursery getting all checked out. So that was nice to see later.

♥ Joy

Jen said...

Its never nothing when it comes to spend time with your kids or seeing your kids.

As an RN, I have to tell you that sometimes we, health care professionals. see things that aren't there but we will always err on the side of cautions. Because saying it was nothing and then having it be something would be even worse.

It sucks that you missed out on you time with him and for that I am sorry.

Crazy Sister said...

Regarding the "decisions" you have to make after a birth - when a nurse says, "it would be better for the baby if we do this," what can you do? Even if your dearest wish was to keep your baby close, as soon as they make the tiniest suggestion that the baby might need medical attention, any mother worth her salt will say, "Quick, take him."

And then cry about it for months! Ah, motherhood. You did everything right!

Swift Jan said...

See Its not just nothing... missing out on those first moment [for no reason in the end] isn't fair. I think its totally ok for you to feel like that & totally normal... ((hugs)) for you.

We can feel cheated together!

Tracy P. said...

I'm right there with you--my kids weren't on oxygen or in distress, but having them whisked away so I could go recover, well, it didn't particularly help me recover. When I had my second, they took a polaroid photo of her being held up right next to me so I could hold it and look at it. I thought that was sweet, but I still could not wait to get my hands on her! Three hours is an eternity to wait to hold your new baby. Sorry you had to wait so long!

le @ thirdontheright said...

Not crazy just a mum. I had a similar thing with darling boy - it was over night - low blood sugars - it was devestating for me at the time - I finally went balistic and they took me down to see him ... it was just wrong .. but hey we are blessed all safe and sound now and no ongoing worries ... best hugs le

Dee from Downunder said...

I felt cheated too... mine were taken away also, but I dont think the kids remember it, just us!