This is just a small part of the birth trauma I experienced, and it's been 11 years already, but to this day I still wonder what really happened.
My first dd came FAST. My labor started at 10:15 pm and she was born by 2:00 am. When I arrived at the hospital at 1:26 am I was only 4 centimeters, but less than 20 minutes later I was a 10 and she was born after only 2 or 3 pushes.
I held her for less than a minute and then she was whisked away because the nurse noticed that she was grunting and not breathing right. She was on oxygen for 6 hours for "wet lungs."
Later on the nurses came to me and said she had an infection. They said knew this because she had a high white blood cell count and a fever. The doctor ordered IV antibiotics. The next day they said they found the infection. It was GBS in her BLADDER. I was shocked. Has anyone here ever heard of GBS in the bladder of a newborn??? I asked how this could happen and no one seemed to have an answer for me.
The thing that bothers me to this day about all of this is that I asked how they found the GBS in her bladder and they said they catheterized her TWICE in the nursery. I was never asked to consent to this. They just did it and told me later.
So, my questions are:
Has anyone here ever heard of GBS in a newborn's bladder?
Do they really have the right to catheterize a newborn without parental consent?
How can a newborn get GBS in the bladder?
Also, anyone else ever have a baby with wet lungs? Is it because she was born in her bag? (My water never broke).
I haven't heard of a newborn with GBS in their bladder and I'm not sure how it could happen. I know that women sometimes have GBS in their urine, when it's a systemic infection. You may want to consider consulting with a pediatrician or neonatologist to try to get your medical questions answered.
My youngest was born in the caul and didn't have wet lungs.
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
14yo ds 11yo dd 9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds
Thanks for answering. It's been 11 years, so it's not that I need an answer, but I really do wonder what really happened. I suspect that she never actually had an infection in her bladder, but I really don't know. It still bothers me that they catheterized her without my permission. They said the first time the cath'ed her the test was negative, but the second time it was positive. I wonder if it was contamination, or if they gave her an infection with that catheter. I'll probably never know.
I can only answer the second question. And only sorta.
When they have a baby in the NICU, they have a reasonable presumption of consent to test and treat that child. The only way to really get past that presumption is to have a parent right there, voicing objections. In this case (baby with fever, elevated white counts and breathing problems) even a parent standing by would have had a very hard time getting an objection to stand - further testing is totally appropriate in that situation. They probably didn't ask your permission to take blood either.
Catheterization is a pretty standard way to get urine samples from babies, so that's why they may have done it. I doubt you will ever know whether the first catheterization introduced GBS to the bladder, but infection is a known risk of that procedure, it's certainly possible.
And here's the other thing: Just because a test or treatment or failure to check in with you as a parent may have been medically appropriate at the time doesn't mean that it doesn't suck. My DD was premature (32w4d), and was in the NICU for 32 days. They did all kinds of things to her in the NICU - she needed to be intubated, she needed lung surfactant, she needed CPAP ventilation, they had to take blood samples and urine samples and watch for infection. They NEVER asked me. I'd show up in the unit, and if I could track down a nurse, I might be able to find out what they'd done since my last appearance. It's not even that I would have wanted them to hold off so they could ask me - dude, if my baby needs lung surfactant, just DO it! - but the experience nonetheless left me feeling awful. I felt powerless and insignificant. I felt like they thought I didn't matter to my own baby. When DD graduated to feeder/grower status in the NICU, the doctors and nurses suddenly thought I mattered. It took me about seven months to catch up in my head, after the rocky start.
thanks meepycat. I'm sorry that your baby was so sick. I can't imagine having to deal with that. I just wish they would have asked me first and I can see that you understand that. I do wonder if the cath is what caused her GBS infection, and that bothers me too. After they found that infection they insisted on a kidney scan and it turned out that she also had kidney reflux which started a 2 year long battle with doctors wanting her constantly tested (x-rayed), catheterized, and medicated (antibiotics). It's stupid to still be upset over it after all of these years. I need to just let it go. Maybe she really did have a UTI at birth and I need to be thankful that they found it and treated it.
