Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cool Things I Learned About Childbirth

If you've got a thing about blood, poop, or medical stuff, you may want to skip this post. Seriously.

As I stated in the previous post, I was heavily involved in the birth of our son about two weeks ago. I asked lots of questions, got as close as they'd allow, and kept involved as much as possible. I learned a tremendous amount, and had a great time on my little science-y field trip to the labor and delivery room with my wife. Here's just some highlights:

  • Contractions are surprisingly consistent and predictable, both in frequency and magnitude. I loved the live data that the monitors were able to acquire regarding heart rate, blood pressure, and the contractions.
  • Internal heart rate monitors (for the baby in utero) are actually screwed into his scalp when it's visible through the vagina. Like a tiny fishhook.
  • The baby's first poop is actually meconium and is from swallowing amniotic fluid and such.
  • Babies can have their first poop in utero. This can cause some problems immediately after birth, so the uterus is flushed out with clean fluid during delivery.
  • Once the baby's head is out, things move pretty quickly. No, I take that back. Darn near instantly.
  • Babies are sometimes born with splotches of vernix on them, which is a waxy, protective gunk. It kind of looks like soft, white cheese.
  • Umbilical cords are much thicker than I thought and when you cut it, it feels like you're cutting rubber tubing.
  • After the rest of the umbilical cord and placenta are delivered, you have to inspect the placenta to ensure that all of it made the trip out. Small pieces left inside are dangerous.
  • The placenta and umbilical cord pulsate a bit after they're out. Yes, it's as creepy as it sounds.
  • If the doctor decides that an episiotomy is needed, they're quick and precise with the scissors. If you blink, you miss it.
  • There are different levels of tearing, one to four. Level two isn't bad.
  • They put antibacterial gel on the baby's eyes shortly after birth to prevent infection.
  • Babies sometimes come out with fine hair on their back and shoulders called lanugo. It falls out after a little while.
  • There's a slick little tool that's used to perform the circumcision of newborns. It makes it darn near impossible to mess up. It even comes in different sizes. :)

All in all, it was a very educational trip.


1 comment: said...

And, it's INCREDIBLE isn't it?! I loved every minute of being there with my wife for both of my boys' entrances. I even begged the doctors to assist with the circumcisions each time. They just looked at me like "For real? You'd better not pass out!" Thanks for sharing. -Mr. Blonde