I am a midwife, childbirth educator, lecturer, doula, and natural mother of eight children. This is not a medical reference; I do not proclaim to give medical advice. Anything stated here is from personal experience, research, study, and opinion. Each woman has the responsibility to do her own research, consult with her own medical team, and make her own decisions about pregnancy and birth.

Monday, March 7, 2011

May Allah Ease the Pain

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
Photo Credit: Ben Earwicker www.garrisonphoto.org/sxc

I recently received an email from a first-time expectant mother in Maldives.  She had found my article, Shoulder Dystocia, Baby's Shoulders Stuck During Birth!, when searching for information on shoulder dystocia.  She shared links to news articles about a recent tragedy regarding a stuck baby in her community.
She asked me to share the story so that other women around the world would become educated and hopefully help to prevent such incidences from occurring.  Before you read on, I must warn you that the featured story is horrifying and tragic.
I appreciate story contributions and ideas for my blog.  I'm sorry this one is so sad.  Now on to the story...May Allah Ease the Pain...
First of all, let me pray for all expectant mothers.  May Allah keep you healthy, make your birth easy, and your baby healthy and pleasing to HIM and his/her parents...ameen.
At the end of my commentary are links to the news articles about a poor mother in Maldives who lost her baby during birth.  May Allah heal her physically and ease her emotional pain and that of her family, the medical staff, and community at large, and may the baby's parents be greeted by their child at the gates of Jennah...ameen.
In this case, the baby became stuck during birth and consequently died.  Apparently the baby was so stuck that the doctors could not get it out vaginally or by cesarean surgery (half out half in, I guess).  They made the desperate decision to decapitate the infant to complete removal of the head vaginally and the body via cesarean.  At the time of the news reports, the mother was recovering in the hospital and had not spoken to the press personally. 
Let me reassure you that shoulder dystocia is not a common occurrance and that a change in mother's position is often all that's needed to alleviate it (stay off your back in labor/birth!).  In this case it was a large baby and the mother had underlying medical complications (according to the article). 
I do not know from the news reports what position this mother was in, nor do I know the typical birthing positions of women in her community.  Regardless, what is done is done and is qadr Allah.  From HIM we all came and to HIM we all shall return.
I'm sure that the doctors and nurses were doing what they felt best for this mother and baby.  No doctor intentionally harms his patient, although many doctor caused injuries and deaths happen due to ignorance and overmanagement where birth is concerned. 
It is difficult to determine if this was a case of over or under management of the birth.  (Over management if she was under anesthsia of any kind as well as stuck on her back and they didn't try varying positions...under management if she should have had a cesarean from the onset...but who really knows.) 
Regardless, everyone involved was traumatized!  The loss of the baby is devistating enough, but the decision to decapitate the infant was one of obvious desperation and I'm sure not taken lightly.  Audthobillah, I can't even imagine the horror!
I pray for healing and for better education (not only for the doctors but also for the women).  Women who get educated, get prepared (mentally, physically, emotionally), eat well, excercise and do everything they can to stay healthy and low-risk have far fewer complications and less need for medical interventions in birth.   
I hope that we learn from this tragedy.  Natural birth is usually best, but that means the whole gammet of "natural," not just "vaginal" (not on the back, not in stirrups, not with IV, not on pain medication, etc.).  However, about 5 to 10% of the time cesearan really is needed.  The difficulty can be in discerning which births really fall into that category.
I am not an obstetrician or midwife and sometimes I think it's better to not have the responsibility of decisions like these on my shoulders.  May Allah bless those with the charge of maternity care to have the strength, courage, proper training, and guidance in times of complication to make the best decisions possible...ameen.
Below are the links to the news articles:
I welcome prayers in my comments section.

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