Medicine (HLD 288)

5 Jan 2021

Thirty two and a bit years ago, I gave birth to a large baby. It was a long labour and despite daaaaaays of effort, the large baby and his large head did not want to make their exit. An emergency Caesarian was eventually performed and my 10lb 3oz bundle of joy was finally delivered.

Within a couple of days we had a lot of visitors, but the one that stuck in my mind was from a relative who had previously delivered three children with all the effort and time involved in a good sneeze. She said “My goodness Heather – what HAVE they done to you?”. My response then, and my attitude has not changed since, was “Saved our lives, most likely”.

Because the reality was, going back a few decades or centuries, a large baby who could not be delivered by the traditional route could mean the death of the mother or baby or both. The fact that surgical intervention was available (I’d like to say readily available, but as I stated earlier, it was daaaaaaays worth of effort!) was, in my mind, life saving for both of us.

When things go right, that’s wonderful. If they don’t, we have to rely on whatever medical assistance is available to us.

Fast forward 32 and a bit years, and that large headed and bodied son and his wife had their second son last week. The delivery of the baby was straight forward – ie didn’t take daaaaaaays – and the baby was a good weight and the first photos admired by the besotted grandparents proved that he is gorgeous.

Things started to go awry within a few hours, when his breathing started to prove a little screwy. He got transferred to the main children’s hospital and spent time in the ICU with breathing assistance and a chest drain.

He is now a week old, breathing very well on his own, and is proving to be just as gorgeous without tubes and hoses erupting from all over his body.

The point of this bit of literary diarrhoea isn’t to brag about my beautiful new grandson. Much. It’s totally about my absolute amazement about the medical technology and skill that was available to him when it was needed.

My son sent me photos of Thomas’s ‘mission control’ when he was first in the NICU unit. Astronauts went to the moon and back with equipment that looked pitiful compared to the machines that kept one tiny little human breathing comfortably.

It was an eventful first week in his life, but just imagine what sort of medical technology and skills will be available when he is old enough to have children of his own!!!

I’m in awe of what our medical world can achieve.

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