July 9, 2012
Amber Scott is a very lucky woman. She was 38 weeks pregnant and had complained about a headache all day which was mistakenly thought to be a migraine. It wasn’t. More than likely it was pre-eclampsia and somehow the diagnosis was missed. Amber’s husband told her to lie down and presumably left the house. He attempted to contact her throughout the day and when he arrived home, he found her unresponsive with one eye open and the other closed. She was moaning and had vomited. When she arrived at the hospital, an emergency c-section was performed and Amber’s baby was saved. It was determined that Amber had a blood clot to her brain which was removed surgically as well as part of her skull in order to avoid damaging her brain. Amber was in a semi coma with a guarded prognosis but miraculously, she had progressed enough to see her baby 6 weeks after the delivery.
Amber is able to move her right side but will require many months of rehabilitation. Some women are not so lucky. A pregnant woman that has complaints of a severe headache needs immediate attention. If she’s in her third trimester, it should be assumed that she has preeclampsia until proven otherwise, especially if the headache doesn’t go away after taking analgesics. Headaches are usually the first sign of high blood pressure in a pregnant woman and should not be ignored. Complaints of headaches associated with blurry vision, abdominal pain, swollen hands or feet and “spots” in front of their eyes needs to be addressed immediately even if it means going to the hospital first before calling your midwife or physician.
The definitive treatment for preeclampsia is the delivery of the baby because it is the placenta that is thought to contribute to the rising blood pressure. If the blood pressure becomes too high, a woman may have a seizure, also known as eclampsia and suffer a stroke that could be potentially fatal.
Headaches during pregnancy should never be ignored or assumed to be a migraine and requires an immediate blood pressure checks. Taking this precaution might inevitably save your life.
Remember, a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen. It takes a smart mother who knows what to do.
April 16, 2012
Imagine that you delivered a premature baby at 26 weeks, was informed that it was a stillbirth and then 12 hours later, you discover that it is alive. That is exactly what happened to Bouter, after delivering a baby girl via a C. Section. Bouter’s daughter was pronounced dead at the time of birth and quickly whisked away to the morgue where it remained in a refrigerated room. Twelve hours later, Bouter and her husband visited the morgue to say a final farewell and take pictures to be sent to the funeral home. Bouter’s husband attempted to open the coffin with great difficulty and once opened, he stepped aside so that Bouter could see the baby. She moved the coverings aside, touched the baby’s hand and then uncovered her face. She then heard a cry and at first thought she was imaging things. As she stepped back, the baby woke up and let out a weak cry. Bouter fell to her knees crying and laughing simultaneously. The baby was quickly taken to the neonatal intensive care unit and is presently on a ventilator. A news conference was held and five healthcare workers were suspended pending an investigation. Bouter plans to sue.
How could this possibly be, one might ask? There are a few possibilities. Perhaps the baby had a weak heartbeat that went undetected or it was the cold temperature that kept it alive. Almost 2 years ago to the exact date, I wrote a blog about hypothermia, (see 5 “Cool” Ways to Save a Newborn’s Life), an innovative way to keep critically ill newborns alive. This process was initiated at the University of California in San Francisco, had specific protocols that were used on babies greater than 36 weeks and must be implemented within the newborn’s first 6 hours of life. Bouter’s baby was only 26 weeks but the process still worked.
In 2005, there was a case of tourist Dan O’Rielly who drowned in Mexico and was airlifted to Houston where he was given a cooling blanket with a temperature of 90 and the man came back to life 12 hours later. He went without oxygen for 45 minutes before he was intubated. There IS something to this freezing stuff and I hope medical science will research the matter further. In the meantime, may the story of Luz Milagros (Little Miracle) continue to inspire us all. Obviously she was meant to be here.
December 30, 2009
According to Answers.com, there is a baby born in the U.S. every 8 seconds, a figure that is both staggering and exhilarating. As an obstetrician, my greatest desires is for all 11,803 babies born each day to arrive healthy and safely. I would like to dedicate my last blog post of 2009 to all the beautiful moms-in-waiting and share some pearls from my 22-year professional journey.
The force that moves the air within our lungs, the blood within our veins, is the same force that has created the life within your womb. The most important key to a healthy pregnancy is the consciousness that lies within. Your child will be shaped by your thoughts, your dreams, your values, your energy. You are the ship that will carry the baby to the shores of its pre-ordained human experience. Please let the journey be smooth. Do not create a storm from worry, a tornado from doubt, a cloud from fear, a disaster from envy. The majority of patients who end up with emergency cesarean sections are those with “fetal distress.” What was causing the distress? Who was causing the distress? Let it not be you, its mother.
Because of the advent of 4-D ultrasound technology, we can actually observe fetal behavior in the womb. We can see babies yawning, sucking their thumbs, stretching their arms and legs, even playing with their umbilical cords. They respond to music, the rhythm of your heartbeat, a touch from your partner, the sound of your voice. You are literally filled with the miracle of life. There is no gift on Earth more precious than that.
You are smarter, stronger, and more brilliant that you can ever imagine. You have been selected, yes, selected, to be this child’s mother. That is the Divine Connection.
I wish you a healthy, joyous pregnancy and a prosperous and blessed New Year.
This excerpt is taken from The Smart Mother’s Guide® to a Better Pregnancy. All Rights Reserved.