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Posts tagged ‘birth story’

Wednesday’s Watch~ Children and Birth

Do American Children know this much about birth?

dematronas  …. de matronas… 

This YouTube video is a very well done example of the beauty of birth and the beautiful innocence of children.

These children are interviewed about birth and midwifes and babies.
They are very very smart indeed!
I found this courtesy of my new twitter friend @ketchup74.

From Spain or Argentina? with English subtitles.

 

Has anyone seen or found a video as beautiful or remarkable as this? Please send me a link if you have!

Check the comment for some great links already! Thank you!

Cesarean Delivery of the Second Twin… Why? 

029I was talking to one of my on-line Twitter friends @onefinebreeder about twin delivery. I was telling her about how things used to be.. how vertex-nonvertex twin gestation’s were always delivered vaginally ….. and she commented on how it was sad that some of the old OB skills have been totally lost to surgery… So Very True!

I got to thinking about the first combination Twin delivery I had witnessed back in the very early 80’s. This was actually one of our own (hospital employee) nurses .  She was a multip…. around 37-38 weeks and healthy…no complications during pregnancy. Twin A delivered spontaneously, vaginally with a generous episiotomy as they often performed at that time… The baby , a girl, was about 6 pounds, vigorous and had no problems. We were all marveling at the first baby, checked fetal hearts on the second twin and started waiting for him to get in position.  Still before consistent ultrasound, we were not worried. However, we had a newer doctor who was attending this birth. He began to get concerned after 5- 10 min when contractions slowed and he was worried that if this baby was breech, he would have difficulty with the “after-coming” head. Up to this point, all I had learned was this can be a real concern if the smaller feet or buttocks present through a cervix which is not fully dilated. Much research was done later on but at the time, I did not know about it. He began to ask us to call the OR for a C/S. This was unheard of in my limited experience at the time…. my 70’s world. I thought.. how can they do a C/S now when one baby was already born??? I tried to be an advocate… (my early days… )”We have Piper forceps…”  I said meekly… “Have you tried to grab a large part and help bring the baby down… ?” This was my limited knowledge… all I knew to suggest. I kept wishing one of the other doctors was on duty that day.. or maybe we could call them???

In front of the mother, he said to me “I’m not going to have a bad outcome here!” By now it was 20 minutes or so. There was no cord prolapse, no drop in fetal hearts, no evidence of immediate trouble… the baby was seeming to work itself into breech position…. To the mother he said “Your baby is in serious danger and the best thing to save him is to take you for a Cesarean now!” “I’ll sew your episiotomy together while we are in the OR.”

I was in shock. She signed, scared to death of course. So we prepped her for the OR. She went up for a C/S of her second twin and repair of her generous episiotomy. Her second baby was delivered frank breech…  a beautiful boy about the same size and was also vigorous and healthy. I remember I felt as though she was almost assaulted. I remember feeling that this was a true rare event if it every happened before. There was no immediate access to information like today.

Luckily mom and babies did fairly well in the postpartum period even though healing from both the episiotomy and the C/S was difficult for her.

"How can I get out if I'm not head 1st ??"

" Psst-- How can I get out if I'm not head 1st ??"

I wanted to see how much research I could find on this topic. I had gone to the green journal (OB & GYN) website but then it locked me out. (You can only look at abstracts anyway unless you want to purchase the article. You are on your own for that.) I had some luck with the abstracts at PubMed so I have put a few here.

I decided to take a look across time…….

This first one is from 1981. . Quoted abstract from the PubMed site:

Cesarean Section for Delivery of the Second Twin

Evrard,JohnR.; Gold, Edwin M.
Obstetrics & Gynecology. 57(5):581-583, May 1981.

Four cases of combined vaginal-abdominal delivery of twins are presented, and an additional 5 cases from the recent literature are discussed. Malposition, malpresentation, and contracted cervix were the main indications for cesarean section for the birth of twin B. In the 9 cases presented, there were 2 perinatal deaths.

