Learning To Be My Child’s Medical Advocate: Mother’s Day Blog Hop

Back in March when Critters And Crayons was featured on DailyBuzz Moms as one of the Top 9 daily posts about childbirth, some fellow bloggers had a great idea that we should host a Mother’s Day Blog Hop where we could all talk about “My Childbirth Story”.

So, starting today, Critters And Crayons is co-hosting the Mother’s Day  “My Childbirth Story” Blog Hop with Chrissy of The Outlaw Mom Blog and Bridget of Twinisms!

If you read the post that sparked this blog hop back in March, you know my opinion of childbirth-  I think it’s pretty tough stuff.

I could talk about the difficulties and the fluids and the indignities of having strangers all up in our personal space, but I’m going to spare you those details because it’s nothing you haven’t heard before, right?

I’ll tell you that our first child birth experience shocked the heck out of me.  I wasn’t really prepared for what it would it do to my body.  I took my homework into labor with me because I thought I’d be taking my final the day after giving birth.

If you must know, I ended up requesting to take the final a week later.  My Managerial Accounting professor was in kind of a bad mood because some Soldier-students had to go to the field to prepare for a deployment and we all seemed to have some kind of excuse as to why we couldn’t take the final on time.

But, that’s another story.  I ended up taking it the next week with a raging case of mastitis that infected my entire right breast and high fever.  I barely passed on a severe grading curve but all that mattered is that I didn’t flunk the thing.

What I really want to talk about is the second childbirth, the one where I was a “veteran” mother according to the docs.  This term was used frequently because I had already been through this childbirth rodeo once.  I’m going to go in a slightly serious direction here.

I’m not sure what it means to go into labor naturally.  Both of my children were induced with pitocin when I was 2 weeks past my due date.  My babies were both born large weighing nearly 9 lbs each and the doctors didn’t want to risk having the babies get any larger by letting me go beyond the forty-second week.

By and large the second childbirth was easy compared to the first, mostly because our daughter’s gigantic melon, extracted only by multiple hematoma-inducing-suction attempts, pretty much cleared the way for any future humans who might literally enter the world through my birth canal.

That phrase “veteran mother” was used by the staff, who truly seemed to be caring and on top of things for the most part.  But, the doctor and the nurse on duty agreed that I could handle a large dose of pitocin to get things going and they cranked that thing up.

I’d had an epidural and I was able to push if I needed to, but I barely needed to push by the time it was time for my son to come.  As a matter of fact, it was like he was coming too fast.  It felt like I had a creature crawling out of me.

I pushed twice and, I swear, it was like he FLEW into the hands of the doctor.

The doctor said that she heard a pop and suspected that he had broken his clavicle on my pelvis on his way out because he came so fast.

So, I asked if he could be x-rayed to confirm that his clavicle was broken.

I was told that it was something that needed to be watched but that they didn’t want to expose him to radiation so young, especially when a broken clavicle had no remedy other than time to heal.

We ended up staying in the hospital for 3 days to monitor his jaundice.  By the time we went home, I hadn’t realized it, he was starving.  I was a breastfeeding “veteran” mother and I didn’t realize that my milk hadn’t come in.

I asked the doctors each day I was in the hospital to please x-ray his clavicle.  He seemed to fuss when I swaddled him or when I held him  or when I placed him on his right side.  I got the same answer from every doctor and nurse that it didn’t matter and that he was too young to be x-rayed.

My son had not urinated in 3 days.  But, in my near-delusion of breastfeeding him constantly (because he was hungry, he rarely slept), I incorrectly correlated a lack of fecal diapers which is normal with a breastfeeding newborn and total lack of waste.  The jaundice was building up inside of him because nothing was being flushed out in his urine.

By the time we went in for a check-up on the fourth day, he finally had a wet diaper and my milk finally came in.  It didn’t occur to me that all the time I had spent feeding him had been unsuccessful or that he was starving.

I was a veteran mother.

How could I have not realized my son, who I loved so much, was starving and still jaundiced?  I reasoned he had darker coloring like his dark-skinned Korean grandfather.  I thought he was getting the milk I was giving him and just using up the nourishment.

Veteran mother’s know these things, right?

I nursed my daughter for 18 months.  I knew how to do this breastfeeding thing.  No way MY milk didn’t come in.

When we went in for the check-up, it was like an emergency.  The doctors told us to go immediately, without stopping for food or gas or overnight things, to the designated hospital with an in-patient infant care unit (one-step down from the NIC-U) where he would receive light therapy for a week.

We couldn’t stay with him.  Ugh!!!

When we showed up, the first things those doctors did was x-ray my baby boy.

His clavicle was broken.

They asked me why he hadn’t been x-rayed at the other hospital.

The doctor said, “Well, if you suspect that a child has broken a bone, isn’t the prudent thing to do, to confirm it??!!!”

