August 25, 2011

Protecting the Disabled from Birth Trauma

I am a big advocate of natural and non-invasive childbirth , and I do recognize the rare instances that require the supervision of a physician. One such example was recently brought to my attention.. It is explained in the text of an email below. I understand that "Kay" needed supervision. But her birth story is not to be expected. This is not how birth should be handled, for anyone, especially those like "Kay" who rely on others to protect her well being.

This is from a friend,  "Kay's" foster mom. Its kind of long, I tried to shorten it.. Email sent 8/23/11

"Kay" has  mild Cerebral Palsy (having about 30% use of the left side of her body) she has a seizure disorder, and a "borderline" IQ. It's in her records that all of these are birth related disabilities. Kay is 5 feet five inches tall and weighs about 100 pounds. The Dr's at Shriners Hospital explained her small bone structure was due to her CP and genetics.

When Kay finished school she moved  into an disabled adult apartment complex, that was run by an agency that would help her the rest of her life. After more tests it was determined that Kay needed to be on permanent disability. Her CP makes it difficult for her to walk, sit, stand, etc for long periods of time. We were still very involved with this child and see her weekly. She turned 21 was dropped from state care but was able to stay in this program. She moved into the program on October 2nd 2010, by January 2nd 2011 Kay was pregnant by another resident in the complex. Her due date was August 27th 2011.

 Kay has always been considered a high risk pregnancy because of her multiple issues. In early June the Dr started ordering weekly ultrasounds, and stress tests. I asked over and over is something wrong and they said no it was common practice for everyone. We've had 6 grandchildren born in the last 5 years and NOBODY ever had weekly stress tests and ultrasounds. Every week Kay would go and every week I would ask. One time they said the baby, a girl, was small, only 4-5 pounds and they were concerned. This would send Kay into a panic, and she would binge eat all week. Then the next week they would say the baby's weight was fine, but Kay wasn't gaining enough, or she was anemic, or Kay's measuring too small, or the baby's heart had an unusual beat. Each week Kay would cry all week that either she was sick or the baby was sick and then the next week it was something new. Because of my schedule I haven't been able to go to many appointments so staff members from her program take her, but I call and ask questions. At 9:00 this morning, Monday August 22nd Kay went in for a stress test. Now Kay is either 38 weeks 2 days or 39 weeks 4 days pregnant. The Dr. and ultrasound tech have disputed her due date.

At the end of the stress test they told Kay that she was in labor, having contractions every two minutes, even though she can't feel them yet and needed to be admitted for delivery today. Kay called me and then went home got what she needed for the hospital and was admitted at noon. I checked on her all afternoon but couldn't get there until 6:30 in the evening. I stayed until midnight and the drove back home  , an hour away, leaving her at the hospital and still no baby.

NOW FINALLY comes my rant. KAY'S NOT IN LABOR, and she never was. She's only having the contractions that start preparing your body for labor/delivery. When she was admitted at noon, Kay was dilated 2 cm, and at midnight Kay was still dilated 2 cm. They put her on a pitocin IV as soon as she got to the hospital, and increased the dosage every two hours, per Dr's orders. Kay has had nothing to eat today because she might deliver, she's got two monitors on her stomach checking for contractions and to monitor the baby for signs of distress. She's got a blood pressure cuff on her left arm that reads it every 20 minutes, the oxygen sensor on her right index finger, and two IV's in her right arm. Did I mention her right arm is her good arm and she can't really use it with so much hooked up to it. She's not allowed to get up and walk because they'll have to disconnect the pitocin IV, and she has to lay on her left side because it's better for the baby. Kay's left side tends to tighten up because of her CP and it's extremely painful for her lay on it for any length of time. Kay's confused as to why her baby's not here yet and why she's not dilating. Everything has to be explained to her like you're talking to an 8 year old, and to her going to the hospital means you get your baby. At eleven pm she was bawling and asking them to either release her or do a C-section. They said no to both options, but they offered to do a cervical inflation(?), that will forcibly balloon the cervix open, and speed up delivery or they'd disconnect everything and let her sleep until morning and they'd start the pitocin again at 6am. They're concerned now because the baby is showing signs of stress, but is not in distress, so they can't release Kay. So for now she's disconnected from everything and getting some rest. A staff member from her program is staying there tonight so she's not alone. I'm so so angry I can't even find words. I wanted to yell at the wonderful nurses, but I realize they're only following the Dr's orders. This DOCTOR has taken what should be a wonderful experience for Kay and turned into a horror movie. This will most likely be the only child Kay ever has and while the circumstances are not ideal for Kay to become a mother, she deserves to have wonderful memories of the day her daughter was born, instead of being a science experiment. I understand that this happens all the time, but I feel like she's been taken advantage of because of her disabilities. I'm not even going to discuss everything they had her sign giving permission for tests and shots to the baby as soon as she's born. That would be another hour of writing.

They ( this is the next day8/24) did the Cervical Inflation at 11am and by 4pm she had gone from 2cm to 3cm. The procedure was extremely painful, and they ended up giving her pain medication and then put her on oxygen because the baby's numbers weren't good. At 5pm her water broke on it's own and they immediately gave her an epidural and now she's dilated to 6cm. So She's been hospitalized 36 hours and it'll be several more hours before this baby gets here. At this point I'm just praying the baby doesn't have any permanent or long term effects from everything they've done.

(Update 8/24) Well Kay's baby girl arrived at 1:30 this morning. She's 6lb's 1 oz and 18 inches long. She seems to be fine. After 45 minutes of pushing they gave Kay an episiotomy and then the baby came quickly. When they were checking Kay after the baby was born and getting ready to give her a couple stitches they found that she had tearing in several places in her birth canal, so she's ended up with nearly a dozen stitches. I still feel like most of this could have been avoided if they'd just let her go and have the baby when the baby was ready.

She'd like to nurse but the staff has discouraged her because they think she'll drop the baby. I'm bringing her to my house tomorrow when she's released. I'd like to help her learn how to nurse the baby. It'll be more than 48 hours after birth, I'm thinking she should be able to nurse.

Please keep mama and baby in your prayers. Right now they need to bond and stay healthy.

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