pitocin

Wende's Birth

I met Wende a few weeks before she was due. She had just moved to CA from Massachutes where her, her husband and their daughter had been living for a few years. Before that they lived in the Netherlands. I received an e-mail from her saying that she needed some help during labor because they are new to the area and don’t have any friends or family to watch their daughter so her husband will not be able to attend the birth of their second daughter. We talked and decided to meet at a restaurant to see if I could help her. Right away I loved her honesty and openness. She was very real. Wende told me she was induced with her first daughter, but didn’t have any other interventions. She didn’t want to have an epidural this time around either, she just didn’t see the point. I told her to talk with her husband and that I should meet him to, so we did that and they decided to have me as their doula.

It was November 2nd, Wende went in for her usual non-stress test (NST) that she did every Tuesday for the last couple weeks. She had been “uncomfortable” all night and couldn’t sleep. She though it possibly could have been contractions, but wasn’t sure. In the morning Wende told me she was having more discharge and at about 11 it was pink. I was pretty sure she was in early labor and was finally dilating, but I didn’t want to get her too excited, so I told her to go about her normal activities and to eat well. This was 4 days past her due date and during our first conversation she told me she was going to be early. Friday on her due date, she still was dilated to 0 cm. She wasn’t too excited about that.

The NST showed dips in the baby’s heart rate every time she had a contraction which were about 6 or 7 minutes apart. The doctor wanted to put her on pitocin to see how the baby would react to it. So Wende e-mailed me telling me they were going to induce her. I told her I’d just have to drop off my kids and I’d be at the hospital. I arrived at 3 pm and her husband was already there. Their daughter was in day care, so her husband was able to be there for part of the birth. The baby seemed to be doing good, no more dips in her heart rate and Wende was handling the contractions fine. She told us not to stop talking during a contraction at this point. Rudie, Wende’s husband had to leave to pick up their daughter, but a coworker of his said she could spend the night there, so he took her over there after they had dinner together.

While Wende’s husband was gone the contractions started to increase in intensity. Wende was still handling them beautifully, the only change was she wanted some quiet during them. A couple hours later, the monitor wasn’t getting a correct read on the baby. Her heart rate was showing 80, but when the nurse would listen by ear, it was sounding much higher. The nurse then decided to ask the doctor to rupture Wende’s membranes so they could put an internal fetal monitor in. Wende was told it would be a male doctor and she wasn’t too comfortable with this. I asked if they had a female and there wasn’t one available to do that. So the doctor comes in and breaks her water. This was probably the most difficult part of labor. Wende had a lot of trouble relaxing and it was painful to her. I think it was just a lot with the male doctor, a couple of nurses, she had to be on her back and the lights were very bright. All those sensations just lead up to a rough time for this part. After that Wende was able to get back into her rhythm with the contractions and she was doing wonderful again. But the baby’s heart rate was reading in the 250’s about 100 beats too high. There was no maternal fever and Wende’s heart rate wasn’t increased so there was really no explanation for this. They turned off the pitocin, re-did the internal monitor, used a hand held doppler to measure the heart rate and changed out the machine, but still 210 - 260. So they started talking to Wende about a possible cesarean.
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At this point I asked the nurse if they knew this happened a couple of weeks ago and they didn’t. They also couldn’t find it in her records. So now they were thinking it is just an arrhythmia in the baby’s heart. I called Rudie to tell him what was going on and there may be a c-section. At about 7:30 the doctor filling in for Wende’s OB came in to tell her the plan. This doctor was a female, that was good. Anyway, she said they need to do a c-section because they can’t monitor how the baby is doing with the contractions with her heart so high and if the baby needs medication for her heart, they can’t do it inutero. So I asked if they can wait for her husband to arrive and I also asked if the baby’s heart went back to normal if she can continue with labor. The doctor did not want to do that just incase. Rudie was about a half hour away so they said they would wait. Around 7:45 Rudie arrived and the baby’s heart was finally back to normal. So they went to have the c-section and Jill their new little girl was born at 8:42 pm, November 2, 2010. She was 8 lbs, 6 oz and 19 3/4 inches long. Her apgar scores were 9 at 1 minute and 9 at 5 minutes. Even through Jill had wonderful apgar scores and her heart was normal, the neonatal doctor wanted her monitored in the NICU for 24 hours. So Jill had to be separated from her mom for 24 hours.
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Now, 2 days later, Jill is doing wonderful, she was back with her mom just under 24 hours and she has started nursing and doing so well that Wende’s milk is in. Wende is feeling much better after her surgery, each hour she says, she feels better. It was wonderful that Rudie made it to be there for the birth of their daughter. They were both worried that he might have to miss it. Especially since it was a surgery she was able to have her husband there with her. Everything in God’s perfect timing. In the end, Wende prefers the vaginal birth because the recovery is better, but she liked that the c-section was very quick and easy. So what matters most is a healthy mom and baby.

