“My first was born by c-section due to brow presentation. I was induced at 41 weeks 4 days. Long labor.
My second was a successful VBAC. I was induced with him also at 41 weeks, 5 days with a Pitocin drip. Contractions didn’t start right away and, after about 3 hours, the doctor broke my water. Things started so slow, but the doctor was very patient and we waited. Finally the contractions were getting a bit heavy and I decided on an epidural. I was given a small amount and was still able to feel the contractions but the peaks had been tapered off. I then dilated quite quickly from 8 to 10 (45 minutes) and had that intense need to push. So I pushed for about 30 minutes and our son was born. But when he came out his cord was wrapped twice real tight around his neck. He was not breathing. His one minute Apgar was 3. He was given oxygen and, within 5 minutes, his Apgar score was up to 8.”
Susan, you said- ‘But when he came out his cord was wrapped twice real tight around his neck. He was not breathing, Apgar was 3. Given oxygen and within 5 minutes his Apgar was up to 8.’ Susan, you are making a very common mistake. Attributing your baby’s low 1 minute Apgar to the cord around the neck is not correct. Your baby had a low Apgar at birth because you had an epidural and the pitocin drip was turned up too high. We know this because the second stage was so short. The cord around the neck is the reason the doctors give you so you won’t ask questions about why he was blasted out so quickly.
This kind of pitocin induction is sometimes associated with delayed speech and/or learning difficulties. It depresses the baby’s oxygen levels through the pushing stage. The reason the baby’s Apgar score came up nicely after 5 minutes is because you grew an essentially healthy baby and it was difficult for modern obstetrics to kill him.
So many women are told the baby didn’t breathe or wasn’t pink because of the umbilical cord being around the neck. It is a lie. We don’t see this at unmedicated home births and I have attended births where the cord was tight and up to five times around the neck.
The two most important things with a VBAC are:
1. don’t do anything to increase the strength of the contractions and
2. don’t anaesthetize the woman.
Your former doctor put you and your baby in danger by not following those two protocols. Your uterus was put in unnecessary danger of rupturing by both the Pitocin drip and artificially rupturing the membranes. In hindsight, the cord was around the neck and, thus, probably out of danger but artificially rupturing the membranes is associated with causing the umbilical cord to prolapse–an obstetric emergency.
“Gloria, it sounds like you just completely described what happened to me and my son–who does have learning difficulties and developmental delays.”
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This photo shows a baby born at home in the U.K. who had the cord twice around the neck and was in a breech presentation. Note his good colour.
Added January 2015: I just saw this video of a woman giving birth unassisted. The birthing woman calmly unwraps one loop of cord once the baby is out. Found on www.midwifethinking.com
Here’s a video of a hospital birth. Doctor is busy in the Operating Room. Woman births her baby and unwraps the multi-wrapped cord around the neck.