This story was submitted by Faizah, one of our readers.
My preemie daughter was born at 26 weeks (9 Jan 2008) through a breech and normal vaginal delivery. We were scheduled for a c-sect but there were so much hassle and delays with the nurses and doctors. I was already about to give birth, with a contraction every 3 minutes! I felt like pushing when finally the wheelchair was wheeled in to send me to the delivery suite.
I was so ready to be surgically cut at the mid-section (with all those thoughts and videos I’ve watched about c-sect delivery) but the hopes came crashing. The delivery team told me there were not much time to waste and I HAD to give birth vaginally. I refused and objected and reminded them about the c-sect I was promised, and they finally dropped the bomb.
“We can’t. Your baby’s legs are already out. If we do a c-sect, we would have to pull your baby back from your womb. Its legs are already in contact with the oxygen. It would only cause you to have infection from your birth canal to your uterus and womb.”
Oh boy, push I did from down there. It was hard because I couldn’t feel her moving or sliding out of me. But of course I was in pain. No epidural whatsoever! The team (2 doctors, 1 medical chief, 2 nurses and 2 midwives…plus the NICU team, waiting at the back with an incubator and oxygen supply) kept telling me to push and push and they updated me on what was already out. Once Fateha’s tiny body came out, it was left with her head. It was stuck and they had a difficulty in pulling her. The team used forceps to grab on her head or something but failed. They did a late episiotomy to widen things up and with a lot of pulling and tugging, Fateha was out. PHEW!!
She was resuscitated because she wasn’t breathing for about 5-10 minutes. Once they had her pulse and heart pumping, into the incubator she went and was pushed into the NICU. I was left with the medical chief, the husband and 2 nurses in the suite. I didn’t have the chance to hold and kiss and cuddle my baby.
It was a week after her birth and visiting her in the NICU had always been a tearful event. I didn’t dare to touch her, thought that I might pull off her skin or something. She looked so fragile. Then I noticed something that wasn’t normal. She had a wrist drop. I called for the nurse and she came to see, to only quickly brush it off as normal because she had been on the drip and IV-line for a week on that hand.
Sorry! I didn’t buy that. I got another nurse who came and she agreed with me. Something had to be done. She called for the physiotherapist and he came. He touched her a few times, moving up the wrist and hand before finally telling me, “I think she may be having what we called Erb’s Palsy.” He secretly whispered to me that we could actually take legal actions against the delivery team but the subject was dropped. I didn’t like to do this kind of thing.
So, he assigned an occupational therapist the next day to fix a wrist splint for Fateha. (which we still keep till today.) It worked so well that after a month, there was an improvement. No more droopy wrist and she began to move her fingers and hand. And everyday, in the NICU, Fateha received about 30 minutes of physiotherapy to improve her right arm’s mobility. It didn’t do much, though. Her progress was terribly slow.
Till 2 weeks ago. Yes! We have been doing lots of physiotherapy and exercises to get her hand move. She managed to get it up to her cheeks. That was all. And her elbow was always bent. I did a lot of research (as advised by her physiotherapist) on Erb’s Palsy before coming to a conclusion that we got to do a corrective surgery.