Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mother's Intuition

When you become a mother, you have a lot of people telling you to trust your instincts. It's good advice, but it's not always easy. Is that 101 fever a passing virus or an ear infection? Can my 9 month old cry for a few minutes in order to fall asleep at night? Is my toddler ready to potty train? Sleep in a real bed? Eat popcorn? Insert any activity. 

We make a hundred decisions a day that affect another human's life and I know I don't normally need to consult my gut. 

Intuition: the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.

I hear moms say, "I wish I had trusted my intuition." But I hear other moms say they don't have it. No gut reaction to what is right or wrong. For me, it's a mix. Sometimes I feel very strongly about what I should be doing or trying and sometimes I have absolutely no clue. 

During my second pregnancy, I felt uneasy from the moment I had my first ultrasound. First it was the twin issue. Then it was my terrible pelvic pain. Then my pre-term labor. I always felt like I shouldn't be delivering at home, but there was no reason on paper to be concerned. So I chalked it up to crazy hormones and really tried hard to ignore all the anxiety. 

This was quite the change from my first pregnancy in which I just exuded confidence in the whole endeavor. I asked multiple times if I was still OK to be at home. Everything was always all clear on the medical front. 

After sitting there with my healthy baby boy that was born at home in .4 seconds, I remember thinking to myself: I guess I was crazy. All that uneasiness was unnecessary because everything was cool and fairly easy. 

Then my midwife walked in, examined the placenta, and blurted out, "Oh my god you guys. You are incredibly lucky."

Umm what? Not really something you want to hear after you deliver your own baby at home 4 weeks early. What was the deal? 

Basically the umbilical cord inserts oddly into the placenta and it can cause some issues. They can usually see it on the anatomy scan (67% specificity for science nerds). They usually recommend a planned C-section before you can go into labor on your own, because if your water breaks in a certain place, the baby bleeds out. 

According to an article, "Pregnancies complicated with VCI are at greater risk for adverse perinatal outcome (fetal growth restriction, preterm labor, placental abruption, vasa previa, abnormal intrapartum fetal heart rate patterns, low Apgar scores at 1 and 5 minutes, and neonatal death).


The kicker for me was finding out that it is WAY more common in twin pregnancies. So the 20 times I asked EVERYONE if there were any risks associated with the fact that Aleko was originally a twin pregnancy and I was looked at like I was a crazy person. Thanks for that. 

VCI only occurs in 1% of singleton births but up to 15% of twin births. 

So...I wasn't crazy after all. Something was off and I knew it. The problem was, no one else knew it. 

I say it was the scariest thing that never happened. It's weird to hear that it could have been a disaster. For anyone thinking this is proof that no one should deliver a baby at home, even in the hospital VCI can end in death; it's just too fast. This could have (should have?) been picked up on the anatomy scan. If it had been, I would have been transferred out of midwife care. 

At least the midwives got a new toy. They boxed up my placenta in order to freeze it and show it off to everyone. So glad we could offer a teaching moment. 

So guys, as Jewel says...Follow your heart. Your intuition. It will lead you in the right direction. Thanks, Jewel. 

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