A Different Perspective

This morning I received this note from an old friend who, after reading my blog and expressing her sadness that things had not worked out with us and our OB-GYN, chimed in on a topic close to her: 

“I do feel, however, that I need to defend Northwestern after reading your last post.  As someone who is part of a specially trained team that is called to deliveries when there is suspicion that the baby may need to be resuscitated to some degree, I have literally been at countless deliveries.  I can tell you with absolute certainty that there is NO slapping of babies at delivery.  Not ever. I don’t know if there was some confusion in the way the CPR instructor phrased things, but I just need to let you know that that is not a practice that ever occurs.

“A baby does not need to be born screaming and crying, but a baby DOES need to take a breath.  If a baby does not breathe shortly after delivery, a baby is stimulated to breathe.  This involves drying of the baby with blankets, or maybe rubbing the baby’s back or bottom of the baby’s feet.  It certainly never involves slapping.  Whether at a birthing center or at Northwestern, a baby will be stimluated to breathe in a method similar to this.

“I am very very proud of where I work and what I do, and I don’t mean to be confrontational.  But since I am actually present at these deliveries, I felt like I needed to let you know how things are truly done.”

While I stand by my personal experience with Northwestern and my OB-GYN in particular, my friend’s note reminded me of something important while we have these discussions: not everyone’s experience is a mirror image of another’s, and the misinformed direction of one staff member should never indict an entire group of people who dedicate their lives in the service of others, especially in this particular discussion.

I’m sad that I offended my friend, or anyone else, as that wasn’t my intention. Just the same, sometimes it doesn’t matter what your intention is when the outcome is as such. Plus, it’s important to point out to everyone who reads me that what we were told in the CPR class at Northwestern is not at all procedure, and this comes directly from someone I’ve not only known and trusted since I was 14, but also is someone who actually works within this particular arena in question. For that, I consider myself lucky.

As I told her, sadly our experience has just not been a positive one, and we’re all just not a fit for each other. And I think that’s OK. But, it’s definitely worth reassuring you that despite what we were told last week, slapping a baby to get it to cry is definitely not procedure at Northwestern.