Saturday, January 19, 2013

"That baby is meant to be here"

I had a regular checkup with my OB/GYN yesterday and we started talking about Allie's birth.  My OB didn't delivery Allie but followed us throughout my whole pregnancy and has been seeing me ever since.

I really like her because she is completely straightforward and never hesitates to say "I don't know."  I suppose it is strange that admitting not to know something has become one of my favorite characteristics in a doctor but I would so much rather have a doctor "I don't know but I'll look into it" than to pretend that s/he knows what the answer is.

The other day we finally got Allie's birth records that span about 400 pages---and cost $300!---and as Jonathan and I looked through them, some things definitely seemed unusual.  The first thing is labor length.  According to the records, I was in stage 2 of labor (also known as the "pushing" phase) for over 8 hours.  My OB said that she doesn't like to see patients be in this phase for more than 4 hours.

Another unusual thing was how long it took to get a C-section after it was decided to do one.  My OB said that the baby is supposed to be out within a half hour of calling for the C-section, but it was more like an hour and a half for me.

Lastly, and perhaps the most scary, was that Allie had a true "figure 8" knot in her umbilical cord that was discovered after she was born.  I remember the nurses making a big deal about it and the doctor bringing it over to show me, but at the time I didn't realize how rare this is.  We thought so little of it that we never even mentioned it to our regular OB.  When I mentioned it to her yesterday, she was shocked.  After a few seconds of silence she said "My heart is racing!"  I said "Is it really that unusual?"  She said "In living babies, it is really rare.  We see it most when babies die suddenly in utero and we don't have any idea why... until they're born with a true knot that just got too tight.  When you hear of it in a baby who was born alive, you think 'that baby is meant to be here.'"

I told my OB that I would make her a copy of the full birth records and she is going to look through them, graph how my labor progressed to see if the long labor times are accurate, and speak with the OB who delivered Allie about any remaining questions.  She also told me about these mandatory tests on umbilical cords that the insurance does to see if there is evidence of anything unusual (such as blood supply cut off) and she said she would track down Allie's results and let me know.  Based on Allie's MRI, we don't think that she ever had blood/oxygen cut off.  She very clearly had an infarct (blood clot), which is not caused by a lack of blood.  Still, we'll take all the test results that we can get.

For the sake of fairness and to make it clear that we aren't blaming Allie's stroke on a long labor and a weird knot, she seemed perfect after the birth and had great APGAR scores.

All of this made me reflect upon how lucky we are to have Allie.  The thought that she could have so easily died from something other than the stroke is scary.   I'm going to try to keep this in mind when she is throwing herself on the ground and sobbing because I won't do something for her.  Kind of like she is doing right now.

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