Baby News and Info on Shoulder Dystocia

Today Alan went with me to my ob/gyn appointment.  All is set for a June 19th c-section.  My doctor was able to look it up and tell me which doctor would be doing my surgery, and we set up my next appointment with him so that I can meet him before the delivery.  He has the longest service record of any soldier serving in the Army.  JD will be delivered by the man who cuts the Army birthday cake each year at the Pentagon. My doctor said that if she were to have a c-section, this is who she would want to do it, so that made me feel pretty good!
I told Dr. Asato how people are constantly fussing over the large size of my belly.  She shook her head and said, “The only thing anyone should ever say to a pregnant woman is, ‘You look great.”  I so agree!  She said I looked normal for 31 weeks to her, and I measured exactly 31 cm, right on schedule.
This doc and my mid-wife have both said, each time that we discuss it, that most any doctor would recommend a c-section for me since I had the TWO third- degree lacerations, due to shoulder dystocia. I’m glad I’m dealing with some understanding docs.  Perhaps it helps that they’re women.

So I got to thinking, “Why do the nurses and doctors panic so when they realize my babies are stuck at the shoulders?”  And of course, I googled it:

For those of you who may have trouble reading the blurry words on the above picture, it describes the dangers of this phenomenon, where the shoulder is impacted behind the pubic symphysis.  This is what happened with both Joshua and Caleb, but to a greater extreme, Caleb.
Dangers:  Entrapment of cord (also happened with Caleb), inability of child’s chest to expand properly, and severe brain damage or death if child is not delivered within minutes.
All of our family on both sides have been supportive of my decision to do a c-section, but in case anyone was wondering why, I think that explains it pretty well!
This puts the baby at great risk for brain damage and death.
Caleb was actually  born purple and not breathing. Thankfully, my doctor was able to quickly revive him. There were lasting effects, though.
…..So if all goes as planned this will be my very FIRST non-emergency delivery, with no running medical staff, no flashing red lights, no general sense of panic, you get the idea.
Editor’s note: Great news! John David was born with no complications whatsoever. You can read his birth story here.

Thing #2: Caleb’s Birth Story

Caleb and me, about 2 days after his delivery.  I was 26.
Caleb:  9 lb 9oz, 21.5 inches.  He was my largest newborn, and he has remained the largest at each age ever since.  He can now share clothes with Joshua, who is 20 months older than Caleb.
Caleb’s first Christmas:  5 months old and Joshua was 2 yrs and 1 month in this picture.  Also, that was the best Santa Clause ever!

**Caleb’s Birth Story**


originally written in my journal:  Fri., June 29, 2007

Yay!  Caleb is here!

I checked into the hospital around 12:30am Wednesday for my scheduled pitocin induction of labor. It was a fairly painful night.  They did give me half a dose of ambien, so I did sleep some.  It was a fitful, painful sleep.

For a while, they actually turned down the drip because the nurse said the baby and I needed a little break.  The contractions were really strong, and the baby wasn’t handling it great.

After 7am, Dr. Collins came in and broke my water, but everything moved much more slowly than I thought it would.

By 1pm, I was only 7 cm.  I had a wonderful epidural.

By early afternoon, I felt like he was right there, and I should be pushing, but I just wasn’t thinned out all the way.  It was so hard to wait!  Finally they gave me a booster to ease the pressure.

Then my legs went dead.
At 5:30, I was at 10cm, and I finally got to start pushing.  They all said I did a great job pushing.  It was a very rough delivery for Caleb because they had a lot of trouble getting his shoulders out.

Meanwhile, the cord was wrapped around his neck, so he wasn’t getting enough air.

We saw his head almost come out, all purple-ish, but then he couldn’t come any further because his shoulders were so big.

At 6:07pm, with four nurses pushing on my belly, Dr. Collins pretty much ripped Caleb right out of there.

Caleb was very purple in the face and not crying.

That scared us, but once the doctor suctioned him out really well, he did start breathing and crying.

His crying sounds totally different than Joshua’s.  I’m just so thankful we all got through it, and everyone is fine.

Caleb is precious.  The reason we had a hard delivery is that my little baby is 9 lb 9oz and 21.5 inches long!  He’s a big baby!

At first, I could hardly get him to eat at all, his nose was so bruised from his shaky entrance into the world.  Dr. Collins actually apologized for “bruising him up” and for not listening to me when I warned him this wasn’t going to go well.

I had told him that this baby was going to be huge, and I would need the biggest episiotomy he could give me, but he didn’t give me the biggest episiotomy, and by the time he realized the baby was in danger, it was too late to do anything other than get Caleb out.

Last night Caleb suddenly started to eat– a lot.  He just can hardly get enough.  I’m worried about him, though.  We’d had that concern about his kidneys, and I haven’t seen a single wet or poopy diaper yet.  Alan changed one poopy diaper yesterday, and the nursery changed him out of one soaking wet outfit last night. (That all turned out fine.)

My feet are swollen, and I am sore all over.  Emotionally, I feel okay.  I just feel a little stressed about not being able to pick up Joshua..  Thank the Lord for my healthy babies!

Lessons Learned from Caleb’s Delivery:

…..I did not do a good job of not picking up Joshua.  He was too heavy for me to lift for 6 weeks, due to all the stitches I needed after that rough delivery.  I didn’t listen, and I lifted him anyway within the first two weeks and busted my stitches.  I write that publicly only to warn all new mothers.  If you have stitches, and they tell you to take it easy for 6 weeks, you have to LISTEN to them!!!  That turned my recovery from 6 weeks to 12 weeks.

Newborns and Germs:
I am no longer the mother you will see parading out about town with a one-month-old.

During that first 6 weeks, if your baby spikes a fever, the medical community will fear the worse, and that usually means hospitalization and lots of invasive testing for your baby.

Caleb spiked a fever at 4 weeks, and was feverish with no symptoms for 3 or so days.
We were very fortunate.  Dr. Doggett was wonderful.  He said that since Caleb was otherwise healthy and growing well, I only had to bring him to his office every day for urine samples and such until the fever had been gone 24 hours.

(By the way, watching them try to get a urine sample from a baby is hilarious.  Touch the walls at your pediatrician’s office with caution.  They could have been peed on…)

Dr. Doggett told me how they usually hospitalize those cases, but there had been no recent cases of meningitis (which is what they were primarily concerned about), and he felt like I was “a very capable mother,” so I could keep him at home with me.

I can’t tell you how happy it made me to have the trust of our pediatrician and to not be put through all the unnecessary tests we might’ve endured in a larger city.

From that experience I formed my current policy of camping out at home the first six weeks, and what a load off it is anyway, to not feel pressured to resume normal activities for six whole weeks.

One more thing!

Each postpartum phase has been different for me, but I remember feeling so happy after Caleb was born.  I had had a pretty depressed pregnancy, though, so I was backwards for Caleb from what you’d expect.




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