Interesting that this research was done during the same time frame as my experience above. I’d like to know more about those poor outcomes 😦

The next interesting article I found was researched over a 10 yr period, somewhat close to here in a larger facility, published 1997. THIS study examines the delivery of the second twin by utilizing external version vs breech extraction . 😉 The results are showing in favor of breech delivery vs version (those meeting exclusionary criteria ).. Versions were associated with higher a incidence of Cesarean and fetal distress. Neonatal outcomes no different and are stated below:

Method of delivery of the nonvertex second twin: a community hospital experience.

 Smith SJ, Zebrowitz J, Latta RA.   J Matern Fetal Med. 1997 May-Jun;6(3):146-50

Abington Memorial Hospital, Pennsylvania, USA.

The purpose of this study is to examine the incidence of cesarean section and fetal distress complicating the delivery of the second twin in vertex-nonvertex twin gestations in which the second twin underwent either breech extraction or external version. The intrapartum courses of 510 twin gestations delivered at a community hospital over a 10-year period were retrospectively analyzed. All vertex-nonvertex twin gestations were identified in which the second twin underwent attempted breech extraction or external version. Exclusion criteria included birthweight < or = 1,500 g, fetal anomaly, intrauterine demise, and monoamniotic twins. Of the 76 twin sets that met inclusion criteria, 33 underwent external version and 43 underwent primary breech extraction. The two groups had similar demographic characteristics. External version compared to breech extraction was associated with a significantly greater incidence of cesarean section (8/33 vs. 1/43, P = .008) and fetal distress (8/33 vs. 1/43, P = .008). There was no difference between groups in neonatal outcome for the second twin as measured by length of stay, 5-minute Apgar < 7, intensive care unit admissions, hyaline membrane disease, intraventricular hemorrhage, and traumatic birth injury. In conclusion, the increased incidence of cesarean section and fetal distress in patients undergoing attempted external version suggests that breech extraction may be the preferable route of delivery for the nonvertex second twin weighing more than 1,500 g

The next study was published a little later in 2001 and covered a 20 year span of time… during the 80’s and 90’s at a larger center in Nova Scotia, Canada. They noted an increase in their combination vaginal/cesarean twin births and documented some statistical data, looked at reasons for an operative second twin birth. I wish to read this study further some day to see if there is mention pertaining to mother/baby outcomes other than statistics outlined (even though that wasn’t their objective) in this abstract:

Combined Vaginal-Cesarean Delivery of Twin Pregnancies

Obstetrics & Gynecology . 98(6):1032-1037, December 2001.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the incidence and factors associated with combined vaginal-cesarean delivery in twin pregnancies. METHODS: We studied all twin births weighing 500 g or more during a 20-year period (1980-1999) at a tertiary care center. Major anomalies, monoamniotic and conjoined twins, and antepartum fetal deaths were excluded.

RESULTS: During this 20-year period, 105,987 women delivered, of whom 1565 (1.5%) had twins. Of these, 1151 twin sets fulfilled the study criteria. The mode of delivery was vaginal in 653 (56.8%), cesarean in 448 (38.9%), and vaginal-cesarean in 50 (4.3%). During the 20 years there was a statistically significant increase in combined vaginal-cesarean and elective cesarean deliveries, with a decrease in vaginal deliveries. Parity, gestational age, and birth weight discordance (>25%) were not associated with combined delivery. Compared with vaginal delivery, the nonvertex second twin was associated with a twofold higher risk of cesarean delivery (relative risk [RR] 2.3; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3, 3.8; P =.002); and an interdelivery interval of over 60 minutes with an eightfold higher risk (RR 8.2; CI 4.6,14.6; P <.001). Vaginal-cesarean delivery had a 22-fold higher use of general anesthesia compared with vaginal delivery (RR 21.8; CI 5.4, 88.5; P <.001). CONCLUSION: There has been a significant increase in combined vaginal-cesarean and elective cesarean deliveries among twin gestations, with a decrease in vaginal births. Vaginal-cesarean delivery is associated with nonvertex second twin and a prolonged interdelivery interval.

