I guess you could say I am a bit of a hippie when it comes to anything dealing with modern medicine. I’ve fought vaccinations for the Habanero when he was first born, I was determined to have a natural birth and breastfeed my child for at least a year before I had him. Some of my opinions on all these things have changed as I was not able to do what I desired by my circumstance. Now in my second pregnancy and thinking about how I’d like the birth experience to be different than it was the first time, I thought it might be a good time to document what happened (as I recall) since I never really did.
I’m the kind of person that looks for natural remedies as much as possible – I don’t swear everything else off I just prefer to try something natural first before resorting to antibiotics. I don’t think that vaccines are worth the fuss that is made over them and feel that for the most part all they do is interfere with your own immune system function you were naturally given.
So when I was going to have the little man, I didn’t want to go to a hospital. I did my research, I read the horror stories of drugs, surgery and induction. While I give some credit to the fact that generally speaking there are more people out there who write negative things than positive (because hey, who doesn’t like to complain) I also try to stay objective as much as I can. I’m an educated person, usually putting a lot of time and effort into research so it’s kind of comical now thinking back on it that I essentially refused to do any studying on having surgery for birth because it wasn’t going to happen to me.
In the beginning my water broke earlier than 40 weeks, right around 38. I attribute this pretty much to the fact that we moved into our new home and I overdid it on the move, rupturing my bag with only a slight, barely noticeable leak. It wasn’t until the morning after I think the waters actually tore more that I started to lose them with any significance. I was told to go to the hospital immediately despite the fact that I had no contractions because I had tested positive for Strep B and they wanted to start IV antibiotics ASAP before labor began.
I spent 24 hours in the hospital, with no labor progression. Because there was no activity (the little man was still refusing to do anything) I got to be induced by Pitocin. I had wanted to use the tub in my hospital room to help relieve the pain of labor, but was unable to because I had been induced which forced me to be bedridden (another requirement I didn’t know about). I had read that being induced non-naturally can cause much more pain than natural contractions and I don’t know if it was true, or if it was because of the baby’s position and having “back labor” but I couldn’t stand the pains and broke down and got an epidural; something which I had been so very against doing. At that point I stopped caring about drugs because well, nothing was going the way I had wanted and I wasn’t allowed to leave the bed anyways. I felt as if pretty much any damage there was to be done had already happened.
The sad truth is that c-section surgeries are very common in the U.S. as far as I can tell really with no good reason. Most likely because they cost whole hell of a lot more than a traditional birth. I ended up with a c-section delivery because the Habanero slid down into my pelvis in a way that made it impossible for him to be turned or delivered naturally. He was what they call posterior, or Sunny Side Up, meaning rather than his face facing my back, he was facing my belly. My midwife and doctor claimed that vaginal delivery was at this point impossible and because his heart rate was affected by my pushing I was forced to consent to a c-section delivery. About 12 hours after I had been induced my son was pulled into the world via doctor’s gloves.
Because of all the antibiotics and drugs, and non-natural progression of labor I really do feel that my ability to be a mother in the first few days suffered significantly. Besides the after affects of surgery alone on my abilities physically, I think all the chemicals rushing through my system really affected my son. My milk never really “came in” despite my best efforts to keep pumping – for 6 months I could never get my body to produce more than a couple of 6 oz bottles a day, usually two at most.
After it all I have so many questions, and maybe it’s because of my lack of knowledge… but I can’t help but wonder why something wasn’t said to me sooner about the possibility of surgery because of the babies position. In fact, nothing was said to me before labor was induced about the position being a possible hurdle to overcome. I was so beyond frustrated by my whole first experience, that you might think I was crazy to go back to the same provider for my second pregnancy, but I did anyways. I had my first visit with the doctor who had delivered the Habanero, and was told that more than likely I will have another c-section since “I had already had one”. This made me so mad, that I immediately went in search of another provider. It truly is ridiculous that there are some doctors that, rather than give their patient the benefit of the doubt about their birth plan, would not even be supportive about the option of a VBAC.
Speaking of searching for providers, can you believe I was actually turned away by a birthing center during my last pregnancy because my BMI was too high? They claimed it made me more high risk since I was on the high end of their acceptable range, they told me that they wouldn’t see me.
For my first posting about club foot, I wanted to give a little insight on why I decided to include this in my blog. At my second to last ultrasound during my pregnancy, our tech told us that we were going to possibly have a child with club foot on at least one side. She couldn’t confirm whether it would be both feet. In fact, 50% of cases of club foot are bi-lateral (meaning on both feet). We left our appointment feeling pretty shocked and very upset. What did club foot mean anyways? Sure we would immediately look up medical definitions online after leaving the office but that was no help.
Did this mean that our child would have a hard time walking? Would he be able to play sports? Why did it take so long before someone mentioned this to us? We had been getting very regular ultrasounds throughout my pregnancy because of the size of our little one but this was the first we were hearing that there might be any abnormality with his legs.
I’m not sure if it was just an oversight or if it’s something that developed very late in the pregnancy as he grew. Either way, needless to say the online information was not really very helpful. So I started searching famous people who were born with club foot disability and I found a handful of athletes who have been very successful in their careers : Mia Hamm, Kristi Yamaguchi, Troy Aikman, Pat Summerall, Leroy Butler to name a few. This was comforting news to a parent with so many questions.
I remember feeling such disappointment as I heard one of the nurses exclaim, “He’s got club feet!” after he entered this world. Being a C-Section, I didn’t get to see him come out, and hearing that put me into immediate tears. Even thinking about it now wells me up. As it turns out this test of parenting would only be one of the many so early on. As a mother, I felt like I had done something wrong. Why didn’t I grow him right? Was it something I did when I was pregnant? Would my child have a lifetime of obstacles because I messed something up? I drank my water, I took my vitamins. What happened?
Nothing I could find online talked about these feelings I would have or if it did, I guess you could say I was guilty of not doing very in-depth research in advance mostly because the tech had said he might have it. Well there were a lot of “mights” during my pregnancy and thank God none of them came true except this one. Despite this being a clear and present defect at birth my pediatrician told us to wait to see an orthopedist. Can you believe that? She said, “it might fix itself”. Clearly this something she had never dealt with in the past. As it turns out… these things don’t fix themselves.
Since I didn’t know any better, I took her word for it. We waited a month, and at his 1 month appointment I finally convinced her to give us a referral to see an orthopedist. On our very first appointment we were told that he was glad we had brought our son in so early, but he told us that we should have started him on the treatment immediately after birth. Again, feeling like I had failed as a mother by not having my child’s best interest at heart I was disappointed.
As the next couple of months whizzed by I rarely left the house, especially not with my son, because I didn’t want to have to deal with the attention I realized we got very quickly by having a child in full leg casts. Every time we did go out, I tried very hard to cover up the casts with full leg pajamas or blankets.
Even still, I find myself struggling with this as he is in casts again. I can tell you what helped the most in those early days is that when people did see his casts, they would assure me that everything would be okay. Several of these strangers had experienced club foot themselves, or known someone that had and they made a point to reach out to me – wherever we were – and comfort me. With every confirmation, my confidence in their statements was built up more and more. And so, probably the most important bit of information I have to impart on this blog about club foot to other parents or family members of club foot babies is that everything will be okay.
Seek the proper treatment for your child early, do what they tell you to do (unless you feel it is wrong as a parent, use your instinct!). Your child won’t have any sort of delay in their learning to walk or any other ability if you do. Despite the Habanero being in casts, he gets around just as well as any of the other babies in class. He stands just like they do and true to his age and gender still gets into everything!