Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Saturday, 30 June 2007

My first emotionally draining doula case

I was called out to do a planned birth for a friend on Monday night at 2am (technically Tuesday). as mentioned in the previous post it was not an easy birth and I think we were all exhausted afterwards - but none more so than the mom who gave everything she had to birth her beautiful baby girl.

I left that birth at around 10am, and had to go straight to work as is. I actually told me colleagues to let me know if they saw or smelled body fluids on me LOL! :) I was not very productive, and I was very happy to get to bed after dragging myself to my yoga class on Tuesday evening. Expecting a nice long restful sleep.

I went to bed at 11 expecting to sleep right through to 7am the next morning, But Murphy's Law intervened. You see I had been called on Monday morning and asked if I would be on standby for the Shelter for Young Abused and Abandoned Mothers I have just signed up to volunteer to and support. I was planning to slowly start fitting in some antenatal prep for the preggy girls they have there and maybe assist some of them when they go into labour - take them to hospital and doula for them, that kind of thing.

No one is due until August so there was no rush and I was just communicating with the social worker and house mother via phone - so far.

They called me on Monday to ask if I can be on standby this week, just in case, because none of their regular people are around right now. It was clear that no one was in need it was just on the very slim chance that anyone was required... well guess what?

My phone rang at 4am on Tuesday. The night mother said their new girl (she only arrived last week) was bleeding and in pain and would I please come. NOW. They thought she was about 7 months pregnant.

I dressed, made coffee and was out of there in no more than 10 minutes. I collected her took her to the hospital and got her settled in. I stayed with her until 7am. The poor girl is tiny and skinny. She is 22, homeless and all alone. She has a poor dad somewhere on a farm. She was living on the street with a boy friend, who was raping her and beating her, and doing tik (crystal meth) and stealing etc. She said she never drank or took drugs or anything. Good girl. She ran away from him last week, she said she knows he is looking for her and is scared. So Sad

I had a letter from the social worker for the hospital and it said she wasn't sure if she was keeping the baby. I asked her some gentle questions and she seemed emotionally wanting to keep it and smiled about the baby every time we spoke of it. She knew it was a girl and when I felt baby moving through her tummy and said 'that's her bum sticking out here' she had such a twinkle in her eyes. But she has no idea how she would look after the baby. She has nothing. She asked what would happen if the baby is born because she has no clothes.

She was having contractions every 3 mins for 45 seconds and being so stoic about it all. The midwife on duty said she dilating and had a show. But the dr who came at 6:30am said no she was not in active labour!? HUH? Anyway she was moved to the 'first stage ward' where I was not allowed to be, and they started the steroid shots etc as they estimated her to be 34 weeks or so. They were getting ready to do an US when I left.

I asked them to call me if she went back to the labour ward proper in prep for the birth, because I want to go back to be with her.

I then had to dash home change, drop kids at school and go to work. even more of a zombie than the day before...

I couldn't stop thinking of her. I even had the thought that I would keep the baby, if it turned out she can't. But I told her that if she wants to keep her baby we will help her to find a way to do that, and she mustn't worry about that. She is so lovely and childlike herself. I hope she is going to be ok.

Sometimes the world is sad....

I managed to leave work early to get back to her at the 3pm visiting hours. I then went to the safe house and got her some clothes and toiletries and then went to get her some food, drink and treats and went back to see her in the evening.

I managed to speak to some friendly and helpful nurses and a doctor. At the time they were not sure exactly what her status was, as no one wanted to do a vaginal exam, due to her being prem and not wanting to aggravate that. but they had given her antibiotics x2, morphine and something else for pain, and some steroid shots. She had an US and they estimated the baby to be 2.6kgs. GOOD! Her notes said STOP for all medication, so she was in limbo and waiting for something to happen...

I had to leave again for the night on Wednesday. I called on Thursday morning and she was still there in the antenatal ward and they said she was stable on bed rest. So I went back at the 3pm visiting hours (not much of my day-job has been done this week!!!) by then she was having quite intense contractions about every 8-10 mins. Her notes say she was examined and found to be 2cm sometime during the day, but no time was given. There was still no estimate of when she'd go through to L&D, but I thought it would be soon.

I dashed home again sorted out the kids, thanked Richard for being so wonderful, and freely allowing me to come and go like this and he picks up all the slack at home and with the kids (I am so grateful for that, he knows how important this work is to me), I then went back for the 7pm visiting hour.

No social worker had been to see her yet, so I was trying to do what I could to fill that role.

Her contractions had picked up and I knew I wouldn't be leaving. Luckily there was a nice nurse on duty who didn't mind me staying in that ward after visiting hours had ended. She agreed with me that it looked like this was it. She did an internal and she was at 4cm.

