Tag Archives: shoulder dystocia

TSAB 2 of 3: Hiccups

While Little Ring’s entrance into this world was a super speedy one, it didn’t come without a few hiccups.

Last Wednesday when my obstetrician recommended we move the induction date up, it wasn’t just because of the hefty size of my little babe. A blood test showed my liver enzymes had been hosting a Cholestasis Bash in my belly, which was causing the incessant stomach itch I’d been enduring for more than a month. My ob wanted me to go in that day, but given my reaction (I was still working, Big Ring was also working more than an hour away, I didn’t have my suitcase with me, didn’t have a take-home outfit for baby, hadn’t selected our movies yet… I was NOT ready!) she agreed we could wait until the next morning.

But when I called the maternity triage, Thursday morning, they said the NICU was full; we would have to wait. Instead, I was instructed to go to the hospital for another non-stress test to make sure baby was okay. It was there that my obstetrician laid out the urgency of the situation: There was no guarantee my baby would require a bed in the NICU, she said, but because I was already technically high risk with my diabetes and because I was delivering three weeks early, and because there was that whole shoulder dystocia concern, it was a possibility. And with cholestasis, she said, there was also a chance of stillbirth if we waited too long to deliver. Uh, what?

The solution: She told me a hospital in Surrey had room and was willing to take us. I nearly broke down at this point. After 9 months of planning, preparing, carefully selecting, I did NOT want my kid being born in Surrey, I did not want my kid getting the Surrey stamp (Surrey = the slum of the West Coast) right off the hop.

I know that sounds selfish, but take into account that I specifically chose this hospital because of its newness, because I had yet to form a grudge against it, because I had a great family support network all around it. I toured this hospital, had become comfortable with the maternity ward and its staff through my various appointments. Surrey, I didn’t know, I didn’t trust, and by golly, it was SURREY!!!

After talking it over, Big Ring and I decided to take our chances. They’d induce me and if our baby required the nursery post delivery, he’d be shipped to another hospital that had room. It was a scary thought being separated from my baby, but we truly believed he would be fine, that he’d be kicking and wailing just as loud as the next healthy newborn.

We weren’t wrong.


Waiting for a room. Waiting to be induced. Waiting to meet my little man.

Little Ring came out strong and healthy, he didn’t require any assistance with breathing, his wailing lungs got a good workout from the moment he was out, the shoulder dystocia concern was a non entity, his blood sugars were a bit low to start, but quickly rose to adequate numbers.


Giving tummy time serious thought 😀

I, however, had a few more issues to contend with. Before my water was broken, I was told I was a carrier of group b strep, which can cause serious lung infection and even death if passed onto the baby through the birth canal. As a result, I required an IV drip of penicillin to protect my little guy. But the thing is, despite having gloriously robust veins that nearly every blood extracting technician compliments, the nurse who was in charge of getting the IV line in me could not find a suitable vein… she tried four times, was pushing and twisting, but the line kept getting stuck halfway in, not budging another inch. At the time, it wasn’t a huge deal, I was already in the throes of contractions which were taking my mind off the poking pain, but the next morning, and subsequent days after, my hands and forearms were covered in painful bruises!

But, given how my pregnancy was full of hiccups, obstacles, challenges from the moment Little Ring first became a zygote in my belly, should I really have expected a labour that would go 100 per cent smooth? Nah, that would have been too easy 😀

The big ‘C’

I’m not Brittany, and I’m not Christina. I’ve run marathons, half marathons, countless other races. I’ve ridden up the demanding hills of Horseshoe Bay on my bike, and twice in one day up Jericho. I can climb the Grouse Grind in a respectable 55 minutes. And I thought, as scary as the prospect is (just like all those other things once were) I could surely compete in childbirth too. The docs, however, seem to have other ideas.

A couple weeks ago my obstetrician asked what my intentions were regarding childbirth. It’s not the first time I’ve been asked this question, so I was prepared, and instantly said I wanted to go the natural way. She gave me a questionable look (apparently the size of my  hippopotamus thumb-sucking alien baby is cause for concern) but left it there merely saying, well we won’t know whether the baby will be able to fit until the time comes.

Fair enough. I knew I had a big baby, and sure it scares the bejesus out of me to push that sucker out, but everyone in my immediate family has had big babies. And my hips look to be far more child-bearing than my mom’s and sister’s who were both rail thin when they got preggers. But then last week I had to see a different obstetrician and she pretty much stuck the fear of God in me.

She spent a good 10-15 minutes going over the dangers of me going through vaginal childbirth.  She told me that my last ultrasound showed a baby with a belly in the 95th percentile, while the rest of it is within the 50th percentile … so pretty much I’ve got a pot-bellied baby!


Really hope our baby doesn’t look like shrunken head guy from Beetlejuice!

She said when you’ve got a ‘husky’ baby you run the risk of presenting shoulder dystocia which is when the head makes its way out, but the shoulders get stuck under mama’s pelvic bone. If that happens, she described a chaotic “emergency style” delivery room with doctors and nurses everywhere trying to manipulate the baby out by doing things like pushing mama’s knees back or the docs trying to pull the shoulders out from under the pelvic bone (uhm, OUCH!). She also noted there’s a possibility the baby’s collarbone could be broken! Not cool 😦

And she prefaced all that with: “I’m not trying to scare you, but ….” Are you freaking kidding me? Seriously, I’m beginning to think they get a thrill out of seeing my eyes grow so wide they nearly pop out of their sockets!


Damn these doctors, not only do they make me wait for 50 minutes before seeing me (my appointment was at 3!) they set off a flurry of worries!

I left that appointment feeling pretty damn despondent. I mean, if my family is built to have babies as my moms has said for as long as I can remember, what the hell is wrong with me? Why was this shoulder thing never once mentioned to my moms or sister-in-law, who are both five-foot nothing and had ginormous 9 pounders? Why were c-sections never once in the cards for them? And it can’t just be the diabetes, because my sister-in-law had gestational diabetes for all her pregnancies? So what the hell is wrong with me?

I know a c-section isn’t the worst thing that could happen to me, and I know some super strong women who had to undergo c-sections for various reasons, but when you’ve heard your whole life your body was built for baby bearing, and now that’s potentially being snatched away from you, I don’t know it feels like a DNF or a DQ… a failure. And the worst part is, I feel I’ve done everything right. My blood sugars have been near perfect, I haven’t over indulged in sweets and fatty treats. I just don’t understand where I went wrong. And that sucks!

We haven’t made a final decision yet, we’re going to wait and see what my next ultrasound on Aug. 23 reveals. The OB said if the baby appears to be 10+ pounds (are you freaking kidding me? How the heck does it go from 5 pounds to 10+ in one month???) then we’ll need to have a serious discussion about the risks and benefits for both sides…

And because of all that, I was forced – forced, I tell you – to go buy a new pair of shoes… or two. And then I was forced – forced, I tell you – to go for another calming pedicure.

Otherwise it would have been tears city, and we can’t have that now can we 😉