I am having a repeat C section in two weeks. Today I was in the Baby Center at the hospital for my twice weekly fetal monitoring and happened to catch a newborn (from a C-section)'s full exam in his incubator. There was no family present. I was watching through the nursery window as what probably was a pediatrician and a nurse going through the exam.
It looked like it was definitely NOT a nice beginning for this baby boy into the world. He was less than 6 lbs, and completely naked inside his incubator. The doc was reaching in with a paper tape measure and measuring all sorts of things on him. He was crying his teeny head off, shaking and trembling, legs and arms up, looking MISERABLE. You know the mom somewhere in recovery has no idea her baby is this miserable. They poked and prodded all his parts, the stump, the penis, the butt, the scrotum, etc. The male nurse was mostly just standing there. No one was hurrying to get this unpleasantness over. No one was petting or comforting him. She was going through her paper and writing down each thing. She did the eye medicine thing and eventually put a diaper on him but he was still very unhappy. I left because I was sure next would come all those unnecessary shots. I couldn't stand watching any more.
What can one do for a C section or hospital birth to ensure that the baby gets at the very least some loving comfort during this clinical and extended first exam? If the father were there, could he at least be comforting the baby? Does one just endure all this? What a horrible "welcome" to the world. I'm sure these stats are somehow important, and this baby was very small, but holy heck, he was NOT enjoying his first moments on the planet.
Poor baby :( ds had his newborn exam right next to me, and my midwife was gentle and loving with him, and he didn't fuss a bit. Can you discuss with your pediatrician the possibility of waiting on the newborn exam until you're in your PP room, and insist it be done with you there? I'd raise a stink (and I DID!) and insist the baby doesn't go to the nursery for any reason, at any time. So after birth that means staying in the operating room while you're being stitched, if they try to give you the "its too cold" BS, skin to skin on dad's chest with some heated blankets would be plenty warm. Then straight to recovery with you, then to your pp room. If your current hospital absolutely refuses to budge on any of those counts, I'd research if any other local (or not-so-local) hospitals would be able to accommodate those demands. Having the baby stay with *me* at all times is non negotiable, and if I were birthing in a hospital I would travel a few hours away if necessary to make sure that happened.
Is there a baby friendly hospital nearby? Here's a list: http://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/eng/03.html
Thanks. I am not switching docs or hospitals. But I am wondering if Daddy goes with Baby as he did last time if he can be a part of that exam and maybe comfort baby.
I will tell them NO eye medicine, NO vaccination, and NO vitamin K because I am supplementing with it. So maybe that will help.
What need is there really for all these measurements? Maybe there is a need, like they can catch some discrepancies and potential problems so they can prevent bad things from happening. I hope so. They sure took their time letting this brand new "guest" stay in utter unhappiness. It seems heartless but I guess if you do this 100x a day, they become just objects to you. :(
I don't think they usually measure more than length and head circumference. You say this baby was less than 6lbs.. maybe he had IUGR or was premature, or some other complications and he specifically needed extra measurements for his particular case?
Is your dp a "papa bear" type? Is he comfortable in an advocating position? Would he firmly say "STOP!" if the exams were causing your baby distress? Talk with him about it, and tell him how important it is to you that he advocate for your baby even if it means an uncomfortable confrontation with hospital staff.
I think they probably only did two measurements, a head circumference and a length. Both are done to get a baseline to compare against in future if, as you say, there are any problems. It is also to make sure that the baby falls within normal growth parameters for age as being outside the normal range can sometimes be a flag for other issues which may not be immediately obvious.
The rest is a head to toe physical examination to make sure all the obvious things are in the right place and functioning as they should be. We also check some reflexes as it is one of the only ways to assess neurological functioning in a newborn.
It does sound like the pair you witnessed were being especially perfunctory. It doesn't need to be like that. It doesn't need to be done in the nursery. In fact most of it can be done on the mother's chest.
