Thursday, March 08, 2007

I'm not freaking out

Week 37So yesterday I got myself all freaked out about GBS - Group B Strep - which I tested positive for. It's a type of bacteria (totally different from Group A Strep, which causes strep throat) that routinely colonizes the intestinal tract of healthy people. When it's present, it's usually intermittent. It is not considered pathogenic in adults. The only problem is when it's present during labor and delivery.

Most of the time, even if it is present the baby doesn't pick it up on its way into the big wide world. But 10% of the time they do. And 10% of those babies have life threatening infections. GBS is actually the #1 source of infection in newborns. It causes all kinds of horrible scary things like sepsis (a blood infection), meningitis and pneumonia among others. A certain percentage of the time it's fatal, but we're not going to think about that.

Current medical wisdom is to administer a course of IV antibiotics to the laboring woman about 8 hours before she gives birth. Our hospital administers the drugs every 4 hours during labor, since there's no way really to know exactly when the baby will pop out. But the trouble with antibiotics is that you have to take enough antibiotics of sufficient strength to kill *all* of the bacteria. Otherwise, what's left is the super strong drug resistent bacteria that come back and wollop you with a doozy of an infection that is resistent to treatment.

When my midwife said I was positive for GBS I was bummed, mostly because I was worred it would interfere with my desire to have a natural birth. I didn't really know how serious it could be for the baby. And she was so nonchalant about it. She basically said you'll just take these antibiotics and everything will be fine. And she's probably right. But then yesterday I read that although the upside of the anitbiotics is that it greatly reduces the chance that the baby will be infected with GBS, the downside is that if she does get an infection it has a much higher chance of being resistant to antibiotics.

But I decided today that I'm going to let go of these worries. It really helped yesterday trading emails with Arwen's cousin's wife Nisha and his aunt Monica who went through this at the birth of Nisha & Dion's son Odin. Nisha got the meds and all was well. I'm just going to put some faith in the universe that it'll work out the same way for us.


Anonymous said...

I took a deep breath with you at the end of this entry and felt the release of worry you wrote about. Ah....yes.... it will all work out fine for Roan and for you and Arwen. I love the way you write your process: you read, learn, consider, decide and stay flexibly prepared for the big day ahead. Could Roan ask for anything more precious and wonderful? (NO!) What an amazing and valuable skill you just modeled for her as she grows! Nothing freaky about that! Just great mothering! Congrats are in order so pat yourself on the back (or tummy)!

love, monica

Beryl said...

Oh, I just read your blog and I just know that you and Roan will be fine. 10% sounds like a risky number,but then that means that 90% have no problem!- and that is terrific odds! You are strong, healthy and in wonderful hands with Arwen, your midwife, Jen and all of the capable hospital staff...
And Roan dropped?? Whoppee... your big day is right around the corner. We are with you guys in spirit!!
Oodles and buckets of love!!
Beryl and Jim