Jan 31, 2008

Yeshe, small and thin

Appropos the low birthweight study I discussed in my previous post, our third child, Yeshe, who was born on Dec 30th, 2007, was low birthweight. She was born full term, at home, after a calm, smooth labor. So calm in fact that she was born with her sac intact, what is traditionally referred to as in the caul. Midwives have told me this is a sign of wisdom, psychic insight, and even spiritual teachings, while another friend set me a clipping from an early 20th century memoir that talked about how ship captains would take a caul with them to the sea for good luck. I hope this gift serves Yeshe, which means wisdom in Tibetan, well.

Will Yeshe experience any sequelae of her low birthweight? And how did she come to be low birthweight? I ate like a horse during my pregnancy and gained 35 pounds. Her weight---5 lb, 10 oz---is a mystery as is so much in life.

The question I recently debated was---when should I tell Yeshe that she was low birthweight? Or would I pathologize her by showing this concern? Sure, she'd get her birth certificate, but unless mentioning her birthweight was relevant to an ongoing health issue, why burden her? But what about my twins---who were born at 26 weeks and are now 3.5. The same strategy could apply---unless they need to know about their prematurity because of an ongoing health issue, why bring it up?  Now

Six years later, in 2017, when my kids started asking me about the books I am writing---one of which is called Sustainable Birth and teh other a medical memoir about birth in the USA and India---we read the chapter that contains their birth story, and they asked lots of questions that I tried to answer as best as I could.   The key is to remember that my story of their NICU stay is different than their story of that stay and I tried to be helpful to them first and foremost even as I explain how their birth relates to my work, as well as my mission and passion around midwifery care... .