Now we come to 2008!  There is a study here from Texas. This study looked a twins born by C/S after labor and twins who had cesarean birth of the second twin. they campared outcomes to see if the twin of a combined delivery had more problems. The most important pieces of information I gather from this abstract of results…. (again, having NOT read the entire study):

“Combined twin delivery may be associated with endometritis and neonatal sepsis when compared with a twin delivery where both are delivered by cesarean in twin pregnancies experiencing labor. More serious neonatal sequelae, including hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and death, were not affected by the route of delivery of the second twin.”  Hmmm 

Cesarean Delivery for the Second Twin

Alexander, James M.; Leveno, Kenneth J.; ….et al:for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network (MFMU)   Obstetrics & Gynecology . 112(4):748-752, October 2008.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75235-9032, USA. james.alexander@utsouthwestern.edu

OBJECTIVE: To examine maternal and infant outcomes after a vaginal delivery of twin A and a cesarean delivery of twin B, and to identify whether the second twin experienced increased short-term morbidity as part of a combined route of delivery. METHODS: Between January 1, 1999, and December 31, 2000, a prospective cohort study of all cesarean deliveries was conducted at 13 university centers. This secondary analysis was limited to women with twin gestations who experienced labor and underwent cesarean delivery. We compared outcomes of the second twin in women who had vaginal delivery of the first twin and a cesarean delivery of the second twin to those who had cesarean delivery of both twins. RESULTS: One thousand twenty-eight twin pregnancies experienced labor and underwent cesarean delivery; 179 (17%) had a combined vaginal/cesarean delivery. Gestational age at delivery was 34.6 weeks in both groups (P=.97). The rupture of membranes to delivery interval was longer in the combined group (3.2 compared with 2.3 hours, P<.001). Endometritis and culture-proven sepsis in the second twin were more common in the combined group, respectively (n=24, odds ratio 1.6, 95% confidence interval, 1.0-2.7; n=15, odds ratio 1.8, 95% confidence interval, 1.0-3.4). These differences were not significant after logistic regression analysis. There were no statistically significant differences in an arterial cord pH of less than 7.0, Apgar score less than or equal to 3 at 5 minutes, seizures, grade III or IV intraventricular hemorrhage, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, or neonatal death. CONCLUSION: Combined twin delivery may be associated with endometritis and neonatal sepsis when compared with a twin delivery where both are delivered by cesarean in twin pregnancies experiencing labor. More serious neonatal sequelae, including hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and death, were not affected by the route of delivery of the second twin.

I gather from these studies that a combined delivery route leads to more problems.. however…there are probably more problems than breech presentation alone to lead the provider to make that choice. I believe that many newer providers of obstetrics in a hospital setting are more apt to do a scheduled C/S for any vertex-nonvertex twins they encounter. That is what is done in my facility today. The same for all breech presentation singleton gestation.

Where is that old-fashioned nurse when you need her?? How ’bout the old fashoined doc??? 😉

I am very interested in anyone’s story or experience either in healthcare or your personal birth. Please let me know if you know anything about this!

Thanks for reading!

Watch Wednesday ~ WAIT to Clamp Cord!

Watch the video Wednesday

Just read an awesome Post about Delayed Cord Clamping by a fellow Labor and Delivery Nurse who has an excellent blog you should all read. I have a link to it on the right hand side… “nursingbirth”.

She did tremendous research and has supplied fabulous information. 

Here’s a shout out to you nursingbirth!!

Watch this video..

 

 

Adoption in a Small Town ~ The Agony of Knowing…. Part II 

Part II

Apparently Sarah had been having a lot of headaches and dizzy spells.  She is 19 yrs old now and had graduated high school, was attending the local college and had moved out of Karen’s home to live with her boyfriend, Justin. Sarah possessed a beautiful free spirit and Justin (who was the father of the baby she’d given up for adoption) was her true soul mate. They were still together.  It was easy to see how Sarah and Justin were truly in love.

Sarah went down to a large hospital in Philadelphia and had many diagnostic tests all confirming brain cancer. Her tumor was too big for surgery right away but the doctors were optimistic that after radiation and some chemotherapy, they could do surgery and remove the tumor. So far the other systems tests looked good. Sarah was a fighter and vowed to beat this thing!