By 9:30 we were in L&D. We were to stay there and out of the way until 1:30am, when she was scheduled for her next VE. They wanted a good CTG trace and instead the mum lie flat on her back, which was clearly not comfortable and I couldn't support her nicely or rub her back that way, so she kept rolling over or even sitting up, following her body's cues. We got told off a few times for disrupting the trace and threatened that she wouldn't get Morphine without the trace. WTF you get made to lie in THE most uncomfortable position to get drugs you wouldn't want or need if you were able to get up!!

I was feeling a bit emotional in the L&D because as mentioned mom wasn't sure if she could (logistically not emotionally) keep the baby, and the midwives said she must decide because if she wasn't keeping they whip the baby away and don't let her see or hold baby!!!!

As I said, I am no social worker, but in my dealing with her she was fond of and attached to baby already. I phoned the home and they said she didn't have to decide right then and CAN hold and love the baby for the night and decide in a day or so, in consultation with a social worker. So I just told the midwives she IS keeping baby for now.

I called Richard to vent a bit and he said I could bring her to our house for a week to help her out, if necessary. The home wanted her to go back, without baby and then decide in a few days!

I told them I'd be more than happy to do a temp fostering so baby doesn't have to stay at the hospital if that happens and she said no because I am not registered.

From about 11pm the contractions were getting tough and closer together. I knew things were progressing but she coped really well considering, and I thought we still had hours to go. So did everyone else. Suddenly she said 'I'm pushing', I dashed next door, told the midwife there, and went back.

Midwife came over pulled out a birth kit, mom got next contraction and started pushing and by the end of the contraction the baby was out! It shot out, and had a nuchal hand so she tore as well. The baby weighed 2.5kgs and was declared not less than 36 weeks and perfectly fine.
Once born the midwife literally said 'There you saw the baby, now you must take it'

She held and loved the baby and was breastfeeding when I left. I know the reality of a baby is HARD, so does she. And she doesn't have a stable life. But she does know a lady Aunty 'N' who she phoned from my phone in labour and then after the birth and this lady was with her today when I visited and is going to help her.

I hope she is going to be ok. I have given her my numbers and told her to call any time.

Gosh it is hard not to get emotionally invested. I feel drained!!

One thing is for sure I feel like I am getting a lot of experience here. and despite the tiredness and emotionality of it all I LOVE it.

I have 9 babies now

So I have now been a doula at the birth of 9 babies! *

It's been awesome, but this week was EXHAUSTING. I did 2 this week, one was middle of the night call out and toughie, but mom did GREAT! The second was emotionally tough and very time consuming...

It's funny but after being so privileged to witness the births of these precious babies I feel quite attached to them. So I now have 9 doula babies.

* - Couldn't find a doula/mid-wife baby counter ticker so I am using this one which is for exercise goals...

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Quinn's big week

I am so so so proud of Quinn!!!

As you may know he is the very youngest in his Grade. He started Grade 1 at just 6 years old last year - as his birthday is on 3 January and a school readiness assessment deemed him ready... still he was by far the youngest kid in the school and there were some concerns over this... especially with regard to his writing skills and general Occupational Therapy-type issues.
(I wrote about it here, and here, and here and here, and here, and here and here and here get the idea.) ;)

Well he is now half way through Grade 2 (noting that some of the Grade 1s are even older than him) and is doing great! We are waiting for his official school report next week, but he has come home with not 1, not 2 but 3 achievements this week. Smile

He got the Merit badge and certificate this week at assembly for 'Beautiful neat hand writing and neat pattern work'.

Then he got the 'Good Thinking' certificate for 'Doing Good Maths'

AND he got sent to the head master's office to show off his work books to get praised accordingly and get a lollipop.

I am thrilled with him. He really enjoys school and I knew he was ready and we couldn't keep him back.

In other news, he also lost his third tooth this week.

And earned his cycling badge at Cubs.

It's been a big week for him!

Friday, 15 June 2007

My movie director debut...

Here is my first ever movie... directed by and starring moi.

A Portrait of Jane 1999 - 2006

It's crap - you were warned!

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Baby Update -11 weeks old

For those that are interested I saw my favourite baby on Friday. I thought it was time for another update.

Last time he was 6 weeks old.

Quick recap:
- He was born at 28 weeks due to pre-term labour brought on by a uterine infection. He weighed 1.160kgs.
- He went home at 6 weeks weighing 1.6 kgs

He is now just over 2.5 months old (11 weeks) and is doing well at home. He breast feeds, as well as cup feeding expressed milk (he is able to take in more with a cup as breastfeeding is hard and tiring for a tiny baby).
He now weighs 2.105 kgs (still TINY) and is growing nicely. Mom baby and little brother are doing well. In his nearly 3 year old brothers words 'He is SO CUTE!

