It's been almost two years since my dd was born at home. I back labored for about 12 hours. When she was born my midwife went into crazy action to basically revive her, she was floppy, blue and low apgar score. She perked up and her apgar score kept improving as time went on but the midwife didn't feel comfortable leaving us with her in her condition-she was grunting and nostrils flaring, she seemed to be straining to breath. We ended up having to go to the hospital where she was put on the pressurized oxygen because they said she had fluid in her lungs (she was born right on her "due" date, no apparent birth complications, normal healthy pregnancy). It was such a traumatic experience to envision having my baby at home away from all the medical intervention and the needles, beeping machines and yet here we were, it was awful. To see my only hours only old baby lying up on a cold hard table instead of skin to skin with me while I stood by her side (yes standing by her side after being in labor for 12 hours and pushing for 1 hours, no tearing but still the swelling wow!) They kept us there for 5 days, not because she did poorly but because they just kept adding things to keep us there for. First it was to wait for her lungs to clear up, which they did after 12 hours, then they kept us for two more days until the bacterial infection test came back after 2 days, then it was to make sure breastfeeding was established, it was awful, did I already say that, well it was, I so wanted to just be laying in my own bed cuddling with my baby and husband. I replayed that day over and over again for weeks, months. I searched for answers, asked my midwife for answers, to no avail, all I got was she had fluid in her lungs. When I researched it I found that only 1% of babies born don't recover from the fluid in their lungs on their own and usually it's the c-section babies, mom's with diabetes, premature birth, we just didn't fall into any of these categories, it just didn't give me the answer I needed to get over the trauma. I kept thinking if only we had just waited at home a little longer to see if it cleared up on it's own, maybe she just needed more time. Fast forward to almost two years later... I had a conversation that brought this up for me again, this time with clarity, I remembered all the meconium that came out as she was born, I remembered all the meconium that came out of her nose and mouth when she was at the hospital, so I went and looked it up and it makes so much sense that she probably had aspirated meconium and she really did need to be in the hospital. No one ever mentioned that possibility, not the midwife, who told me she didn't have any answers of why we had to go to the hospital and not the doctors, they just kept saying fluid in the lungs. When I look back on the birth, there was no indication that my baby was stressed. My water broke right before I started pushing and it was completely clear. The only time I can imagine when my baby got stressed was during the pushing stage. I had taken hypnobabies birthing class and learned about "breathing the baby down" and my midwife disagreed and believed pushing to be hard work and necessary to actively push. I really was conflicted because I wanted to trust her but also follow what I believe to be the best birthing method there is. So when the time came to push instead of listening to my body, which didn't have any pushing sensations, I followed my midwifes instructions on how to push, she said to imagine wrapping myself around the baby and bearing down. I was squatting and basically doing crunches with every contraction. I can't say whether or not I ever had the urge to push. I was tired, I wanted to meet my baby, I had people telling me how strong I was while pushing, I had the midwife guiding my babies head down and getting all excited of the progress of my pushing. I read a lot of articles saying that this type of pushing can stress a baby out and cause them to have meconium which can be dangerous if they aspirate it, which we found out. So now I feel responsible and am having a really hard time getting over the fact that I didn't listen to my gut instinct about how to push and that I didn't just override her instructions and just listen to my body. Has anyone else experienced this or have any insight to if there may be any other reasons why a baby can release meconium. Maybe my loud scream right after my water broke? I just want to be at peace with this, my baby is healthy, is not affected by this, but I still seem to be and would like to get past it, especially as we think about having a second baby. I want to know what I can do better, and to prevent this from happening again.
Thanks to whomever read this incredibly long email!
If I had to guess about why your child may have released meconium I would guess that it was due to the length of labor and maybe because of poor positioning as evidenced by your back labor. Yes, the coached pushing could also have contributed, but it is also possible that getting baby out faster may have been needed if baby was stressed early in the pushing phase. So pushing the way you did may have caused the condition, or it may have prevented things from being worse. The sad thing about a traumatic labor is that you just never know how changing things would change the outcome.
I hope that your next birth ends the way you had envisioned the first concluding, with quiet snuggled at home with your happy, healthy baby.
This sounds sort of flip, but sometimes $#!t happens, literally. Up to 25% of babies have at least a little mec. in the waters. It can be an indicator that they are stressed during the labor (due to length of labor, positioning, quick descent, bad positioning, pitocin contractions, many factors are possible, sometimes it's just that they are postdates, and sometimes you don't know why, it's just there and you have to deal with it. It was not due to your vocalizing though - the womb is a pretty loud place.
I confess to being a little shocked that your midwife evinced no sign that she had noticed the mec. Did she do nothing to clear the baby's airway, and did she not notice it at the time of birth, as you did? If a newborn is having trouble breathing, that's one of the first things I'd think of as a cause, and I am just a doula...if you go for a second homebirth, I'd quiz potential care providers about such things and how they'd handle them. At least you can rest assured that she was totally right to send you to the hospital for care; MAS is nothing to be trifled with.
DS2 had some really funky positioning that ended with SD. My MWs turned his shoulder and he popped right out and had wonderful apgars. But I ended up with a weird internal second degree that required transfer for stitches. I left ds at home so the hospital wouldn't mess with him. Got home 7hrs later and found we weren't really happy with his breathing. He wasn't retracting but was working to hard to breathe and was snorty. So we transfered with him. They monitored him for a few hours but ended up not admitting him. That night I was just scared to sleep. He did end up coughing up some stuff ... No idea if it was mec since my waters were clear and we didn't see any on him. So there was no real problem -- nothing a little time didn't fix -- but I will always mourn not having a beautiful homebirth and not having that first day with ds2 like I'd had with ds1.
Sorry to turn this to all about me .. Lol. I just know how much it hurts when you lose the birth you've planned for and you lose that first day with your new baby.
Your baby is healthy! That is wonderful.
My baby also had the meconium...It wasn't my fault, either. It just happens. Being born can be stressful for a baby. It is stressful for everyone. It is not just a natural beautiful thing that is perfect with no problems. A baby is being squished through a tiny canal and being squeezed thousands of times.... after hanging out happily in a warm fluid filled environment.
You didn't do anything wrong. Please don't blame yourself. I'm glad you had a good midwife who recognized your precious little one needed help, and that she ended up being alright in the end - it sounds like a very scary and stressful first few days though! But it also seems likely it won't be repeated. From what you say here you had almost a "textbook" normal labor and delivery, so no telling what caused the stress. But I'm sure it wasn't YOU!
Most of the time second labors go a little faster (I know not always) so hopefully that will help things along.
Oh mama, I'm sorry that this is still with you. I totally hear you that you lost out on those precious first days. The truth is though, you did everything in your power to create a peaceful birth for your child, you cannot blame yourself! I mean that, you cannot blame yourself. A very dear friend lost his 4 day old son to an infection secondary to meconium aspiration about 3 years ago. It is very very rare that meconium aspiration is lethal, but it still can be sometimes, so please know that you could NOT have waited it out. You did the absolute right thing by bringing your child to the hospital, as unpleasant as that experience was. You did EVERYTHING right. Truly.
Happy , delayed/selective vaxxing, WOHM to DD1 4/10 , DD2 8/12 and partner/wife for thirteen years to SAHD DH.