During the chemo and radiation, she lost her hair. Justin also shaved his head! This wasn’t so popular back in 84-85. She was surrounded by great support! By the end of 1985, her tumor had shrunk she was able to have the surgery. They got it all…the whole tumor….all the cancer!  Sarah recovered easily, no long term effects, and went into remission!  Life became normal for them again.

My interactions with Karen and Sarah at this time were not as frequent. I had made an occasional supportive call or visit, but wasn’t involved in the whole process.  Karen was often in Philadelphia, sometimes for weeks at a time and I had had a baby. Neither of us were skiing very much over the past 2 years. My sister had gone to Europe on a 6 month trip with her new husband, so she had only stayed in touch with Sarah by the occasional card or call.

When I did see her or Sarah—the birth, the baby, the adoption … none of that was ever mentioned.

In the meantime, I saw Dr. E a lot at the hospital. I would ask about Joey sometimes, she occasionally had a new picture or new stories to share about his life with his parents  in Atlanta .  Dr. E talked about Joey with such love and pride, she had really bonded with him. She told me it was because she had to keep him with her until the adoption paperwork was finished. She thought I had a special interest because I cared for him from the beginning in the hospital and had helped her so much with infant care instructions to go home. She never knew I was friends with the birth family.

Sometime in 1986, about a year after the surgery, Sarah’s symptoms returned. The tumor was back.

Sarah grew sicker and it became apparent that this cancer might get the best of her, she might not beat it this time, might not make it. She went through more chemo, and decided against further surgery.  There were more risks this time; Sarah didn’t want to take them. She wanted to go home with Justin and live as much as she could.

I had become increasingly conflicted. I thought… ‘Sarah might not live, she or Karen might want to know how well that baby boy is doing’….. ‘They may want to see a picture or see the boy before Sarah dies…..’  I was having an overwhelming desire to let this secret out.

I wanted to shout: “I KNOW WHERE THE BABY IS….. I”VE BEEN WATCHING HIM GROW UP!!!! “

I had some misconstrued idea of my role in my head..the secret I knew could impact others greatly….I should tell …..Shouldn’t I????  If it was my daughter, I think I’d want to know.  I’d want to see her with her child before she died.  It was very inappropriate for me to think this– but I couldn’t let go of this idea, this strange notion in my head that Karen may openly question me about it someday—that I may be a source of comfort to her. My outward behavior remained professional, but inside my mind– nestled with the secret– the thought process was spinning on pure raw emotion. Clearly–I was having a hard time being objective in my thought process.

I decided to ask my friend who had adopted 2 kids; without telling the actual story; I gave her a ‘what-if’ …. Theoretical situation. –If someone knew that one of the birth parents of your children was gravely ill with a serious disease and may die….. Would you want to know?? How would you feel??

Her response to me “I’d be scared shitless! I’d be scared the birth families would descend on my life and want visitation. I’d be afraid my children would not understand. If there was serious health information I should know, I’d want the lawyer to tell me but that’s it.”

 I really needed her perspective.  This was not an open adoption after all. I had NO RIGHT to say anything! It was not my place at all. I took a huge step back, soul searched and pushed back all those emotional desires to tell…

I saw Karen, Sarah and Justin with some of the rest of their family at a Ski party. Sarah was vibrant, funny, laughing and having a great time! She had on a crazy hat to hide her scanty hair and it meshed perfectly with her personality.  We had a wonderful day. I felt much more peaceful about knowing.

I got word about a month later that Sarah had taken a turn for the worse, the tumor growth was aggressive and they had already arranged for a hospital bed & help at home…Sarah’s home.. with Justin at her insistence. Justin was the major caregiver.

While this was happening, I ran into Dr.E again at work. I felt uneasy and started to struggle that same raw emotional conflict. I chatted with her casually & asked her again if she had a picture of Joey.…this time I asked if she could spare one for our bulletin board upstairs where we have pictures of a lot of our babies. She thought that was a great idea. [I know it’s wrong, but I was thinking, someday, maybe I can show Karen and say– the adoptive family sent it to us on the unit. I couldn’t let go of the idea.]  Dr. E said “Sure.. great idea, I’ll get one for you!”

