07 June 2006

AND a lactation specialist too?

Should I pursue this too? There is only one certified lactation counselor in all of Thailand and she mainly helps moms at the hospital where she works. Not good! I'm filling in as best as I can, with no formal training, unless you can count having read 3 breastfeeding books as formal!

My most recent experience. We have many missionaries visit our church from surrounding countries. Whenever I see a pregnant mama, I pretty much know she's flown into Bangkok to have her baby because China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos don't have good medical care. So they come here for high-tech, highly-unnatural childbirth instead! But at least they won't be sterilized (like in China) or exposed to AIDS (like in Vietnam and China) or have complications that can't be treated (like in Cambodia).

4 weeks ago, I met C and M, missionaries from a local communist country. She was 37 weeks pregnant, due with their first. They were using Bumrungrad hospital, the "best" hospital in Bangkok. It has an 80% C-section rate!!!!! Your odds are not good for a natural delivery there. Most labor and delivery nurses there have NEVER seen an unmedicated vaginal delivery. So we all talked a little bit, and later, I gave her my contact info saying I could help with labor assistance, childbirth ed (which they hadn't done), and breastfeeding basics.

I saw her at 40weeks (on her due date!) and she still had not dropped, which is really strange for a first baby. Felt her tummy and could tell it wasn't quite right. I didn't tell her that, but I knew that either the baby was too big to drop (not very likely) or that she had a malposition. They called me Thursday morning to say that she'd had a C-section. Her water had broken, no contractions after 6 hours, and the baby had not dropped. I think if she'd waited for contractions (up to 24 hr) and given her baby time, the baby should have rotated and corrected itself.

Bigger baby too. 4.4kg (9lb 12oz). But not too big. The nurses and pediatrician said the baby was too big and that formula supplementation was needed. Crazy!!! They wouldn't bring her the baby to breastfeed or would sneak bottles and then the baby wouldn't want to nurse. How did they teach her to nurse? Showed her a video!! So in desparation and having NO ONE else to ask for help, they called me. After 1.5 hours, the baby nursed 2 times, having some trouble latching, but it was better than before. I taught them the basics of breastfeeding, gave moral support, and one order. Keep the baby in the room at all times and NO MORE BOTTLES.

I am so happy to announce that the baby is now 100% breastfed! I apologized to them at the time that I couldn't help them as much as they needed since I'm not really trained in it. Just some experience. I felt so inadequate. I learned some basics with my doula/CBE training but I was still overwhelmed. Guess I'll either get that with midwifery training or try to get some training somewhere else. Unfortunately, I'd have to work with another lactation specialist, but none of those are willing or here! Hmm, one more thing to add to my studies!

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At 10:46 PM, Blogger Laura said...

erin-that's so exciting! you helped a baby be breastfed-yay! I think that you will get that training as you become a midwife-at least i know amy was great at it, so either she was formally trained at it or just learned it by experience. can't wait to see y'all!

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Merri said...

Erin, I found your name several times as I researched homebirth and midwives in Thailand. My husband (Thai) and I (American) along with our two children (homebirths!!) will be moving to Bangkok the beginning of September. We are expecting another baby. Would you be willing to email me so I could ask you some questions?? (merri94@juno.com)


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