Originally Posted by craft_media_hero
So it seems like whenever I mention homebirth, I get one of these cord horror stories in response. Instinctually, I don't believe it, but I'm not a birth professional and don't really know enough to understand what's really happening here....
The story before that was that the momma was laboring for about 60-70 minutes. The fetal monitor showed that the heart rate dropped during contractions. Mom received an emergency cesarean, and the babe was born "with the cord tightly around his neck". This was "a close call" and if they hadn't had a cesarean, I am told the babe would have died. FWIW this mom had a very "medical" OB attending her.
Can we talk about this?
It's my understanding that the cord is around the neck in 1/4 or 1/5 births. Can the cord around the neck really cut of oxygen and cause stillbirth? Would the babe be born, cord unwrapped, and isn't it still receiving oxygen from the placenta even if the cord is wrapped?
What about the heart tones slowing or "stopping"? Is this caused by the nuchal cord? Even if the heart rate slows during ctx, could that birth work out ok w/out interventions?
Without the fetal monitor, would these births have simply progressed naturally with the babies pinking up after birth? Or would they really have been stillborn because the cord was too tight? At that point, isn't birth pretty much imminent?
I hated the fetal monitor and only let them put it on my for a minute, and I don't want one in this next birth I'm preparing for either.
I'd like to understand what's really going on here and dispel the "horror cord" myth. Can you all help me out, here?
I'll talk about my experience, but as a warning, it's not a happy one.
I went for a hospital birth in a hospital with a low intervention rate and a pretty natural approach to labour. Midwives were available but because of other issues I had opted for an OB, and ended up with the OB on rotation that day.
Labour progressed pretty well until the pushing phase. At that point I pushed for 2.5 hrs; there was an unusual series of emergencies in the L&D ward and the ob was in emergency surgery for much of that time. There was an inexperienced nurse attending and she missed the decel pattern on the monitor, until my daughter's heart stopped (2x nuchal cord). She was revived, but died 4 days later. I pretty much blame the hospital.
To answer your questions - my umbilical cord was WHITE when it came out; the 2x nuchal combined with the pushing resulted in a total failure of oxygen to the baby. Regardless of what interventions should or should not have taken place there was no question that it was the nuchal cord that caused the problem. It may be rare and it may not be something you choose to worry about but I've experienced it personally and yes, it can cause death. Sorry for everyone who thinks that you can will a good birth or that cord accidents are a myth.
The monitoring did indicate a problem but the pattern (not coming up fast enough) was missed. It's not just how long the heartrate drops but how it comes back up. (We didn't know this prior to delivery.)
I probably would have done better with an experienced midwife than I did at the hospital, so I don't really consider it an argument against homebirth.
That said, a c-section would have saved my daughter's life and actually the revival effort could have worked had the period of oxygen deprivation not been so long. The things I learned were:
- when things go wrong, they can go wrong pretty quickly. Whatever your plan is, be sure you have a sense of what will happen at that point.
- your team seriously matters
- you cannot plan for everything and a certain point you have to just accept there are risks
Good luck with your decision. FYI I had my son in a hospital afterwards and it was an uneventful and respectful delivery.