Friday, August 20, 2010

Birth Records

A few months ago, I wrote that I wanted to review my birth records with the midwives to better understand what led to my cesarean. Well, today I did it. I went over my chart. Talk about emotional!! I am pretty much a wreck right now. In fact, when I was walking to the car afterward, I managed to lose the parking ticket you need to get out of the lot at Magee. I had to go back inside and get the valet to print me a new stub. (Luckily I had not lost my receipt)

Anyway, I also wrote about this chart reading on my personal blog, but wanted to share some of my thoughts and talk a bit about what was in that record. For one thing, it never said "emergency" or "elective" in reference to my c-section. It was just a bunch of paragraphs with headers like "indications for cesarean."

The first paragraph matched with my memory. It detailed my progression and effacement and stuff. I was happy to see the words "progressing normally" even though I wasn't opening at the prescribed 1cm per hour timeline OBs like to see. Of course, I should expect midwives to know that opening is allowed to take longer than that!

Then, the report began to talk about my son's heart rate and I was both shocked and relieved to see how low it was for how long and what measures they had taken to bring it back up. I learned about all sorts of things such as intrauterine resuscitation, the fact that it was a full 10 minutes from noting a heart rate of 40 BPM until they began operating, and also that they had given me a drug called terbutaline.

I need to read more about this drug, but apparently it slows down contractions. In the end, I asked the midwife about my deep, dark fear. At the center of all my "what-if" fears had been the memory of someone asking me a question: do you want this procedure? It seems as though I must have said yes in the operating room, but of course I didn't want it AT ALL. For months, I agonized over what would have happened if I'd said no.

The midwife today told me that there had not been time to seek written consent for the surgery and what I was remembering was likely the doctor obtaining verbal consent for the procedure. Very different from me having a choice about it!

I feel a lot of closure after having that discussion. I feel, finally, that I really did all I could to avoid surgery and that my midwife did all she could to avoid me having surgery, and even after that, the attending OB did all he could to avoid it, too.

I could spend the next year trying to figure out why my baby's heart rate dipped and he didn't drop, but I no longer feel like I need to do that. Today was a big day.

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