|Marley says a brief hello to Mummy before going to NICU|
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.
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...