Sarah died peacefully in her home a few weeks later.  Her family was devastated despite how “prepared” they’d been. My family was also very upset. My siblings all tried to make it home for the service.  My husband, mom and sisters all went over to Karen’s house the night before the service.  There were a lot of people there.  Karen was pretty strong but at one point she cried “My baby is gone- she’s gone.. I’ve lost her!” I couldn’t imagine her pain, her grief. I cried with her.

It wasn’t about me—but I was suffering in a different way, struggling with what I knew…that a part of Sarah was out there… healthy and alive.  I couldn’t share that with anyone. I cannot tell them. Going home in the car, I ended up alone with my mom and I had to tell her. I blurted out the whole story. I could trust her. I had to have someone help me. She reinforced what I already knew that of course I couldn’t tell.  I felt better just letting it out to someone.

The funeral home was packed. We bypassed the rows of picture and long lines, gave nods to the family up front and found some seats. I sat there with my husband all teary eyed.  I saw a lot of people I knew. There were also a lot of children running about.  I saw what looked like a set of adorable triplets impeccably dressed in their identical brown suits.  One of the triplets climbed up in the chair across from me and got snuggled in towards his mother, and then he popped right back down running after his brothers.

I slowly became more aware of this mother sitting across from me. The boy climbed back up in her lap as she looked up and met my gaze. 

I could not believe what I was seeing! It was Dr. E.!

She said confused “What are you doing here?”

I said crying “Sarah was the daughter of one of my best friends– Karen…..”

She said “I didn’t know you knew her….. all this time… well–this is JOEY!  Oh –that’s why you wanted a picture! Oh Sweetie.”

I fell to my knees in front of her, my hands on her lap sobbing, I could not control my emotions….

Me sobbing “I didn’t know they knew where he was..I didn’t know, I didn’t know..”

By now she was up and leading me down the hall, holding Joey’s hand…..I’m crying:”did Sarah get to see him? Did Karen? Oh –he’s just so precious….”

She realized I didn’t know about any contact at all so she quietly explained that Sarah had opened up the line of communication when she realized the treatments weren’t working and that she and Justin had wanted to see Joey– spend a little time with him. Then she said ..“Come here, I want you to see something.”

She took me into another room, filled with people I didn’t know. She announced to everyone. “This is the nurse I was telling you about who took such good care of Joey in the nursery as a baby!”  I was sobbing still as she introduced me to her brother and his wife the adoptive parents, Joey, and the other 2 boys (I thought were triplets) who were brothers. I had said earlier in the story that Dr. E’s brother and wife (also both physicians) had gotten pregnant after getting Joey but I never knew they also had the good fortune of adopting another child a few months after Joey. The 3 boys were very close in age. The room was filled with Dr.E’s family who had all made the trip from Georgia! There were grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles.. all coming to pay their respects to Joey’s birth mother. What a wonderful openminded loving family! They were mostly staying in a room off to the side out of respect to Sarah’s family. What a gift… for Joey, for Karen and her family and what a gift for me.

Only a few people in Sarah’s family knew she had ever had a baby… …that was more than I thought. Those that knew only found out with-in the last few months. They were all very private about it. I found out later that Karen had still not come to terms with Sarah’s adoption choice. Karen was hoping to help her raise the baby when first finding out Sarah was pregnant. She herself hadn’t really visited with Joey It was very hard for her that Joey was even there… There were pictures on the wall of Sarah, Justin and Joey.. but I had bypassed that when we came in…and had not seen them.

 

Before the service started, my sisters were standing next to me on some steps, and Dr. E walked past with Joey saying he wanted to say hi to everyone again.

The sister who had been Sarah’s friend said: “Who’s that? Is that one of Sarah’s cousins?”       

I hesitated not know what to say at first… and Karen’s mom looked at me–clearly understanding that I knew.    She said: “It’s OK, you can tell her.” Once again, crying, I told my sister the secret I had kept all these years.

 At the end of the service, people went outside to release flower petals or balloons in the wind and say a final goodbye to Sarah.

I stood next to Joey as he released a balloon. Dr E said “Would you like to say something Joey?”

Joey: “I say goodbye to my birth mother and I am happy my birth father is still alive!”