Sounds very logical to me.

But, I didn’t fight for my son to be x-rayed even though I knew something wasn’t right and I knew he was in pain.  I blindly trusted what the doctors and staff were telling me.

Now, I consider myself a veteran mother who is still learning every day-

But, I write this post to say that this veteran mother no longer accepts “No” when I take my kid in to see the doctor and I know something is wrong.

If something isn’t right, and I know it isn’t right because I know my kid, I’ve learned that sometimes you have to demand the x-ray.  You demand it to make sure your kid hasn’t broken something or that he or she doesn’t have pneumonia.

And, if we ever do go down the baby road again, this “veteran” mom isn’t going to just presume there is sustenance coming from my mammary glands.  I’ll try to remember to break out of that post-partum stupor that can rob even the most rational woman of simple logic.

So, that is my childbirth story and lesson-  For new moms and “veteran” moms, my childbirth story is about knowing when you need to stand up for your kids.  I love doctors and the staffs that heal and bring life into the world.  But, sometimes, you’ve got to be your child’s most ardent advocate.

That’s something my beautiful son, the human pitocin-rocket, taught me.

It’s a Mother’s Day Blog Hop! My Childbirth Story…

My Childbirth Story Mothers Day Blog Hop

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19 Responses to Learning To Be My Child’s Medical Advocate: Mother’s Day Blog Hop

  1. Pingback: Childbirthcritters and crayons

  2. Thank you for sharing your birth story. I had medical issues with my second too that I really wish I had jumped up and down about more. Thankfully it is mostly sorted now but I do wish we could have got some help sooner.

    • Ali- thanks for the comment! It’s so natural for moms to defer to doctors and staff and I do believe most of the time, that’s not a terrible thing! I’m glad you guys ended up getting help, too!

  3. Pingback: Mother's Day Blog Hop: Riding the Wave of Birth and Life | The Laine List

  4. Okay, now it’s just too darn eerie, this whole ESPN thing :-) My post was about being your child’s advocate and bringing someone with you to be your advocate when you’re unable to do it for yourself, and right before I published it, Hubby read it and requested I didn’t share so many personal details on the blog, so I deleted it.

    We went through something similar with my daughter and the only reason we didn’t have to put my daughter under the lamps is because my mom (a pediatrician) – NOT THE DOCTORS AT THE HOSPITAL – ordered me to feed my daughter formula to flush her of the excess bilirubin. I set an alarm for every two hours to get up and feed her and reported her diapers to my mother until she said we were in the clear. The doctors at the hospital didn’t advise us to do anything or assist in any way at all. If it weren’t for my mom, we would be under the lamps…no one tells you that jaundice leads to brain damage and that babies aren’t normally born with jaundice the second they come out. I, too, thought it was just her coloring :-)

    And I left out the part in my post about the lactation tyrants – I mean, consultants…but I had to deal with ladies coming in one after another to tell me that one drop of colostrum was sufficient to rid my daughter of the excess bilirubin, which is medically incorrect and completely outrageous that they’re allowed to give misinformation to people. I would have believed her if it weren’t for the fact that my family members are physicians.

    You definitely have to be your own advocate and if you can’t, assign someone else. No one is going to be looking out for you but you! I won’t even get into what happened to my own body because it’s just not fun :-)

    • Chrissy- that is hilarious! My hubby would have more veto power if I let him read my stuff ahead of time. haha! That is crazy that you had such a similar experience- but I hear that Asian DNA seems to lend itself to jaundice for some reason….I look at pics of my son now of is first week of life and it breaks my heart. I could see him whittling away!!!! Poor baby- I would have totally given him formula if I had realized…

  5. That made me cry. Following my intuition and speaking up for myself seems to be a life long lesson for me. I so can relate to what you went through but not to the same degree. What a blessing that the doctors figured out what was wrong before it got worse.
    Blessings to you!

    • Carolyn- intuition is so important. It is a hard thing to learn to listen to for so many reasons! Thank you for the wonderful comment!

  6. I’m sorry that you had to go through all of that. But. Thank you for being willing to share your story so that maybe someone else doesn’t have to!!

  7. Amen to you! Thanks for standing up for us – it drives me nuts when we’re made to feel ridiculous for trying to be diligent parents. Glad it all worked out so you could share your story as an inspiration.

    • Thanks, Nami! It does happen sometimes where we are made to feel a little silly for asking too much- but sometimes we’ve gotta push the envelope, I think…

    • Jo Anne- I can’t wait to catch up and read your story! I had such hubris to think that my milk wouldn’t NOT come in! It didn’t occur to me!

  8. I heard of some stories like this before but never from a close friend. Thanks for sharing Trish and I’m just so glad you were this little man’s mom!

  9. Pingback: Nico’s birth… and the pregnancy - Glittering Muffins | Glittering Muffins

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