Monthly Archives: May 2014

Home birth and then a 5 day hospital stay

We arrived at Sacred Heart just to have Baby’s lung X-rayed per Head Midwife (CNM) telephone consult.  She was in New York and as we wished, did not want to take any chances.  When we got there of course the judgment flags flew, “You had your baby at home?  Is this your first?  My you are amazing (I was up and walking!  Amazing?  hmmm.).  Then his blood sugar wouldn’t stabilize and (insert sarcasm) I don’t suppose it had anything to do with the fact that THEY GIVE THEM SUGAR WATER before taking blood!  I declined sugar water until they pressured me so badly that I caved.  If you gave a diabetic sugar water what would they do 30 minutes later?  Uh huh…crash.  Duh, people.  (Confidence in medical professionals dropping). 

His chest Xray was fine, but they were concerned about the blood sugar.  By this time he was lethargic.  My milk wasn’t in, they hadn’t allowed him to nurse, either!  He had had NOTHING to eat.  So, they admitted him and when they did Intake #1 it went something like this:  “When was he born?  Where?  AT HOME?”  They might as well have stopped right there because they had all kinds of judgments in their heads.  They told us they thought it was an infection.  Maddox was born in the amniotic sac.  Delivered in the amniotic sac.  Special.  That freaked them out.  It freaked them out he was born in water.  Oh, and did I mention at home?  Good Lord, this baby was born at home (no one knew what to do!).  Later one smirky doc came in and said they thought he had an infection (probably since he’d been born at home, right?  Well, no one said that…)  “E. coli, Listeriosis, … No nursing, no formula.”  Listeriosis?  I wasn’t about to tell them I drink raw milk!  So they put him on dextrose 10.  SUGAR.  And they told us they should do a spinal tap and the risks were small (no one ever voiced “paralysis”, but they should have!).  Anyway, by this time we were tired, a little freaked and gave up.  I did not want to have antibiotic drops in his eyes, but they said he had “goobers” so they put them in (with my exhausted consent).  It was just plugged tear ducts, btw.  Everything I wanted to avoid by having a home birth was now happening before my eyes by people who were just taking a stab in the dark at what they THOUGHT might be the reason my baby’s blood sugar wasn’t stabilizing.  NEVER MIND he wasn’t being FED.  When they took him away to give him the spinal tap and catheterize him to get a urine culture they assured me that giving them sugar was like giving them crack, that it would release a bunch of endorphins and he would cope better with the pain.  I was too tired to fight at that point.  If I even tried to explain that sugar is crack, highly toxic and not doing the type of thing they hoped, it would have been a lost cause.  So, I told them to do what they needed…and my baby got MORE sugar.  Probably compounding his issue.  Still doc wouldn’t let me give him even formula!

I have PCOS.  PCOS people are supposed to live like diabetics.  That means you eat a whole lot of fat and protein and no sugar because it is a killer on your blood sugar (and other hormones that control stuff) and my baby is freakin’ hooked to Dextrose 10 and everyone is waddling around shaking their head not understanding why the little guy is not stabilizing.  Duh.

The next day the hopitalist, Dr. Miller-an EXCELLENT doctor comes in.  She point blank tells everyone that this baby was home birthed, the cord was probably allowed to pulse out (explaining his “sticky” blood and more red blood cells in the work up) and that he needed to eat and have skin to skin contact with mama.  She treated me like a real person.  How kind.  (She also got a nice thank you note from me when this was all over).

For days later we met with speech therapists, occupational therapists, doctors, nurses, interns, medical students and no one knew why he wasn’t stabilizing.  Jeff was traveling up during the day and going home to be with the boys at night.  Finally someone in their ultimate wisdom consulted with the NICU unit and they said to wean him off  the Dex 10 gradually.  I was nursing but my milk wasn’t in (can you say stress?) and supplementing, he was spitting up like crazy (a few weeks later I figured out this was candida and gave him an infant probiotic that solved that issue, but he had to be on it for 10 months!).  They pumped him full of antibiotics and everything was “dead” in his gut!  Who wouldn’t need probiotics?!  We came home Friday (we were admitted Monday night).  So much for “staying in bed” for a week and bonding with my baby.  I had all kinds of adrenaline going through me.  I never even really felt like I had a baby until they told me we could go home…then it hit me like a ton of bricks! 

I know medical professionals are limited by what they are taught in their training.  (I also know Naturopaths are limited.  If I broke my arm I would go to the hospital, but to treat PCOS, I go to a Naturopath.  I’ve also learned to consult my Naturopath first, then my MD.)  Having been in that field I know what/how they are taught, to some degree.  I also know that the best nurses and docs are the ones who have LIFE experience, not book experience.  Dr. Miller had just had a baby herself 14 months ago and was nursing her still.  While she may not have agreed with my decision to home birth, she understood the perks and what all it entailed and said this had nothing to do with birthing at home!  (and she never judged me or put me down for making my own decision, either) Our other nurse who had been a waitress finally listened when I told her little guy’s IV was leaking and once that was replaced he made leaps and bounds.  An older nurse who had her own kids finally admitted that no one knows what “normal babies” (that’s what they called everyone else) did when they nursed (his O2 Sat kept dropping and finally they decided that was normal).  Everyone else just spouted off information by rote.  In particular one beautiful, soft spoken, kind medical student was asked what meconium was (she didn’t know) and then was asked something else and she spouted off a memorized definition.

Once in touch with our delivering midwife she was astounded that they took him off nursing and then wondered why his blood sugar was out of whack.  She also said we could have given him 2mL of formula every couple hours and the blood sugar would have stabilized. 

