If you came into the world before 1953, you were on your own to live or die. Sometimes a struggling newborn was left unattended to die in the birth suite. Neonatology and NICUs had not been created, and birth was all about saving the mother’s life. I remember the doctor in Connecticut telling my aunt in the 1950s, “If you lose your baby, just have another one.”
Dr. Virginia Apgar gave the world a brilliant medical advancement in 1953 that has saved many lives. The APGAR Score is all about survival. Are you breathing? Do you have a pulse? Is your skin pink? Are you moving? Are your basic reflexes working? But once you make it into the world alive, what is in store for you for the next 80 or so years?
We believe that our five essential “vital signs” are critical for the best lifetime outcome:
By breathing well, the baby would have relaxed, unassisted respiration. The timing and depth of the first breath can be important. I see many brain-injured children, who do not take their first breath for more than ten minutes. Since Gillespie Approach CFT primarily deals with quality of life issues, later coughing, wheezing, hiccuping, snoring, and/or airway issues could be symptoms of unresolved craniosacral fascial birth strain.
By nursing well, the baby would latch on, suck, and swallow well. I agree with my colleague, Michale Chatham, who stresses to her Texas moms that breastfeeding is an essential vital sign. She says that it is not good enough for your child just to survive. An optimal suck, swallow, and breathe mechanism is critical for any child to thrive. We also believe that future conditions such as stridor, strabismus, and torticollis could be prevented at this juncture.
By digesting well, the baby would not have indigestion, gas, or reflux. Clinically, we would find fascial strain in the digestive organs, primarily the stomach, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. The fascia attaches to every cell of every organ. Infants can survive with tight digestive organs, but they may not function at 100% efficiency. We believe pyloric stenosis could also be prevented at this time.
By pooping well, the baby would have at least one bowel movement daily. Conventional medical wisdom dictates up to fourteen days without a poop is “normal” for a breastfeeding baby. We believe that a traumatized fascial web can restrict the normal peristalsis of the intestinal tract, causing constipation and painful colic. Clubfoot would be our only visual condition diagnosed directly at birth. We believe the Gillespie Approach could eventually replace the current casting/surgical clubfoot method.
By napping well, the baby would be relaxed, pain free, and not overly fussy. Every baby may fuss a little when s(he) is hungry, has to burp, needs sleep, is too hot or cold, and/or needs a diaper change. We found in our research that Gillespie Approach CFT was very effective in calming fussy babies. When our therapy takes the stress out of the nervous system, the brain/sacral cycles can open for the best neurophysiology. We believe that optimal cognitive function can carry over into school/adult life. Mothers are concerned about their current fussy babies, but this quality may be the most important long-term aspect of all.