Monday, February 25, 2008

Be Happy! It's a 7lb, 3oz. Baby Girl!

I received this email from a new baby's grandma about week ago. It's the story of millions of American women who don't know whether they should grieve over their surgical birth, or just move on and "be happy" that they have a healthy baby.
After all, what more could they ask for? Their doctor all but promised them a healthy baby.
S/he didn't promise how that baby would arrive, except that it would be in the safest way possible, the best that 21rst century medicine can deliver.

"Noelle" was surgically delivered before noon today
7 lb 3oz.
They say she has a full head of long dark hair and that she is pink and alert when awake, nursing at least every 3 hours.
They sent a picture of her to my cell phone. The picture of Noelle is now my cell wallpaper.

The interventions and subsequent "fetal distress" were horrific. I cried all day long from anxiety over what they did to "Sarah" [daughter in law] and my granddaughter. They tied her, they trussed her, they starved her, they drugged her, they exhausted her and they terrified her.
After that torture, "fetal distress" was inevitable. (Eeek! fetal heart tones dropped to 127!!)
.... It was all conveniently resolved with major abdominal surgery.

In spite of the interventions, Noelle was vigorous upon extraction. Oops, no cord wraps or fetal depression after all, hmmm.... But they got the kid conveniently "delivered" during daylight hours and within the 24 hour deadline from spontaneous rupture of membranes (SROM). Another "good outcome" for their stats.

A good outcome on paper. But was it good for mother and baby?
Did the treatment they received increase their chances of safety, of life, of successful breastfeeding,
of bonding, of happy mothering?

They had a one in three chance of C-section just by choosing hospital birth in the United States.
But 1 to 3 is 100% if you happen to be the ones sectioned.
It's not like my daughter-in-law was only 33% sectioned.

I am grateful that Noelle seems to have weathered the storms of intervention fairly well. But who knows the long term effects? Mommy, on the other hand, is now not only a new mother, but a post operative patient.

There is a place for emergency C-sections. But in this case, the emergency was created by the very system my loved ones blindly trusted to provide "safety".
I was painfully aware of the peril they were entering with their choice of care and helpless to avert the impending tragedy.
I did what I could to provide accurate information and techniques for dealing with a system that is more about avoiding medical liability than supporting the normal process of birth. (And I had prayed that they would "luck out" and end up being blissfully ignorant of the dangers they had avoided.)

I am so angry at the successful "sale" of "services" with which my loved ones got a total "bait and switch".
The reality of grandmotherhood has not really set in. I SO want to be happy.
And I am grateful for the precious child.
But I am heartbroken by the inhumane way she and her mother were treated at such a crucial time in their lives.
Thankfully, Sarah planned to breastfeed which seems to be going fine.

It's tomorrow now. Maybe I have cried myself out and I can get some sleep now.

1 comment:

CfM Molly said...

What is so sad about reading this post is knowing how very, very common this experience is for women today. I feel like crying :(