mama whose curiosity knows no bounds

Posts tagged ‘C-section’

Really tiny baby

I had to wait for 4 hours before I saw S again.  She was healthy but because of low birth weight, she had to be observed for 4 hours at the nursery.

In my hospital room was a roommate.  She was a 17 year old Latino girl who had an emergency C-section and spoke little English. Her baby boy was LOUD.  Interestingly, the night-shift nurses were all Filipinos.  When I had K in the same hospital, both night and day shifts are mostly white and some Asians, but somehow, the population shifted.  They were so hilarious.  Since they spoke no Spanish, to communicate with my roommate, they tried to make English word into something that sounds like Spanish.  It was not even close to Spanglish.  My belly hurt because of their hilarious but fruitless effort to communicate with the girl. They were much more caring and friendly than day-shift nurses, for whatever reason.  During the four-day stay in the hospital, I befriended with the night shift nurses.

One of the nurses pushed the cot cart and I immediately knew it was my girl. I got up though my belly hurt so much. This was the first time I looked at her carefully.  She was so tiny and so different from K, who was born at 41 weeks at 7 lbs. 6 oz.  She barely had any hair and her skin was scaly and red.  And most noticeably, she had no fat at all around her arms and legs.  I worried a little bit, since I’d never seen that tiny baby.  I held by myself.  She was weightless.  Still, she somehow made eye contact with me and filled me with happiness.

I asked the nurse for permission to breastfeed her.  I wasn’t sure my narcotics and anesthesia will affect my milk.  After the okay from the nurse, I tried.  But she was unable to latch on.  Well, K took a full week to master the art of suckling milk, so I didn’t worry at that time.  The next morning, however, a pediatrician on day-shift warned me that I had to give her a formula to prevent dehydration.  I didn’t want to, but she was so tiny and different from K, so I obeyed and gave a teaspoon or so of formula with a cup.  Lactation consultant was outraged.  “She was not dehydrated at all or at any risk!”  She noticed that my girl showed sign of hunger, so I tried again.  Success! She latched on and start suckling.  Now, just by remembering those moments, my breast starts to feel tender.  There is something special about breastfeeding that affected me a lot.  Some might say, “oxytocin”, and that’s probably it.

She lost a few ounces during the stay, which was pretty normal.  I started to practice walking and the nurse was really tough on training!  I had a horrible gas pain.  I didn’t know it was caused by gas but the nurse gave me a piece of Gas X and poof! The pain was gone.  During Gas X was working, I walked around and around the ward. During that exercise, I could hear the cry of my roommate’s baby.  I could hardly hear my girl’s: “whe, wheoie, hoe”–I’m trying to spell what I hear.  Unless I pay attention, I couldn’t hear her cry even though her cot was right next to me and my roommate’s was several feet away.

I had a normal recovery and left the hospital after 4 days.  I tried to maximize the stay I can because once I come back home, I knew I had to take care of K.  Except that wheelchair took so long to come (I waited well over an hour standing after all the paperwork was finished — they wouldn’t let me discharge without wheelchair — though I had to walk that much during the stay), I was discharged as a normal healthy patient.

I was anxious to know how K react with the baby.



IUGR – a.k.a., small baby and breech

It seems like that despite my more than enough weight gain, my little girl is not growing as much.  The perinatologist started to get concerned around 24 weeks and they ordered an additional ultrasound.

I’m sorry, I can’t forget the name of the ultrasound technician.  Really.  Because her name was “Elizabeth Taylor”!

She was effective and compassionate.  She told me that my baby is small, but other than that she was so confident that there is no abnormality.  I wasn’t so sure about that.

Anyway, since my baby was small at 10th percentile in size, she was labeled, “Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR)”.  The R-word didn’t feel offensive to me at that time, because this was such a technical diagnosis.  Still, she is so tiny so I need to visit the doctor more often than usual and have in-office ultrasound.

Other than being small, she was great.  I was sometimes emotional during that time because K was not performing well in preschool.  After his 3rd birthday, he was out of early intervention and started to go to a small preschool for children with special needs.  The teacher herself had a daughter with Down syndrome and staff were all awesome.  Among them, K looked the “normalest”.  After all, autism is hard to show unlike other disabilities.  Despite that appearance, K was the most delayed. I was still swinging back and forth between denial and acceptance.  After one performance at the end of school year, I was so devastated because he was the only one who didn’t understand instruction (sing and dance thingy) at all.

In terms of attachment, K was really good.  He was happy to be piggybacked on me at all time and even if I was pregnant, I didn’t have any issue with that.  My husband got a job at a university and we bought our first house (well, I have one experience during this period I need to let out, but I’ll write it later). Moving was postponed for one quarter because our baby was due mid July.  Everything was good.

Nothing dramatic really.  But at 37th week checkup, I was told that the baby is really really small, so she would thrive better out my womb.  I felt like an insult to my motherhood, but I had no choice.  She suggested to come the next day because she would be in the day-shift at the hospital.  I talked to my mentor/supervisor and K’s wonderful daycare provider, then the next morning, my husband and I headed to the hospital for induction.  Well, I seemed to have no chance for natural birth experience, but of course safe and artificial birth was way better than natural and devastated.

This time, the room was much smaller, but still LDR (labor, delivery and recovery) type room.  The nurse hooked me to I.V. and the resident physician checked my baby.

She was in breech!  The day before at the perinatologist’s office, she was in normal position. In hindsight, I remembered a big movement in my womb in the evening but I had no idea she was doing a flip.  She was a gymnast before being born. It was as though she didn’t want to get out.

Now induction must be on hold until perinatologist comes back to maneuver my baby to the normal position.  I checked in the hospital at around 9 a.m. and waited and waited.  The perinatologist wasn’t available until almost 6 p.m.  Before that, I was asked to have an epidural because manueuvering baby can be painful and epidural can make it more likely to succeed.  I followed.

“Today was not your day.” The doctor told me. “One emergency after another.” Then she told me that she would attempt three times to turn my baby and then if that doesn’t work, we hook off from epidural and wait until tomorrow or have a C-section.  Of course my baby didn’t turn.  Although at the end of 12 hour shift with many emergency C-sections, the doctor seemed energized.  “Do you want to have the baby today? I’m ready.” So the C-sections begun.  I remembered that my arms were so cold.

My husband was grossed out.  But as the doctor cut through my layers of tissues and placed the hands into my womb (You feel it), she called him to watch the birth.  He was scared but went anyway.  My little girl, already named S, was born from her buttocks.

After that everything went really quick.  She was suctioned, weighed, and Apgar score was checked (it was 8. One point less than K) in less than a minute.  The nurse pressed her to my chest so I can see her for a few seconds and she was whisked away to a nursery for observation.  She was indeed small. She was 4 lbs 13 oz. So she was considered “low-birth weight”.  I was later told that the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck three times.  I remembered thinking, if it were 100 years ago, both S and I would be dead.

I was taken to a two-person hospital room and I rested there.  My husband went home to pick up K (it was way past 7.  I can’t thank enough for the daycare provider!).  I needed to wait for 4 hours to see my girl.


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