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Personal Stories ~ From Elsa
When I was pregnant with my first son, I was seeing a GP in the neighboring town (our town did not do deliveries). I had noticed that I wasn't feeling well and when I tested my urine, I was spilling a lot of ketones into my urine. I was brushed off by the ER nurses as a nervous first-timer. The GP did a routine 1-hour GTT at 28 weeks which I failed. He didn't pick this up. It wasn't until I was 36 weeks that he realized that there was a concern. I was measuring 47 weeks. I was then referred to a new OB in Edmonton which is 2.5 hours away. She was the one that noticed that I was hyperglycemic. I was to see a dietitian to try and regulate my blood sugar. She also sent me for a biophysical profile (BPP). This is a more intense ultrasound. They looked at every aspect of this baby including the ventricles inside his brain, his breathing attempts, and the vessels in the umbilical cord. This procedure took an hour. Then the perinatologist came in. Seeing him made me nervous. I thought that there was something seriously wrong with my baby. He looked at the pictures that were taken, looked at me and asked how tall I was.

"Five feet, one inch," I replied.

"And how tall is your husband?" he asked.

"Six feet, 4 inches," I again replied.

"Well, that's it !" he said.

He went on to say that nothing abnormal was detected on the BPP and that this was just a very large baby. All the particulars were written down and I took that to the OB. She scheduled a amniocentesis for the following week (38 weeks by then) to see how mature the lungs of this baby were.

The following Friday I was admitted and had the amnio. The lungs were mature enough so I started the cervical gels to ready the cervix. I had my first gel on Saturday evening and by Sunday I was calling my husband to come because I was having trouble handling the pain by myself. I continued to get gels three times a day until Wednesday morning. I was then brought up to labour and delivery where I was started on the syntocinon drip. I also had a foley catheter put into the cervix and inflated up to 4 cm to force the cervix to dilate. This continued on until the next day.

By Thursday afternoon I had about my limit of pain. It never went away. I had a constant level of abdominal pain and then waves of contractions every minute. The nurses told me that they were begging the OB to do a cesarean section but the OB refused. In hindsight I now realize that the nurses were telling me to ask for one. This OB was fresh out of school and I think she had something to prove. I did get an epidural Thursday afternoon.

At 5:30 that evening I felt some pressure and when my nurse checked I was fully dilated. I was allowed to push. The drip was turned off but I didn't have any sensation of the contractions. The nurse had to tell me when to push. At 7 pm the OB walked in and checked everything out. She tried to use a vacuum extractor to pull the baby out but it didn't work. Finally at 11pm and after 5.5 hours of pushing she brought out the forceps. She was able to deliver the head with a mid-forceps delivery. The intern was to take over at that time to deliver the rest. I should add that besides my husband, two nurses, the intern and OB there were also 10 nursing students in the room. After a minute or so, the OB realized that there was a problem and called the NICU team. She again took over pulling on the head while a nurse and the intern pushed hard on the top of the uterus. My son's shoulders were stuck behind the pubic bone, a condition called shoulder dystocia. He was stuck like that for over three minutes. That was three minutes of the OB pulling and the nurse and intern pushing. I tore up to my cervix and down to my rectum.

When my son was finally delivered at 11:08 pm, he was a very dark grey colour. He was only making a grunting noise. He had no tone (like a rag doll), and he had basically no heartbeat. The NICU team resuscitated him. I was able to see him very briefly and then he was taken to NICU.

I was able to see him about half an hour later when they were finished sewing me up and the epidural had worn off. He was a very large baby. At 38 weeks he was 8 lbs 8 oz and a whooping 23.5" long. He filled up the croupette, his head touching one end and his feet touching the other. He was managing on his own with the exception of his temperature. He had a few x-rays done on his left shoulder/arm as he wasn't using it. The x-rays showed no fractures and thus a neurologist was called in. With all the pulling, the nerve to the arm was severed. He had to have his arm taped to his chest. Then he wasn't voiding so he was kept in longer for that. He was released to the regular nursery on day three. We both went home on day six. We named him Cailean (KA-lan) Rye.

His severed nerve repaired itself within three weeks. We did physio therapy on it for two months. Today, at age 8 he shows no residual effects. At the age of 2.5 years, he was diagnosed with autism. I am told that the traumatic birth was not the cause of his autism. He remains a very big boy, now at 4' 8" and 110 lbs.

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