Medical Science vs Natural Childbirth 

I sat here to write the story of our first planned VBAC and realized as I scanned my other posts that I had to tell just a little more history to help explain the attitudes of the times.

During the mid 70’s early 80’s… our country was changing in many ways. In the medical world, Obstetrical medicine was becoming more specialized with the development of many subspecialties including  “Perinatology” and “Neonatology”.  Perinatology by definition is the study of the unborn fetus and recently born infant during the first several weeks of life. It was the changing concern of obstetricians from a sole focus on the mother’s health to one which is balanced between the mother’s health and the unborn or newborn. ACOG started to offer a specialty certification exam for perinatology  in 1974, and in 1977, the Society of Perinatal Obstetricians (now called the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine) was formed.  The term used to describe a Perinatologist today is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist.  This specialty is the management of high-risk pregnancies and the assessment and treatment of the fetus. Neonatology (established 1975 by the AAP) is the study of a highly specialized care of the newly born infant especially the ill or premature newborn infant usually hospital based in NICU’s.

Young women were becoming more and more interested in a natural approach to childbirth. People all over the country were driving maternity services to offer the availability of birth options for these moms. The ICEA [International Childbirth Education Association] came to our town in the late 70’s and a local chapter was born. “Freedom of choice based on knowledge of alternatives” in childbirth was a motto on their pamphlet information. There were some individuals in the community going for the new certification of childbirth educators. They were educating some new mom’s about birth options…… that we, the staff hadn’t learned about let alone developed as an option for our patients. Many on the staff scorned this movement. It seemed to me that these changes were all happening at the same time. We were learning about advances in observing and monitoring the well-being of both the laboring mother and her unborn fetus, preventing complications etc…. arising from the research studies done from the emerging sub-specialties. We had one fetal monitor and purchased another. As soon as the specialists found that continuous fetal monitoring was advantageous to picking up potential problems in advance, to possibly avoid or prepare for complications, there was a natural childbirth revolt against the constant recumbent positioning that EFM (electronic fetal monitoring) seemed to require. There were more examples as with IV fluids or access and other routine procedures. The nurses didn’t understand. They were just trying to do what science and our doctors were telling them…[though not always willingly as some were afraid of the newer technology.] To them, this group pushing a natural childbirth movement was the same population that had just wanted to be given drugs, put to sleep and “wake me when it’s over” crowd.  

I realize that although these advances in science and the movement of young people seeking natural childbirth options seemed to happen so close to the same time in my world, it probably didn’t happen this way for all of the country. Here, I really think it probably greatly contributed to the attitudes of nurses and doctors I worked with at the time. Those professionals who just couldn’t relinquish control. They were learning more about the science of birth, of monitoring and couldn’t quite allow or see how the “natural” component could fit in. Those individuals often were guilty of the abuse of professional power, the use of misinformation and the blindness and arrogance to maintain control of the birth process… taking it away from the mother.  Those professionals who should have known better.  They did not know of the rights of childbearing Women, or of general patient rights for that matter. Unfortunately– there are some who still have these control issues.

That’s another story….

Stand and Deliver? There’s No Stopping Her

I recently read a post from another blog about the study cited in The Cochrane Library discussing patient mobility & upright positions in early labor. The summary talks of the authors’ conclusions that there’s evidence supporting walking and or upright positions in early labor which can reduce the total length of labor without being associated with any increase in medical interventions or untoward affects on mom or baby.

Thus I was immediately taken back to 1977, long before any such studies. This woman certainly didn’t read them! She wasn’t my patient…. my patient was in the bed next to her.  (No single labor rooms back in 1977.)

When she arrived on the unit, she was already entering active labor. Her contractions where about 2-4 mins apart lasting a good 60 seconds and she was WILDLY out of control. This was her first baby, and at 4 to 5 cm dilated, she was thrashing all over the bed refusing any measures of support, IV or pain medicine offered to her by her nurse. She was probably offered “Twilight Sleep” consisting of Scopolamine and some narcotic–which we used a lot and many mom’s had hallucination or delirious type side effects.

