Fourier Analysis is a mathematical tool which can do a number of things: separate out signals from noise; help identify patterns or trends in data; filter out all unwanted data and focus on a single signal; use approximations to make generalizations; make approximations of real world signals (think electronic music); combine harmonics to get a stronger signal. That's what I'll be trying to do here!! Won't you join me with your comments?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Newbie Parents' First Night

There has been various talk of children, babies, diapers, etc. on some of the blogs I regularly read, so I was inspired this week to tell one of my favorite diaper experiences. And yes, as are all my Soap Opera Sunday stories, this is very true. New to this blog and don't know what an S.O.S. story is? Well you are in for a treat if you will just hop over to either 'Twas Brillig or Walking Kateastrophe, and follow their links to all the other players and their sudsy tales! Other of my tales are found under the S.O.S label on this page.

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Prior to the birth of DD1, I did what every professional woman does I am sure, and bought a number of baby books and read up on the experience. I also visited the new Moms in my neighborhood, oohed and aahed over their offspring, and listened to stories of deliveries and doctors visits. I talked to girlfriends with children and heard how their lives had changed, and knew it would be the same for me. I was as prepared as was theoretically possible.

I entered into my final month of pregnancy feeling strong and confident and looking forward to the remaining 3-4 weeks, knowing that the "due date" was not an exact science and fully expecting my firstborn to procrastinate coming into the hard, cold world as long as possible. After all, her father was a world champion procrastinator and had not yet set up the baby bed and rest of the furniture.

So of course, our little bundle of joy/frustration/surprise set the pattern of contrariness which she continues to follow (her 12th birthday was Friday), and was born 3 weeks early! I don't really have a horror story so cannot really participate in the great Gyno-Fest "From Behind the Stir-Ups" that is currently being hosted by our lovely 'Twas Brillig and Amy from the Butrfly Garden. Childbirth in the Netherlands is considered a natural experience and over half of all births are in the home. I read one year the percentage was a high as 77%! And the Netherlands ranks as one of the countries with the lowest infant mortality in the world. So while you may see your OB/GYN for pre-natal care and check-ups, you can also book with a mid-wife and see her at the same time. And insurance will cover the costs for both! The theory is that if something goes wrong with the home birth, you would have a back-up and your records would be in the hospital system in case you had to deliver there. And encouraging home births is cheaper for the insurance companies and they are no fools! As an alternative, you can choose to deliver in the hospital but you are not required to stay for any longer than is medically indicated! (Flash to the future, DD2 was born around 3 AM and I was home with her be 10 AM. It would have been sooner but I had to call and wake up hubby to come back and get me!). But I digress...

DD1 was a "complete breach" birth, which means she was born butt first with her feet up by her ears. (I told you she was contrary!) She was a vaginal birth, no Cesearean, which horrified my mother to learn about, but I was very pleased. (Again, the Netherlands has a fairly low rate of C-sections as they are used only when deemed medically necessary!) Due to a potential lung infection and the fact that she was a breach birth and "early", not premature, but not a good birthweight, they kept us both in the hospital for 2 nights.

Finally we were released home on a Saturday morning and were visited shortly afterwards by the "kraamhulp". This is a home nurse who comes everyday for up to 10 days after the baby's birth. Her duties are to look after the mother and child, taking temperature and blood pressure, monitoring how much they both sleep and eat, and excrete and noting this in the charts. She also does light housekeeping and cleaning, prepares meals for the mother and any young children, changes and bathes the baby, helps teach these skills and aids with nursing and feeding the baby and getting both mother and child settled into their new routine. She is present for the first doctor's home visit and reports on any problems she has noticed. And in general helps give new parents the information and training they need in caring for their newborn.

After our helper, Jenny, had visited and helped us change the diaper, we were left to the first afternoon and evening at home as a "family". As DD1 had been a bit jaundiced and was still a rather low birth weight, we were cautioned to notice and make sure that she was nursing enough and urinating regularly. So after the first time of nursing her by myself (success!) we both went upstairs to change her diaper. And we found that it was completely dry. No worries, so we put her to bed and a couple of hours later she was crying again to be fed (we started on a 3-4 hour schedule). Everything went smoothly, but again, the diaper was completely dry. Now the inexperienced motherly concern is coming on. But I did not let myself panic until after the next time I nursed her. Still the diaper was dry. By now it is midnight and I am not about to sleep through the night without getting her checked out by a doctor. My husband's cooler head prevailed and instead of rushing us off to the hospital, he had me call the night service of our family doctor. The doctor on the phone listened to my rundown of DD1's birth and history, and the list of the complications including the jaundice, and concerns and my description of the problem as my voice cracked from the barely controlled rising hysteria I felt.

