Friday, June 25, 2010

Are you kidding me?

Fox ran a news article today that was passed on to me from a couple of other micropreemie moms...

This news article reports that a government-commissioned study in the UK has found that the human fetus cannot feel pain prior to 24 weeks gestation. This finding supports England's current laws allowing women to legally abort a pregnancy at 24 weeks gestation.

The article goes on to say that "The doctors say there is increasing evidence that even after 24 weeks, the fetus is in a state of 'continuous sleep-like unconsciousness or sedation.'"

You can click here to read the article.

I can't say for certain what either of my micros felt during those first hours and days. I don't remember looking at Daxton and ever getting the feeling that he was happy, or content, or unconscious, or sedate (other than the sedation given by the doctors.)

But here's what I do know. At 23 weeks and 5 days, when the nurses pricked Dax, he flinched. When it was too loud, he became agitated. When we messed with him, he reacted physiologically.

And at 22 weeks 0 days, when our Aubrie was in her last minutes of life, and Shep sat at her bedside and watched her suffer, they laid a phone in her isolette and let me talk to her. The doctor reported that when she heard my voice Aubrie's heart rate and oxygen saturations improved. If a 22-week "fetus" can feel comfort, she can also feel pain.

Whatever heartless doctors found the results from above have obviously never sat vigil at the bedside of a "fetus" that was their own baby, or even anyone else's. Anyone who's spent an hour with a baby under 24 weeks knows it's uncomfortable and agitated and overstimulated.

So, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you can go take a long walk off a long pier, because, as my friend Betty said, you're completely full of meconium.

4 comments:

Our little Miracles said...

I would just like to add for those who read this my 24 weeker 0 day son screamed like a full term newborn when he was born. Not to mention he was born at HOME. So no poking needed he did it on his own. He must have felt something to make him mad enough to Holler.

Anonymous said...

Please, please read this and watch the clip as not all Dr's in the UK agree with this report.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/10403496.stm

The Scottish Dr makes some very, very valid points which back up what you say.

It is also worth noting that this isn't just an English Law... it is also covers Scotland and Wales as Northern Ireland has a separate Law on Abortion.

Only the Sheppards said...

Oh Stephanie, I didn't realize they were born at home! How scary!

Anonymous, thank you so much for sharing! I'm glad the Scottish neonatologist is speaking out...

I get where the psychologist is coming from, but just because my bed is where I sleep, and I am usually relaxed in my bed, does not mean that I cannot feel pain in my bed.

I just cannot fathom a law that allows babies to be aborted at a gestational age that could survive outside the womb with medical intervention. It just breaks my heart! I know I'm a little partial, but when there's so many of us who've watched our little ones fight so hard, and people are given the right to just throw it away...

Ugh.

I'm grateful the research is not reflective of everyone's opinion... It just seems the ones who fight to keep these laws in place can't possibly have spent any time with a baby like mine!

NashvilleBabyDoc said...

As a practicing Neonatologist I would find this report humorous were it not so dangerous. There is no doubt in my mind that extremely preterm infants respond with clearcut alterations in measurable physiologic parameters when faced with noxious stimuli (In English -- They feel pain.) To suggest otherwise is just wrong.

Failure of a physician to assess and treat pain when possible, even in the extremely preterm patient, is unacceptable.