birth and interventions.

Marley says a brief hello to Mummy before going to NICU
I've been wanting to write about Marley's birth, but its hard to find the right words to do the experience justice. So instead, I want to write about the aftermath, because I feel it has many lessons in the experience, and raises an interesting point on medical intervention.

Marley entered the world fast after about 20 minutes of pushing. I had been given syntocinon earlier "to speed things up" which they think had a lay on effect to him rushing out. His heart rate dropped dangerously low while he was in the birth canal, and within minutes our empty birthing suite was full of people in scrubs, ready to save this little boy.

All of a sudden there was a lot of pressure on to get him out ASAP, and the registrar was getting ready to ventouse him out (a suction cap type instrument so they can pull the baby out), but I somehow found the energy to push him out myself before they could get the equipment ready.
 
Poor wee Marley was bright purple when he entered the world, and as fast he had come he was taken from me to be revived. His first gasp of air wasn't until he was 3 minutes old, and he didn't begin to breath regularly until he was 6 minutes old.

Marley's cord was tightly wrapped around his neck, and in combination with his fast entry to the world put him in a state of shock. The normal process of his lungs expanding didn't happen, so there was more fluid in him than normal, and his blood sugar levels were dangerously low.

He was promptly put into an incubator and taken to intensive care. Tav went with him, and had to hold him down as the inserted tubes down his throat and put in an IV which was a difficult first bonding experience for daddy. He had a big thing on his face for breathing assistance called CPAP.

Obviously I was in no state to get out of bed, let alone go with him to intensive care, so I didn't properly meet Marley until he was a few hours old, and didn't get to properly hold him until he was almost 12 hours old.

When Marley was 24 hours old, he was able to breath on his own, and was given to me in the postnatal ward on the basis that he maintained his blood sugar levels for the following day.

It was a fight initially with the feeding, partially because of the delayed time for mother/baby bonding, partly because of his tongue-tie, and partly because he was still so congested it was hard for him to breathe and feed at the same time. I noticed a dummy in his cot so I assume that NICU were giving him this when I wasn't there too.

We both had to work very hard to get his blood sugar levels up, and nothing was more heartbreaking when the 3rd result came back borderline. We had struggled day and night to feed and settle this traumatised little boy with little result. This meant we had to stay another day and repeat the process again.

Luckily, a lactating consultant cut his tongue-tie, and a midwife was able to help clear some of his congestion with an ingenious idea of using saline to help him sneeze it out. He passed his second lot of testing, and after a brief jaundice scare we were given the all clear to finally go home. Horay!

Thankfully, the experience is over, and Marley is happy healthy little boy now. Being in NICU will forever leave me grateful that Marley arrived full term. He was the biggest baby in there by far and my heart goes out to the parents of those tiny babies. Initially it is a very overwhelming and sad environment to be in, but the reality is they demonstrate an admirable strength and sense of hope which has forever touched my heart.

I will always wonder what would have happened if I hadn't been given syntocinon - could he have avoided needing intensive care altogether?

I'm not writing about this experience because I want sympathy, but so we can understand more about birth and the follow on effects. The more I come to learn about birth, the more I believe that one medical intervention has a snowball effect for more interventions.

I'm so glad I found the strength to push him out before the ventouse (another intervention) was ready, that would have only added to his stress. If I'd chosen to have an epidural (another intervention) or other kinds of pain relief, I probably wouldn't have had the strength to do that on my own.

I question the necessity of being given the syntocinon - why is it medically necessary to speed things up?? I had progressed to 8cm naturally at home, and would have happily gone back home for the last 2cm had they not decided to keep me there. However, 3 hours later I was still 8cm so they decided it needed to be speed up, and I trusted them that this was the best decision for me.

In retrospect, my guess is this had more to do with maintaining turn over in the delivery suites to make room for more women. What do you think? I would be interested to hear your opinions and experiences on interventions too...

Sylvie xx

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is a time thing Sylv. Delivery Suites in big hospitals like that. You are in, have your baby and out two hours later. You totally could have done it yourself at home in your own time! You did a whole 8cm at home what's another 2cm?! Baby's are crazy little things. They can go through a lot but they pick themselves up again much quicker than what an adult would. It makes it very rewarding for someone like me who does see it fairly often. Baby's are wonderful little things and they are fighters. Marley is a fighter and a cute one at that. Good on you for pushing him out, show those doctors how its done! And your birth story is great to read. Thanks for sharing it.

sweetpea.sylvie said...

Thanks hun, maybe go for the home birth next time??! :) xx

Anonymous said...

Hi Sylvie. I think you're right about the interventions having a snowball effect; modern obstetric practice being what it is, unless you're lucky most of the time interventions seem to lead to a crash landing, so to speak (some more drastic than others). I just gave birth last month to a wonderful baby boy, and nothing went the way I had planned for his birth. It's a complicated story, with interventions being introduced eventually, which ultimately led to a c-section (which I'm not wholly sure was/would have been necessary, had things been done differently earlier on in labor). So much for a natural birth experience(!) Next time I'm definitely going for a VBAC, maybe even a homebirth one after I research it more, since I'd originally wanted a homebirth!

Sylvia Holman said...

Thank you for your comment I really appreciate it. Good on you for pushing for a VBAC next time. Homebirthing would be an amazing experience too, I so admire women that do it! At least our boys are healthy now though right :)

Monica said...

