Aug 13, 2011

Holding Your Baby

Time is vital during a Cesarean section. The clock counting down towards delivery when the newborn's shrill cry will pierce the tense atmosphere in the OR. Anything in between the baby, still not ready to come out, and the outside world will prolong this latent time and have detrimental effects on the baby's future.
I scrubbed in and stood opposite to my Attending. With swift and precise moves of 20 years he attached the vacuum extractor to the newborn's head as I connected the rubber tubing to the edge of the cusp. In 3 seconds the baby is out of maternal warmth. The shoulder, however, stubbornly stuck to the smallish incision - the skill ruler of an Obstetrician nowadays. As the baby hesitated to take in his first breath, we struggled with the shoulders, pulling in every direction until finally it dislodged and slipped off the tense incision.
I held the minute-old male newborn in my left arm. His face shrewd, not happy being awakened prematurely from the comforts of the womb. As his cries became more majestic in quality his body of lifeless grey turned pink with vigor. Apgar scoring - appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration. I would give him a 8 for his first minute and possibly 9 or 10 for his fifth. He's already off to a good start.
As I admired the beautiful newborn and generously wished him good luck for the future, a hive of activity is happening a few inches away - the umbilical cord is being clamped and cut, the umbilical vein punctured and blood drawn, the uterus exposed to be sutured, and the baby room nurse now takes the baby over from my hands. Baby boy is starting a journey of his own after 38 weeks of maternal affection and over-the-womb Mozart.
After he is cleaned, fingerprints taken, and dressed, baby boy will see Mum for the very first time. Experienced mothers will start talking to them, calling names and stroking their cheeks. This joyous occasion is short-lived, however. Matron nurse will take him back to the baby room for the next 3 days. Where he will only see Mum during mealtimes.
Then the OR will return to its pre-newborn stillness with a PGY suturing the incisions monitored by the Attending. Mum may eventually fall into a contented slumber, while other nurses record the baby's weight, height, Apgar scores, and gender. Only occasionally when we remember to congratulate the mother before leaving for another surgery next door.
But the baby's face and cries I can't stop recalling even into the night. The youngest baby boy in Taiwan for 2 minutes, weighing 3450gm, so kicking with life - it was during these moments that you recall God's wonder and glory. That we might live in Mars or fly to another universe, yet we are still primitively human when it comes to the basic reproduction. Nothing has very much changed during the previous 100 years. And nothing revolutionary will possibly emerge. We're still humble beings of God.


yiu said...

Is this your first baby?=D