A birth has so many firsts: first breath, first touch, first kiss and cry. Even for doctors and nurses who deliver tens of thousands of babies in their careers, each one can be as unique as the babies who are born.
It’s one of the few situations in healthcare where two patients are being seen to but there is one you cannot see. Our staff are prepared for any quick change of plan in an instant by always staying a few steps ahead and anticipating what is about to unfold.
In this Up Close photo series, you get to have a look at some of the possibilities during
child birth at McMaster University Medical Centre. Hopefully it’s a first look for you!
During an induction where oxytocin is used, contractions can become very long. This can affect baby’s heart rate so it needs to be continuously monitored. Sometimes when the placenta is in the front or the position of baby makes it difficult to get a heartbeat reading with an external monitor. In those cases, a monitor is placed directly on baby’s head.
Danielle, the nurse, is helping coach mom through contractions. If mom’s goal is to either go without an epidural as long as possible or not to use one at all, one tactic is to keep mom as comfortable as possible. Regular positon changes of the pelvis also helps labour progress more quickly and smoothly. This helps move the baby down in to the pelvis.
The Labour & Delivery (L&D) nurse, Sam, is monitoring the baby’s heart with a Doppler fetal monitor. This is used for intermittent monitoring. L&D nurses are on a one-to-one ratio with patients for active labours.
The anesthesiologist is part way through setting up the epidural. First, a small needle to is used to numb the area. Here, a catheter is being set up that will remain in place and deliver a steady flow of medication.
Epidurals are very safe. The anesthesiologist verbally goes through all potential risk factors before the procedure.
When baby is being constantly monitored, there are two types of information available on the print out. One is the mother’s contractions and the other is baby’s heart rate. The important information gathered is what baby’s heart rate is doing in relation to the length and frequency of contractions.
Epidurals are a beautiful thing, allowing mothers to relax, watch the game and cheer on their team, or get caught up on the latest Game of Thrones, during what would otherwise be a painful labour process.
Dr. Dustin Costescu, an OB/GYN (Left) and Dr. Valerie Bloomfield, an OB resident, (centre left) are in the room for the delivery. Typically, during the pushing process, it’s only the nurse and the family/support person of mom in the room. The doctors return once baby’s head is part way out. The L&D nurse, Sam (top right) is watching baby’s heart rate.
The doctors are helping the forehead nose and chin come out. Dr. Valerie Bloomfield is also feeling for the umbilical cord to make sure it’s not around baby’s neck. Sometimes if the cord is very tight, they must clamp and cut it before the baby is fully out to allow mom to continue to push without potentially harming baby.
During delivery, a second nurse comes in to help hang medications. This process is well-timed with the position of baby so that once they have one shoulder out, medication is delivered to mom.
This photo is seconds after baby Sadie was born. Immediately after birth, Sadie began squawking, which is a positive sign that she can go straight on to mom’s chest. The goal is always to straight on to mom’s chest as fast as possible. Since baby Sadie is a bit wet and might get cold, she is dressed in a hat and blanket right away.
Mom had some concerns with being able to latch but Sadie did very well.
Baby Sadie is getting weighed.
For a baby in good health, the resuscitation bay is used as a weighing scale and warmer.
The panda warmers are in every delivery room and house equipment needed for resuscitation.
Uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact for the first two hours’ baby’s life is ideal. This isn’t always possible if there are other medical care needs. This can be mom, their partner or any family support person. The instant a baby is born, their blood and oxygen circulation switches from receiving oxygen via the placenta to being able to breath on their own. The first few squawks or noises help push fluid out of their lungs but sometimes not all of it. Here you can see Zoey is getting rid of last little bits of fluid.
Moms are encouraged to feed baby right away to help regulate blood sugars. The first bit of breastmilk, called colostrum, is high in sugars, calories and fat.
Here’s a short video tour of our labour and delivery department at McMaster University Medical Centre.
If you enjoyed this photo set, have a look at other collections in the Up Close series:
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