Thanks for chiming in. How's your baby doing now?
The bladder/ catheter thing is weird. Maybe it happened b/c of the reflux? But if she had a fever, a high white count, and breathing problems at birth she was probably sick before the 2nd catheter. In a lot of settings she could have ended up with a lumbar puncture too (to look for infection in her spinal cord/ brain). I wonder if she was percolating in her bag of water for a while, getting GBS in everywhere, and that's why you had such a fast labor. Tiny babies can get very sick very fast. It sounds like she knew it was time to leave. Being born en caul is pretty rare too, she sounds like a rare breed ;)
So sorry you are feeling traumatized by this experience, even so many years later. :( I can relate, having had birth trauma with my first, as well (12 years ago now!). I hope that you find some closure.
Certainly it is rare for a baby to get GBS infection with such a fast birth, particularly in the caul, but it is not impossible -- and GBS infection can show up anywhere: lungs, skin, urinary tract, even in the cerebral spinal fluid. A baby with kidney reflux as you report is much more likely to get a UTI; any bacteria she is exposed to in that case is more likely to cause an infection. So she likely did have one, whether it was caused by the initial cath or not. I assume she is a healthy kiddo now? I hope so!! Also, a urinary cath is a standard thing to do with a baby you suspect is infected (high WBCs, fever, etc.), to try to find the cause and know how to treat it. A lumbar puncture would normally also be done. If she'd had an infection and they hadn't treated immediately, she truly could have died -- tiny babies are so vulnerable to infection that if it gets out of control, it's very hard to come back from it.
Hug your big baby, and I hope you feel some closure and healing soon!
Momma of three, born 9/2000, 1/2003 and 12/2012! Married to my beautiful wife, whatever the law says. Nurse practitioner student, RN, childbirth educator and birth doula
Thanks ladies. I just wanted some answers after all these years of wondering. I really didn't get any in the hospital.
Just a note about her birth... the breathing issue she had lasted only 6 hours and they said it was due to "wet lungs." They never said it had anything to do with her GBS infection. And in fact, they didn't find the infection until day two of her life. She had already been off oxygen for 12 hours or more.
Being born en caul is rare, hugh? I didn't know that. My second was also born en caul, and she came fast too. But she was perfectly healthy!
Yes, my dd is fine. She did have a number of UTI's in her toddler/preschool years, and still is prone to them, but other than that she's healthy!
I imagine every different provider has their own vague euphemism for health issues, but 'wet lungs' also could be transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN) which occurs after a quick birth where baby doesn't get as much squeezing during the birth so doesn't get the best clearing of fluid from their lungs. It's classically seen in big boy babies after c/sections but any baby after a quick birth can have breathing trouble.
To put things in perspective, if you brought in any baby under 2 months to be eval for a fever (even a baby who generally looks ok), the official medical recommendations (kind of regardless of what the situation is) would involve obtaining a chest xray, blood cultures, cath urine specimen, and lumbar puncture, and admitting to the hospital. The workup for a baby with a fever is extensive. I'm not saying that's right or wrong-- it's very invasive, certainly causes some harm, many babies will be fine without all that, but on the other hand babies can get very sick very fast. So it's standard for the MDs, but IMO they have the responsibility to obtain informed consent from you!
I wonder how common it would be for babies to be born en caul if OBs quit breaking everyone's water? Maybe it's only rare because they make it rare.
Thanks Rachet. Now that you've reminded me, I do remember them saying something about the quick birth and lack of squeezing maybe having something to do with her breathing issues.
Wow, that's quite a work up for a baby with a fever. I'm so grateful that she is okay and after posting this thread and getting these response, I truly do have peace about it all. Thanks to all who responded.
Yes, I wonder if being born en caul maybe isn't that unusual. Two of my three were born that way.