It is important to note here that this woman was 5 ft 11.5 in tall and probably weighed a good 225lbs.  I remember this because she seemed huge and I thought she was at least 6 feet tall and looked at her chart. Her nurse was only 4 ft 11.5. The doctor on duty that evening was of Asian decent, very petite and about 5 ft, 1 or 2 in.

Back to the poor mom in labor. I couldn’t help much because I was assisting my own patient and a few labor checks that were hanging around. No other labor coach or father of the baby around in those days… It wasn’t long before this run-away train of labor progressed to point where mom was fully dilated and had the urge to push. Many women of this body stature have quick, sometimes fierce labors…..I have no study, just my observation.
Here’s what happened:
Mom: “I have to get up out this bed
Nurse: “We have to start pushing now, I need you to take some deep breaths and when that next contraction starts, you can push with it.”
Mom: “Mmmh Hymmm I have to get up out this bed!!! Do you hear me???
Nurse: “I hear you, we can’t let you get up right now, the baby will be coming soon… Let’s try to focus on pushing”
Mom: “I AM TELLING YOU….. I HAVE TO GET UP OUT THIS BED!!!! YOU NEED TO HELP ME!
Nurse: “I am trying to help you”
Mom: “I’m gettin up
Nurse: “Please try to relax”…blah blah blah

There was no stopping her. This woman stood up, ON THE BED, placed her hands on the ceiling, spread her legs and began to push—loudly !
There wasn’t anything to do except accommodate her. The nurse grabbed the “precip-tray” we use for emergency deliveries and called the doctor in. They put the large metal side rail down and these two tiny birth attendants were actually the perfect size to get in under her large frame and assist the delivery of the baby. It was an awesome sight!
I wonder if she ever reads about the research now and thinks back at how she was ahead of her time..she knew what her body needed to give birth.

Tuesday Twins

    A Few 70’s Twins Tales

  • It was Autumn 1975 when she arrived on the unit in labor. She stood close to 6 feet tall and was very very pregnant. She knew she was having twins. Twins were usually diagnosed after a mom grew larger than dates and by finding two fetal heartbeats. I had never seen someone that big! I was amazed she could even walk. She was taken to a labor room for the standard prep and SS enema (3H..High-Hot and a Hell of a lot). They did an abdominal girth: 60 inches…. that’s 5 full feet! We did not have any U/S to check fetal position. We relied on our exam and assessments. If the first twin was head down (vertex), that was all that mattered for the moment. Labor progressed and when she was close to crowning, she awkwardly and with a great deal of difficulty, maneuvered over to the stretcher and then once again, across the hall, moved onto the delivery table. She was asking for anesthesia. They provided that with some nitrous oxide or something by mask. The first baby was born spontaneously. A boy!! a BIG BOY! He weighed 9 LBS 6 oz! Wheeh! The doctor checked the 2nd baby’s position and it was vertex and moving down. I think they used some low outlet forceps and within 3 minutes, the 2nd baby was born. A girl!! An even BIGGER GIRL! She weighed 10 LBS 7 oz! Both were strong, vigorous and pink.
    The placentas were delivered and Pitocin IV given (a Pit Drip we called it). She had no complications I can remember. These babies were just the biggest twins I had ever seen or ever did see so far…;-)

    How about you? I have a poll on this page…please answer! I’m interested in your twin stories.

  • The young wife of a prominent local attorney arrived with her mother-in-law to be admitted to the labor room for delivery of her second child in the late 1970’s. She was about a month early, 35 – 36 wks. Her husband was away at a conference. Her belly was pretty big for her small frame. The doctors were all quite concerned about the size of the baby and how it would fit through the birth canal. They decided to send her to X-Ray for Pelvimetry. They would take films and measure the internal size of the bony pelvic inlet, spines and outlet, the compare those with biparietal diameter of her baby’s head. The film showed TWO baby’s heads, not one! Surprise! I’ll never forget the phone call the dad’s sweet refined little mother had to make to her son. She maintained her composure…”Thurston dear, we are at the hospital. Elizabeth is in labor, dear……..yes dear, I am quite aware that she isn’t due yet….Thurston dear, there’s more….. You are having twins darling……..Are you alright dear?? Yes..they are all fine…. we’ll call you back soon. See if you can come home, dear.” Elizabeth and Thurston (names changed for this story) became the proud parents of identical twin girls by vaginal delivery later that morning.