Can you believe his EDD is next Saturday!

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Everybody else is doing it...

So it seems like the whole world is on Face Book...

I decided it was time to to join in the fun... HERE

It is amazing who you find there... old boyfriends, long lost school friend, my neice, my step-sister... surreal!

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Q & G isms

  • Q on finishing his dinner, 'I need a tooth pig' (tooth pick).I asked him if that's a microscopic miniature pig that roots around in your teeth eating out remnants. That would work well!
  • G while retelling a story from school, '...and Kayla said a Rock Violet killed her little dog' (Rottwieler)
  • After telling Quinn he WAS going to school on Monday (he was off on Friday due to the massive public servant strike). 'No, there's no school, we are on strike!' Dream on dude! I told him he'd get a strike on his bum if he wasn't careful - we were joking!

Monday, 4 June 2007

I watched a Caesarean yesterday

I got to actually watch a Caesarean yesterday.

I had to sit on a stool next to the mom's shoulders, but other than that was able to see everything that was going on! Laughing

The mom had been labouring for 20+ hours and was still only 4cm dilated, the baby's head was not dropping and the baby's heart rate was dipping during contractions. I had popped in after lunch to help out and had spent a few hours with the mom. They had put her on pitocin a few hours earlier to try to speed things along, and she was getting quite uncomfortable... so the call was made to play it safe and rather send her for a Caesarean.

It was kind of like Grey's Anatomy - the intern who was called to assist had never scrubbed in before. So I watched through the window while the surgeon taught her how to scrub in. and O.M.G. they clean up THOUROUGHLY. There is no doubt those hand are clean after that. Yikes. I am actually surprised they still have skin on their arms after a day of multiple surgeries.

I had to wait outside the theatre until the docs were ready, and until the epidural was in (I still don't understand why the mom can't have some support WHILE the epidural is being administered!? It must be scarey and I am sure she could do with some soothing, plus I'd love to see an epidural being done)

The anaesthetist was a tall, HOT, deep-voiced black man. I do believe I may have swooned just a little in his company *blush* And he had the most stunning wedding ring I have ever seen on a
man. (It was silver - probably platinum, with tiny diamonds circling it right around the middle) Really pretty and sparkly and looked so good on his manly hand.... but I digress... sighe Wink Embarassed


I was able to sit and see pretty much everything. It was incredible. I have never been sure if I'd really be able to cope with seeing right inside someone like that - I kind of suspected I'd be fine *, but I don't think you ever know until you are there. It didn't bother me at all, and I am just so fascinated by it all.

So I saw them slicing all the layers and the doc was explaining it all to the student:
"What's that layer?"
"That's the visceral sheath"
Cool huh!?

It is still a bit freaky to see them pulling her open - with their bare (well double gloved actually) hands, and then the intern almost climbing on top of the mom to apply enough fundal pressure to pop the baby out. That takes a lot of force and looks really unpleasant!

It was really cool to see the little head sticking out of her tummy before it's body was all born. A big boy weighing 4.06kgs.
Once baby was fine - he had a cord around the neck, which is why his heart rate was dipping during contractions and why he wasn't descending - we showed him to mom and I took some photos for her.

Then the theatre nurse told me to go out with her and baby, and she gave me the baby to look after for the mom. I was quite astounded. I mean I was more than happy to hold the baby and coo to him, but was quite surprised that they were separating mom and baby for their first 30-45 minutes and that baby was not identifiable and no one was really watching me. Seems like a huge risk! Shocked Shocked Shocked

Anyway mom came out and I was there waiting to give her her gorgeous little boy and help her to get him latched - which took longer than when it's done within 15 minutes of birth.

I don't think I will ever get tired of seeing babies being born Smile

The hospital was a lot calmer and more friendly yesterday than last time I went, and a few of the nurses and doctors wee interested in what I was doing and how to go about becoming a doula etc.

Anyway I just wanted to share my latest birth experience.

Note: The pictures are not from this birth, they are just representative...


* When I was at varsity
I ended up in a hospital as part of one of my courses and saw 2 just embalmed people Shocked (shame it was a 60+ couple), which was slightly shocking and I had to remind myself not to think that they had been alive less than 24 hours before.

Then we saw some cadavers that had been fully dissected for study purposes and which had been there for 10+ years - those had REALLY strong chemical smells which made it a little tough to handle. I had been fairly sure that it was just the smell that was off putting not the sight, but it was hard to tell.