Adjusting to a New Life - A Midwife's Insight

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A Midwife's Insight

It was June 2nd; I was called to attend the home birth of a 32-year-old woman. It was her second planned home birth. I arrived at 11:30 p.m. Her first assessment showed her at 6 centimeters dilated and 85 percent effaced, with the baby at 0 station. The baby’s position was ROT (Right Occiput Anterior) with good heart tones at 144 beats per minute. Her membranes spontaneously ruptured at 1:32 a.m. with clear fluids.

The baby’s head came out facedown, showing a rotation to the mother’s right thigh. But as the anterior shoulder was presenting, I realized it was the left shoulder! I quickly encouraged him to rotate to the mother’s left leg, and he was born at 1:46 a.m. He cried immediately and was placed onto his mother’s belly. At 2:17, he nursed successfully. Everyone looked healthy and I left at 3:30 that morning.

I returned for a postpartum visit on June 4th to find the baby very lethargic. He showed slight jaundice, had an irregular heartbeat of about 76 bpm and his testicles were undescended. He had passed meconium three times. He had a newborn rash, was passing gas, and had a good Moro reflex. The mother said he had could latch successfully, but would not nurse for a long time. When he showed interest in nursing, his heart rate went to 108 bpm, but then settled back to a range of 60 to 84 bpm. The family said he was very quiet and didn’t cry much.

I called Dr. Kathy, the chiropractor I work closely with, to come and check him, because I suspected something had happened in the upper neck during his uncustomary descent in the birth canal. She adjusted him twice, with one last follow-up to make sure he held the adjustment. She said there were definite, severe misalignments in the atlanto-occipital area of the spine, which she had corrected with the adjustments.

I reevaluated the baby after the second adjustment. His jaundice had cleared, his heart rate had increased to 120 to 132 bpm, and even his testicles had descended! When I talked to the mother the next day, she said he had a vigorous cry, was alert and maintained good color.

I personally feel that we may have prevented a SIDS episode by having rechecked the baby’s heart on the postpartum visit and getting him adjusted by a chiropractor to restore normal nerve function in the upper neck.

Ellen, CPM

A Mother's Intuition

I listened to the midwife’s words as she performed the postpartum checkup for my newborn son. “He’s jaundiced already,” she said, “and he’s lost a full half pound.”

I feared something was wrong.

My baby boy, only 36 hours old, was pale and relatively unresponsive. She told me his heartbeat was too slow. It was 76 beats per minute, and irregular. “Here, listen,” she said, putting the stethoscope to my ear. I heard a very slow heartbeat with an unusual pause. She looked at me and said, “It’s too slow. He needs a chiropractic adjustment—now.”

Fortunately, our chiropractor friend was available to come immediately and check on him. For my midwife and me, time seemed to stand still. My four older children looked on, bewildered and concerned.

The chiropractor performed an assessment of heart tones, an exam of the spine and cranium and a gentle and specific adjustment on his little body. We laid him down to see if his body would hold the adjustment; what we saw was nothing short of amazing. His near-lifeless body started to change. His pale white skin began to redden and my midwife scooped him up and rushed him to the window. “Look at him,” she said. “The jaundice is gone!”

His reflexes awakened and my baby rooted to nurse as I held him to my breast. I nearly cried as he suckled like a normal, healthy baby. His heart rate came within normal range, and we all sighed with relief.

The next day I spoke with my midwife and I told her that my baby boy was completely red. She said, “It’s called blood flow!” and we laughed. Then her tone changed. “Had we not gotten him adjusted, I fear that in a few days you would have lost him,” she said. The gravity of her statement made me feel very, very grateful.

We saw our dear chiropractor for a follow-up, and we said to each other, “Thank God! It’s truly just amazing!” She told me that in her 10 years of practice, she had never seen such a severe upper-neck misalignment in a newborn.

Throughout my entire pregnancy I had expressed to my midwife and others that something was different, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. It wasn’t necessarily anything bad, but maybe something I wasn’t prepared for. We are all blessed with intuition. My midwife said that perhaps what I sensed may have been a heads-up, so to speak. I am eternally grateful I had people around me who were blessed with the foresight to recognize the real problem and the skill to correct it. Now my baby boy is thriving. My other children have, in my chiropractor friend’s words, their new, new baby brother.

Sharika, Mother of Abdullah

Pathways Issue 24 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #24.

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