  • One of our OB staff nurses, Sue, had a sister having her third baby. She had 2 boys at home and everyone was hoping for a girl. Nobody ever knew the baby’s sex before the birth back then, unless you had an amniocentesis for medical reasons. Even then, many moms did NOT want to know and it was written on the chart that way. The mom’s labor progressed very quickly and soon she was in the delivery room, her sister Sue at her side. I was designated to wait outside the DR and let all the anxious staff know if it was a girl..
    I couldn’t wait after I heard the baby crying. I peeked in- there was a little 5 pounder squirming on the Kreiselman! It was a boy! The doctor was saying “Check the belly—check the belly, I think there is another one!” Sue was huddled over her sister trying to help calm her while reaching back to hold oxygen oven the baby’s face. I came in to help. Quickly after that, another baby was born! Again, a squirming 4 or 5 lb baby boy! Surprise twins! Everyone was quite shocked! Sue was then holding the one oxygen mask over both babies together while hugging her sister. The boys turned out to be identical and quite handsome young men as they grew up.

An Amazing 1970’s Hypnobirth

Circa 1975– I had the privilege of caring for and witnessing a birth so incredible and controlled that in retrospect, I feel this must have been a hypnobirth. My understanding of a hypnobirth is a focused concentration of the mother where she can be in a total state of physical relaxation yet be truly focused and totally aware, in complete control. I’m sure there is more to it but I am no expert.

The mother arrived first; labor had started at home while dad was at work. She was in early labor trying hard to do some breathing techniques. I thought this was another of the new “natural” childbirths. I was coaching her as best I knew how. When the father arrived, the tone immediately changed. Mom had been struggling to maintain control with breathing. The connection between them was instantly apparent. She relaxed quickly upon his arrival, his touch, his presence and they then slipped into their own world. She became very relaxed. He made it clear to me, nicely, not to interrupt them unless I needed to check on or examine mom or baby. He sat close to her in his own state of relaxation very silent, head bowed. When she would begin a contraction, she lightly touched his finger. He then began an energetic animated and quite interesting fast paced storytelling on which she concentrated during the entire contraction.

The contraction ended, the story stopped and dad was once again silent, relaxed, head bowed…waiting. Mom was very relaxed sometimes dozing until another contraction. She lightly signaled him again, and quickly his story picked up right where he left off with the same energy. This went on for about an hour and a half.

She seemed to be progressing in active labor quickly for a first baby. She sailed right thru transition and went on to push. I honestly don’t remember how long she needed to push but she pushed well with his coaching. He didn’t tell the story during pushing but had her completely relaxed in between pushing. She delivered a beautiful baby boy about 7lbs without any complications or any episiotomy! An AWESOME event!

I asked them about this process they had developed for their birth. She told me she was always mesmerized by his stories that they had decided that would be a good “focal point” for her concentration thru contractions. He told me he didn’t even give her a hint of the story he had planned until he began the tale in the labor room.

I think about them from time to time. I wonder if he writes children’s books or something.

I also wish I could have heard the end of that really good story…..

Childbirth Evolves “You say you want a revolution”

The young pregnant women in the 70’s began to realize they wanted and deserved a better form of childbirth than what was available to them at their local hospitals. They wanted a more natural approach. The Lamaze techniques which started in France in the 50’s (from observations of the Russians) came to the US in the 60’s and made it into the mainstream of “flower children”. Although it wasn’t unheard of, that movement didn’t quite reach our neck of the woods in full force until the 70’s. Many medical staff were solidly unwavering in their principles and still wished to control the entire event.

The fathers were wanting.. and some rightfully so… demanding to be involved and included. The connection that was often witnessed between the couple was no short of amazing to me. I was young, very interested and eager to learn about this “natural childbirth”, so I often let the couples do what they wanted or had prepared and I offered help and support when I could.

The Vintage 1970’s Maternity Ward

Just my own personal impression of how it was when I started in this business..to set the stage for some future stories in the 70's and later as the world changed.

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