The doctor listened patiently and then asked me what kind of diaper we were using, cloth or disposable? "Disposable." I replied. "Well," he said," In my experience, these new disposable diapers are so efficient that they may seem to be perfectly dry when in fact, they have absorbed quite a bit of fluid. Take a fresh diaper and put it on the baby scale and weigh it. Then weigh the diaper you have just taken off the baby. If there is more than 100 grams of difference, you can be assured that your baby's kidneys are functioning as they should be. If not, call me back and I will make a house call."

Of course, there was no house call necessary. Funny, how all the books and preparations still did not cover this "emergency"! I don't think I have ever felt more stupid!

Happy Weekend and enjoy the rest of the S.O.S. stories!

15 comments:

anno said...

Funny story, in retrospect. I would have been worried, too, though, especially with the jaundice. It's always better to make the call and find out you had nothing to worry about, than to let fear of embarrassment keep you from making a call.

Summer said...

I didn't realize that some disposable's were that efficient. I've always been able to tell when my kids have filled their dispisable's.
Also, better safe than sorry. I would have called the doc too.

Jen said...

This was such an interesting story for me to read. Mainly because the Dutch system is so much more humane than ours is and it kind of broke my heart (although happy for you and the other mothers who give birth there), as my birth experience could have been an SOS all by itself. And not for good reasons. But yeah, those disposable diapers can be tricky when you're new at the job. So glad it was nothing more than that!

Kate said...

I'm glad that dd#1 was okay, and you definitely made the right choice to call . . . tricky disposables! :)

Kateastrophe said...

All that extra help sounds DIVINE! And what a funny story. I'm sure something like that (or worse) is going to happen to me when we have our first kid. My name ain't Kateastrophe for nothing!

Robin said...

Too funny. For my own newbie mom diaper story, I was trying bravely to change my son's first diaper, but every diaper I tried "had no tape! where the hell's the damn tape?!?" I had no idea that the tabs didn't feel "sticky" and threw out diaper after diaper, getting more hysterical with each one, thinking the whole batch was defective. And the worst part? My mother videotaped the entire thing!

Thalia's Child said...

Punkin was a similar birth - 4 weeks early, incredibly jaundiced. Nothing prepares you for surprises like that (We thought Punkin was only 2 weeks early!)

And yeah. Stupid diapers. It still throws me when they seem dry but aren't.

Secret Agent Mama said...

.oO Great choice for your SOS! It was a pleasure to read.. :) I've not had one child that didn't have jaundice, though.

Goofball said...

Geeez, I wouldn't know that either! Are they really that good. How would you know, right? And as a mom, you do worry for sure. I am sure the doctor understood :). Don't feel embarrassed!

I think they are now diapers with drawings on them that change color when the diaper is wet.

Leslie said...

Ha! I can relate to your hysteria, though. Julia was jaundiced at birth, too. They told me to pay attention to how much I nursed and how much she urinated. So, I spent the first few weeks of her life documenting, in detail, in a notebook every possible thing about what went in and what came out.

Great S.O.S.

Virtualsprite said...

That is so funny. I would have panicked just the same, though. I think I did, in fact. :-)

Great SOS, as usual!

Jenn in Holland said...

Hehe. I remember playing a baby shower game once where we had to make predictions about how much liquid a diaper would hold before it actually exploded and/or leaked. If memory serves correctly, I believe the result of our very scientific experiment was 8 cups! Woah.
That is a too too funny, first mommy story!

Rebecca said...

like Jen I had an awful (far too much medical intervention!) first birth which led to me having a c-section and c-sections for subsequent births. It breaks my heart a little too sometimes - I think the Dutch system is far better - assuming that the 'natural' way is best and intervening only when absolutely necessary.

Anyway - the nappy story was hilarious - but I can understand your panic 0 those disposables sure are amazing!

nell said...

Hahaha! Ah, new motherhood. I remember that...

soccer mom in denial said...

I used disposibles for my kids. I learned a trick to put a tissue (Kleenex) in the middle during the first week home to see if it was wet. Worked like a charm.

Great SOS.