Friday, September 19, 2008
I went to a c-section the other day for a mom who had labored and did not progress. She had gestational diabetes, which tips off a red flag for me because those babies can be born with a host of problems. Particularly in the situation of a mother who does not or cannot control her diabetes well, her blood sugar is usually running high all the time. Consequently, the baby's sugar is high, and the baby's pancreas is kicking out insulin to combat it. Insulin is a growth hormone, AND it interferes with the production of a chemical in the baby's lungs that helps them mature. So you get a huuuuuge baby (usually born a couple of weeks early because they're so big - between 9 and 10 lbs) with lungs that are not quite up to snuff. Furthermore, when the baby's born, its pancreas hasn't gotten the message yet that it doesn't need to keep putting out all the insulin, so what blood sugar the baby DOES have quickly gets eaten up. So now you have a baby that looks like it was inflated with a bike pump (they're a lot chunkier than 9-10 lb babies whose moms were not diabetic), with respiratory distress, and a blood sugar of 15 (we want it well over 40). Ugh.
So this baby was born to a diabetic mother at 38 weeks gestation, and I think he may have been even a little earlier than that. I was expecting a large baby, but not a large baby who wasn't breathing and had no heartbeat (I don't know why - it was an otherwise uncomplicated c-section). I haven't had to do CPR in a long time on a baby, and of the many times I've done it, the outcome has never been good (those babies were far, far worse off, though). Praise God, though, after a minute of "one-and-two-and-three-and-breathe-and-" he started to sputter and cry, turned pink, and as far as I know, is living happily ever after. I'm not sure if the parents fully realize that their child already received a second chance (they were completely unaware of what was going on on the other side of the room). But life is fragile, you know? The whole of it is a miracle, really. I'm so thankful to see these miracles on a regular basis, and have the honor of being useful in some of them.