Will your baby be going with you to recovery? It would probably be a bit tricky to do it on your chest in OT but the paed could come to your room after you get back to the ward and do it there. If not then I see no reason why your husband couldn't go with your baby to the nursery. It is standard practice here if the babe is not going to recovery with mum for some reason. I would have a chat with the staff and see what you can arrange.
All the best
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
Thanks, you guys. Maybe it was because of his size. I saw them measure his head, two different ways, and some measurement under his neck, then his chest, then a bit lower down like his abdomen. It looked like he was being fitted for a tuxedo. What the --- do they need all those measurements? It was like he was a lab rat. Now, maybe he had some symptom of some disorder and this was entirely necessary (he looked normal but small, and very cute of course).
I just talked with my DH and he is prepared to be there and to speak up and ask them to delay stuff if Baby is that miserable, or push them to hurry up.
Argh. I sure hope they were done torturing that little one soon and then swaddled him and brought him to the family.
ETA: Babies in nurseries are often treated quite... I don't know. I went with my daughter for her hearing test (amidst much eye rolling on the nurses' part) - there were babies there screaming their little heads off but the one or two nurses had other work to do and obviously couldn't cuddle them all. This wasn't even the NICU, just the regular nursery in the overnight hours. Guess their mothers needed rest, but I sure did feel bad for the little babes all by themselves...
Yeah, that's kind of what I mean. In that regular nursery, every time I go (2x a week), most of the new babes are swaddled and sleeping deeply. But if the baby is upset and crying, no one in there seems to care or "have time" to go attend to that baby.
So anyone who has to have a C section and has to go to recovery, which is like 20-30 minutes that go by like HOURS when you want to get to your baby! Anyway, if you are in that position, and assuming your child was born healthy, have the father, grandma, friend, SOMEONE stay with the baby the whole time. These babies in the nursery are ALONE ALONE ALONE for the most part.
I am sure the nurses are wonderful and do what they can, but they are probably busy and understaffed and they do not respond to baby cries the way we do any more, after years of getting used to them. And who knows, maybe the older ones still believe "it's good for their lungs."
Mommy to THREE sweet boys & ONE sweet girl + a newb due in February! I need a nap.
The agreement dh & I had with ds & again with this baby is that he is absolutely not to let that baby out of his presence no matter what is happening to me.
Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).
Sorry but I would NOT let that happen. Have a doula who can stand up for you. Send your husband. Scream your head off, whatever it takes. Do NOT let your baby be all alone it its first few hours / days of life. Even if your hospital is not Baby Friendly (I had a cesarean in a Baby Friendly hospital and the baby stayed on me from a few moments after birth until....well, since then, lol!), insist on having the baby with you at all times after the birth, or asap after the birth. Realistically, if the surgery goes normally and you and baby are well, there is NO reason s/he cannot be with you at all times afterwards. I even lost a ton of blood in the birth and was very weak, and still it was no issue having the baby with me at all times. Either I or DH was with him through all baths, examinations and medical procedures in those first days after he was born. I know you'll be weak after the birth, but please have your DH or a doula there to stand up for you and your right to have your baby with you. It is SO important. Good luck!
Mama since 2010
Multicultural living in Europe
If they suspected a genetic abnormality or other developmental issues (fetal alcohol, e.g.), they may well have wanted to measure a lot of things to check to make sure that they baby was healthy. There was no need for them to have been so perfunctory about it -- they could have comforted him. My c-section babies were with dad the whole time. It was fine.
My hospital's normal policy is to keep mom and baby together, even after a c-section, unless there's a medical emergency. There was an emergency in my case (baby was healthy but I had cardiac problems) and though it was disappointing, it was also understandable that he couldn't room-in with me until I was stable. My husband stayed with our son in the nursery until I was admitted into a regular postpartum room.
Spouse (the political geek) * Stepdaughter (the artist) * and introducing...the Baby (um, he's a baby? He likes shiny things).
And I have no idea why they'd do all those measurements on the baby you saw but I'd guess he had some kind medical or genetic condition that required it... Usually they just do height/weight/head circumference.