Pitocin

I received my International Doula magazine last week and saw on the front, “Is Pitocin Associated with Childhood Autism?” My first thought was this should be interesting, I can’t wait to see what it says. Then I started thinking more, if we say something else is related to Autism, people are just going to ignore it all. But in reality, autism cannot be explained by genetics alone, there are environmental triggers. So, needless to say I was anxious to read the article to see what it had to say. But, being a mom and a doula, it took me a week to find time to actually sit down and read it. Now that I finally did, I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

I have known that the rate of children getting diagnosed with autism has dramatically increased in recient years. I was amazed to see the actual numbers. According to the CDC, just one in 5,000 children were diagnosed in 1980. In 1990, it was one in 1,000 and in 2000 one in 500 children were diagnosed with autism. Then the numbers just keep increasing each year and currently one child in 110 are diagnosed with autism and one in just 70 boys. I couldn’t believe the numbers. That is crazy! We’ve got to do something. Can we go back to all natural? Stop giving our kids and moms all the chemicals in our foods, toys, makeup, dishes and furniture, some of those chemicals are known and some hidden in our environment. Now, I have to say, some people that know me think I may be a little extreme with the no chemicals, I won’t let my kids eat off any plastics if I don’t know whether there are BPA’s, I have all natural make-up, we eat almost all organic, I don’t like having plastic toys in my house and I won’t let my kids eat anything with food coloring, there are no pesticides or herbicides on our property... the list just goes on. But I feel better safe then sorry and I am confident I am not giving my kids some hidden disease.

So anyway, back to the article and the really interesting stuff. After showing the numbers, the article states that the rates of autism has steadily increased for 2 decades and so have the rates of labor inductions and the use of pitocin, but that autism is nearly non-existant in the home-birth community.

Autism Today is calling for more research on the pitocin-autism connection. They have published a letter by the American College of Domiciliary Midwives/California College of Midwives that you can read at http://www.autismtoday.com/articles/ATTN_Researchers.htm In this letter they are saying they need more research starting with the womb, they are thinking that it is possible since oxitocin is the “love hormone” (it is responsible physiological onset of labor, breastfeeding and sexual orgasm, all of which include important emotional bonding and loving connection), that pitocin from an animal has ramifications in the babies ability to love. Oxitocin is in-fact already being used therapeutically in a nasal spray for adults with autism and when it is inhaled there is a positive effect on the patients social behavior, sensitivity, generosity and trust. Some patients, eye contact, facial recognition , social cues and identification of emotions has increased. Also, previous research has shown that people with autism have low levels of oxitocin. Is it possible that pitocin messes up the newborn’s oxytocin system.

There have been recent studies to show, individuals with autism were more likely to have been born by induced births, to have experienced fetal distress and to have been born with low Apgar scores. Another study showed rates of birth complications were higher in children with autism then without. Birth complications are usually a result of medically managed births.

The article was long and there was more, but this was the stuff that really sat with me. So, my thoughts... the wide use of pitocin is increasing but it is still so new. Do you want to risk it with your child? If your doctor wants to induce labor, take your care into your own hands, ask, “Is my baby in distress?” Tell the doctors office you are willing to do a non-stress test and an ultra sound to see if your baby is still healthy in the womb. If he or she is still healthy, that is where your baby should stay until he/she is ready to be born.

Sarah's birth

I had my first birth as the primary doula! It was very exciting. Sarah was the mom and first I have to say she was amazing. She was having consistent labor at 5 pm Monday night with her contractions 5 minutes apart, by 1 am they got to 3 minutes apart, so her and her husband (Keith) decided to go to the hospital. They then called me and asked me to meet them there.
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When I got to the hospital, Sarah was in very good spirits, she had to stop for her contractions, but other then that everything was normal. Well, she was tired. Sarah was worried about not getting any sleep and having enough energy for the labor. When she checked in the nursed checked her progress and she was 2 1/2 centimeters! Wow, I couldn’t believe she wasn’t more dilated. Aren’t many women dilated to 3 before even feeling the labor rushes? However, Sarah didn’t seem to get discouraged. The nurse did discover that she was leaking fluid and had been for most of the day, so we were staying till the baby was born. Keith and I went right to work keeping Sarah busy, moving, drinking and going to the bathroom.

In the early morning, Sarah’s doctor came to visit and she did a vaginal check. During this check, she discovered Sarah was now 4 centimeters and firm. “What, oh no!!?” was my initial thought, but I continued with the encouragement and we kept her moving once again. We tried the birthing ball, laying down, hands and knees, squats and walking the halls. So the doctor came back in about 11:15 later that morning (Tuesday). At this time, there was no change in dilation, so Sarah was put on a pitocin drip. From then on, her contractions stayed in the same rhythm, but worked better for her body.

A few hours later Sarah was in transition and before we knew it, she was 9 3/4 centimeters. She stayed that way for about 2 hours! But still, she seemed like she was slightly uncomfortable and kept up the changing positions, drinking her water, eating her popsicles. Keith and I were amazed with how hard she worked without 1 complaint the entire time. Baby Gavin was finally born at 6:32 Tuesday night, he was 8 lbs, 6 oz.
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Kristen at Conscious Birth is serving Placentia, Yorba Linda, Fullerton, Brea, Anaheim and other Orange County, CA cities. I am also very near, some Riverside and San Bernardino County cities. If you are interested in meeting with me, please e-mail kristen@bestocdoula.com or call 714/269-0172.