And did I tell you that the midwife said I was supposed to have only 2 clots (she called them freebies) while I was there and if I had any bigger than a half dollar (and more than two) I was supposed to go get checked out.  The nice male night nurse escorted me to the OB department and they basically didn’t want anything to do with me.  The nurse checked me out and said my uterus was high and I knew better because I could feel it low!  Anyway, she said I should go to the ER if I had problems and proceeded to tell me how midwives are crap and have no training.  Had I been thinking straight I would have told her my delivering midwife had more experience on the books than she did and the consulting midwife had the education of a doctor, but I didn’t.  What would it have solved? 

So you can see how I have lost a whole. bunch. of faith. in Western Medicine.  Western Medicine couldn’t give me success with infertility treatments.  They couldn’t get me children.  They couldn’t treat my PCOS with anything other than birth control.  They said diet wasn’t important.  They said soy was ok to eat.  They scoffed at gluten intolerances and increasing protein and fat.  They think vaccines and ultrasounds are 100% safe.  They thought my baby had an infection because he was born at home.  They said he didn’t need to eat, but then couldn’t figure out why his blood sugar wouldn’t regulate.  I mean, shouldn’t any intelligent human being be able to figure this out?  But I have no medical degree.  I’m just a mom.  A very passionate mom.  I believe God has arranged my motherhood in his perfect time.  I believe he has called men and women to be doctors and nurses (and to also use their brains) and I believe he called my Naturopath to my area and led me through questioning to Naturopathic care, a low-glycemic, whole food, real food diet, dumping chemicals from our life and accepting a more “whole” way of living. 

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Home what?

So we home school, which is becoming more accepted and mainstream as more people realize the benefits…but home birth?? Goodness, this was a bit foreign to me as well a few years back. Our first child is adopted, our second was born in the hospital. All natural and with a doula, but still in the hospital. With #3 I felt confident I could improve upon the experience. We still had a doula who had had some experience and living out in the toolies, we were a long ways from anything. I didn’t tell too many people because 1) it’s not anyone’s business, really and 2) I didn’t want to hear anyone’s (unwanted) opinions.

I did my research, you’d better believe that! I’ve worked long and hard to get these kids I wasn’t going to do something stupid just because it might be popular in the “crunchy” world or because it sounded cool/fun/empowering, etc. Did you know that home birth is actually safer in most cases than a hospital birth? And a year later, thinking on the differences in my experiences, I can see how that could be! I’m not sure it is always in the best interests to have a baby in a place where sick people congregate. Think about that. I read books, I interviewed midwives (four to be exact…or was it 5?). I talked to friends who had home birthed. I read about people who had a negative outcome and would do it again. I read about people who had a negative outcome and wouldn’t do it again. I watched documentaries. I became familiar with Ina May Gaskin and “The Farm”. I talked it out with my husband (who, by the way, hates hospitals). We hired a lovely Christian doula who had also had some midwife experience (just in case the midwife we chose didn’t make it in time). Then we hired a midwife who had over 1000 births under her belt. I can almost assuredly say my MD doesn’t have that many births under his belt, maybe 20% of that.

I continued care with my MD and also saw my midwife. She was 90 miles away so we wanted to have continuity of care for both providers should she not make it and/or should I change my mind or need to be transported to the hospital.

In the end, my labor started at 4:30 (ish)pm on Sunday, May 19, 2013. I called my doula at 5:30 and the midwife at 6pm. I labored at home on the couch and as soon as my husband was done installing the front light (sarcasm, but yes he was doing this for real) and had the birthing pool slightly filled (things were happening fast!) I jumped in. Our doula arrived at 7:30pm. I delivered and caught my own baby in water at 7:50pm and six minutes later the midwife arrived.

Our baby had to spend some time at Sacred Heart Pediatric Unit which I will write about another time, but he is fine and I would home birth again in a heart beat. If that is not an option, they’d better leave me in a dark corner in the hospital room and not touch me or talk to me. 🙂 I know I can do it by myself now and interruptions are annoying. LOL

Livin’ the dream

A few Sundays back we were gathered around the table and the boys were talking about which one of them was going to be the farmer who lived with Maddox (the baby). Basically, they were fighting over the baby…who was going to live with Maddox. So sweet, right? They were going to be farmers and Mason was going to live on this farm with Maddox and have two cows and I was going to milk his cows for him. (I always tell him when he gets his farm, I’m going to come work on it with him.) Creighton (age 2) was telling us how he was going to live on a farm with Mommy (probably only since Mason won’t let him live with him because he now wants the baby to live with him).

I took the liberty to explain that “once upon a time” I wanted to be a veterinarian and then I got greedy so I pursued (human) medicine. After that I got lazy (or fell in love?) and decided to be a nurse instead. Near the end of nursing school I found a passion with children, so I decided to teach. But all I ever wanted was to “be” a mom and after an excruciating 10 year wait I became one. Now, I’m livin’ my dream. I told them this. I’m living my dream of being a wife, a mom and “a farmer” (remember, I say that loosely, because we are very s.m.a.l.l. hobby farmers, but Mason swears we’re farmers because we have a cow and carry hay!). And technically, if we provide nourishing products to others than ourselves, that makes me a farmer….ah, so I embrace the label (while REAL farmers scoff, right?).

Anyway…later in the day Hubby applauds me and says he’s happy I am doing what I’ve always wanted…kids and farm and all. Ahh, success! Knowing your spouse is proud of your and happy for you is way up high on the emotional “want” list, is it not? Knowing that he’s ok that a (sometimes significant?) part of his paycheck is going to feed more animals (hey, it’s not nails, hair or new cars, right?) lessens the apprehension I sometimes feel when I bring another this or that home for this or that animal. In the end though, life is too short to do something you hate. My Daddy always preached that to us and it’s true.