Monday, February 13, 2012

The Monday Confessional: Tongue Tie

When I was pregnant with Duckling I was deathly afraid of tongue-tie (a condition in which the frenulum- a.k.a the funny part that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth- reaches too close to the tip of the tongue making it practically impossible for a baby to latch on and nurse correctly). I had read some breastfeeding books that talked about it and heard one too many stories about babies who weren't able to breastfeed and no one could figure out why and then someone figured out that it was tongue-tie. Ina May Gaskin's book on breastfeeding told the cautionary tale of a woman who had a successful natural birth of twins- only to find out that BOTH babies had tongue-tie after monstrous nursing difficulties.

The scary thing was that there were no friendly websites with names like "Tongue Tie Doctors.com". So even though it's a very simple procedure to clip a frenulum, where do you go if your baby has tongue-tie???!!!!!! Seriously, I used to worry about this. Now in retrospect, I realize that my midwife probably could have referred us to a doctor who could clip the frenulum if necessary, but back then, I didn't even think to ask (which I should have since it was driving me crazy).

So on the night my little birth defect baby was born and we saw right off that his back was open, my first question was, "Will he be OK until we get him to the hospital?" And the answer to that was "Yes". My next question was "Will he have brain damage?" And the answer to that was, "He's very alert, so that's a good sign. There are lots of things the doctors can do to help him." And then my third question, "He doesn't have tongue-tie, does he?" And the answer to that was "No." "Well thank goodness for that!" I exclaimed as we prepared to go to the hospital so that my baby could have a far more complicated procedure done.

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