I'm so happy that you have a beautiful healthy baby - and it is hard to be in the hands of an intervention based hospital, and not wonder what caused what during the birthing process. With my first child I made my drug free choices very clear and I was met with extreme resistance. I ended up gettting an epidural and looking back I had a hard time not having the sort of birth that I wanted. My second was drug free and empowering..and again in a hospital. Thanks for sharing your story by the way. It is indeed an important one to document. I'm now following you via the blog hop by the way and would love for you to check me out too!

Cassandras Corner said...

Hi! I'm a new follower via the Naptime Review. This is such a great story. It's always so interesting to hear about other women's experiences.

Brooke Arellano said...

Hi there! I totally feel for you, there were complications with my daughter's birth and she spent 2 weeks in the NICU. Stopping by from the Mom's Monday Mingle blog hop and am now your newest follower:) Hope you can come check out Crazy Mama Drama !
http://crazy-mama-drama.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Crazy-Mama-Drama/259491484156846

Kristina said...

Participating in GFC Blog Hop for the first time! I'm your newest follower. :)

Kristina
http://www.yomichaelmichael.com

Cassie {two-in-diapers.blogspot.com} said...

Wow, what an intense story! I've never been able to write mine out because, like you said, it's so overwhelming to try to write out all the details! That looks awesome, Susan! I'll definitely have to check it out! I found you via the Mom's Monday Mingle and am happy to be your newest follower! I'd love a follow back at www.two-in-diapers.blogspot.com when you get the chance. I'm also giving away a super cute Thirty-One bag that I did an organizational project with right now and I'd love for you to enter! :)

Oh - one more thing. I host the Mommy-Brain Mixer blog hop on Thursdays, and this post would be perfect! I'd love for you to link up!

Rachel Shuchat said...

I'm your newest follower ;) and I love your birth story. I\ve written out my pregnancy story in super super short, (rachelshuchat.blogspot.ca/2012/05/hg-awareness-day.html) and have written my birth story too, but it just never seems adequate...
check out my blog: Makeup by Rachel

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, thank you for sharing this story. I'm newly pregnant and that certainly gives me something to think about. I'm not keen on medical interventions myself, like you say, it's not always about best patient care but can be about just getting people through.

Jacqui

Sylvia Holman said...

Hey Jacqui
Glad I could be of some help, I wish I knew more about this issue when I was pregnant. I think I would have been more assertive at the time (which is hard to do while in labour lol). I think next time I will get a midwife with more holistic views. Good luck for your pregnancy! x

Beatriz López Lumbreras said...

I think my mum went drug free with me and my brother...and I'm determined to go drug-free if ever I'm given the gift of becoming mummy =)
(I think both my aunts gave birth drug free too...)

dailylivingingeneva.blogspot.com

Thia Tee said...

Oh Wow.. what a story! I am so glad he was okay. Such a beautiful boy too! Congratulations :D and I found you through I am Pisces's blog! This Followers to Friends thing is great! :)

xoxo
Thia

mrsbonnbonn.com said...

that is so scary! I have a post about my birthing experience that lead to a csection, and I wanted a vbac, which did not happen. I know for sure I could have pushed the second baby out...Now with this pregnancy I have no choice. 3 c sections:( I'm so glad your son is ok!

Rachel @ lala Lists said...

Thanks so much for linking up with us for Wonderful Wednesday! Have a great week and hope to see you next time :)

Rachel (co-host)

Toni Anne Berman said...

Wow! What a crazy story! So glad he is happy and healthy now! :)

Followers to Friends Blog Hop!! :)
Following you through GFC: Toni Anne Berman
http://nailpolishinmyeyes.blogspot.com
I hope you'll follow back! :)

toxycat said...

Aw bless you...what a story.....both of my pregnancies didnt go well either....in fact on my second they carted me out of hospital within 2 days of a csection....which them became infected....it took over 6 months to close up.....agony!!

found you via the followers to friends bloghop and have followed xxx
http://toxylicious.blogspot.com

Sylvia Holman said...

:( oh no I'm sorry to hear that. I can't even imagine what it would be like with a newborn plus toddler plus 6 month long recovery!! You are a strong woman girlfriend!

Sylvia Holman said...

Thanks Toni! Have followed back :)

Sylvia Holman said...

:( Will definitely have a read of your story too! So many women commenting on this post had c-sections, you guys are so amazing women!!!

Sylvia Holman said...

I was the opposite, everyone I know used pain relief, so I never expected that I would make it through the labour without pain relief. So proud of myself for doing so! Although I do think its different for every woman, each to their own, either way is okay

Sylvia Holman said...

Thanks Cassie will do :)

Sylvia Holman said...

2 weeks! :( I couldn't have done that, your wee girl must be so strong!! x

Sylvia Holman said...

Thanks for your comment Monica. It's inspiring to hear you were able to gain that control back over your second birth, hopefully I can do the same when the time comes.

lindahadalittlelamb said...

I completely agree with you about medical intervention being a snowball effect. All you have to do is watch A Baby Story on tv and MOST of the time hospital births (without midwives) end up with complications. The ones with midwives end up being completely natural.
The doctors, nurses and hospitals care more about the bottom line than they do the women and babies born there. That's why they want to speed things up and use whatever means necessary to reach their bottom line.
And look at this diagram to see one of the reasons why medical intervention happens a lot in hospitals too: http://www.dancingforbirth.com/unrestrictedbirth.html

I went the midwife route and chose to give birth in a birthing house instead of a hospital. Everything went perfectly. I am NOT a fan of the medical system's way of birth. It is not natural in any way, shape or form.