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”.
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.
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