Once baby Micaiah graced our world, he was silently crying. He came straight to my chest, Ricky cut the cord, but still no noise.
They were constantly suctioning out fluid from his throat and nose, but he had apparently swallowed a bit too much fluid on his way out of the birth canal. They had to take him to the incubator to keep clearing out his airways. Daddy’s job after delivery is to follow baby, so off they went.
The doula stayed with me and soothingly kept me in the know because I had no idea what was happening.
They took baby Micaiah to the NICU.
I tested positive for having the vaginal bacteria GBS (Group B Strep) and did not know it until right then. Since baby swallowed so much fluid coming out, the bacteria could cause pneumonia or an infection in his lungs. Baby Micaiah would need antibiotics, almost immediately. But they needed our permission.
Well, I just tried my hardest to avoid all medications for L&D, and we purposefully have a birth plan that Ricky enforces to keep baby practically untouched by the medical staff. So, wanting to be cautious and prayerful about this, we asked if we, the parents, could have a moment to pray and discuss it together before making a decision.
The pediatric doctor did not like that; he expected immediate and complete compliance. He grew quite upset and gave us 15 minutes come to a conclusion.
We ended up consenting to the antibiotics, which were to be administered over 48 hours in the NICU.
I got to go visit baby Micaiah several hours later for the first time since birth. The caveat: I was not suppose to breastfeed him for 24 hours, until his lungs were all cleared out. I held him skin-to-skin and watched all four of his stats improve – yay, go Mom!
My mom and doula were present and suggested that I attempt nursing him. I wanted to and thought that I would diligently monitor the stats while I tried and take baby Micaiah off the breast if any stat began to decrease. After he eagerly latched on and gulped for about 10 seconds, my mom and doula joked about how baby Micaiah was starving and left the NICU.
Not a moment after that, the head nurse yanked our privacy curtain open and very loudly and angrily chastised us for breastfeeding him against their admonition. I, of course, detached baby Micaiah but continued to hold him on my skin. The nurse told me to hand baby Micaiah over because I was trying to kill my baby. I calmly told her I wouldn’t hand him over precisely because I care for my baby’s survival (remember, all of his stats improved in my arms). She then tried to grab him away from me, but I held tightly to my little one. A crowd began to gather. In a hysterical rage, the nurse shouted many accusations and other horrible things that any new mother should never hear.
Somehow, God allowed me to have such calm, peace of mind, attentiveness, and self-control during all of this, just hours after giving birth. (Ricky and I were amazed because that is not my nature at all!)
Then, the patient liaison began to pull me (my wheelchair) backwards. I turned my head and told her that what she was doing was physical abuse. That stopped her.
Soon, I gave baby Micaiah back.
We went back to our room. A minute later, the same pediatric doctor stuck his head in and informed us that he had called DSS on us because of our bad attitudes. Ricky and I looked at each other completely baffled.
Obviously, the government thinks it is the owner of each person (citizen) and just loans our children to us. If we do not automatically and fully comply with what they say, then they revoke our parenting privilege and step in to take over their “rightful” ownership role. Yep, it’s scary.
Anyway, I got to start breastfeeding baby Micaiah the next day. He was fine and had no problems.
We got to leave after three nights there. The entire nursing staff either avoided us or walked on eggshells around us. No one wanted to get caught becoming friendly with the rogue patients.
DSS did pay us a visit – and found it to be a waste of time.
My doula encouraged me to share my story with the hospital’s nurse administrator. I realized that, by God’s grace, I was able to handle the whole fiasco. But, I would never want any other new mom to endure that. So, I interviewed with her, stressing that she needed to teach and train her staff in humility, propriety, service and self-control. She was very disheartened by the story, yet determined to make a change.
I (Charis) recently got to be part of a birth at this same hospital. They have updated the facility with a team of midwives. I am confident this is because Aidan and perhaps other customers had the courage to speak up.
(Catch up on Aidan's precious story.)