I attended a birth overnight. The baby was born around 3:45 am.
The little one had a hard time breathing. She swallowed an inordinate amount of amniotic fluid and needed to be whisked off to the nursery for oxygen and further testing.
The mom, brave and courageous and strong, labored beautifully. I mean, I cannot stress that enough. She was a goddess, channeling an amount of power and energy beyond comprehension. She was a woman in labor.
After about an hour of baby in nursery, the pediatrician came in to say that although baby was pinking up really well and gettng vigorous, the x-rays showed babe's lungs to have a lot of fluid, such that she was given a diagnosis of pneumonia.
No good reason was offered for the why of it, and I'm not really expecting one. Labor is chaos, pure and simple. Chaos has no rules, no safe places; every minute is a wild card that needs neither logic nor precedence to permit the next moment's happenings.
The docs then mumbled something about baby's possible distress during the descent, because she only pushed for an hour before giving birth. And yes, it is common for babies to inhale a little fluid if they get stressed out in the process. So, sure, that explanation makes sense. It was the way that they sort of, slightly, pointed a finger at mom and said "your labor was too fast for your little one." And I wanted to say to them, because I caught that little pointed finger, and I'm a caretaker, and I'm her doula and its my job, "hey! You are the ones who encouraged her to do the long, holding the breath, kind of pushes because you said it would makes things faster!"
But I didn't. Its not my job to pick fights.
But I wonder about that. If she was left to do her own short grunty pushes, would that have made a difference? Baby's descent would have been slower, which might have been better, or it might have been worse. Too long in the canal and a baby can stress out. Too long in the canal and it can get life-threatening. But too fast a birth can and will freak a baby out. So...what's the middle ground here? What is normal? When is it great to go slow and when is it great to work a little harder?
This just brings me around to one of the great medical fallacies that I keep encountering: One Way Will Work For Everybody. The Magic Bullet mythology.
If every birth is chaos, how can there be set rules that work 100% of the time? When will the medical establishment finally be encouraged to use their intuition, trust in their patients, keep listening to the fetal heart tones and if everything is great, well then, shut up, sit back, and let the process happen!
Sorry. Got a little fired up.
So, my heart and prayers go out to the little family that I walked up to the gate of parenthood with early this morning. May baby claim her own body, may the parents claim their transition into parenthood, and may all of them heal, mend, bond, and fall in love.