It was my dream job to be a labor and delivery nurse, and I was lucky enough to work in a progressive, family-centered hospital in the birth center for several years before becoming pregnant with my firstborn.
I planned a water birth because I had been impressed with the ones I had attended. However, at our 28-week visit, we learned that the baby was breech. We tried exercises, chiropractic adjustments, moxibustion, and even handstands in the pool! Finally, I decided that if she was going to turn, she would. And if not, then for some reason her birth was meant to unfold in a different way. During this time I came across the video of the “natural Caesarian" on YouTube.
I was enthralled and brought my ideas to my OB. He agreed to do his best to help us have a gentle Cesarean.
We scheduled a c-section for 41 weeks, hoping to give our baby a chance to choose her own birthday with spontaneous labor. The morning after my due date, I woke up and as I was lying in bed, my water broke with a HUGE gush!
When we arrived to the hospital about 11am, contractions were every 2-3 minutes and strong.
We headed to the OR just before 1:00 pm and I felt the intensity of active labor. I didn’t feel a thing as they prepped me and did my spinal anesthesia, just a very comforting warmth over my whole lower body. My doctor had the incision made and then he took down the sterile drape so we could watch our daughter come into the world. It was an amazing, unforgettable moment… Out came our Julia Eden: pink, breathing, crying and waving her little limbs.
I cried and my husband brought her to me.
I held her as we were wheeled out of the OR and she was breastfeeding a couple minutes later. She hardly left her place on my chest for the first few days. I felt great afterward, I was up in a chair rocking my baby just a few hours after surgery. However, when the exhaustion hit me, it hit like a freight train.
Julia’s birth ended up so beautiful in an unexpected way.
I know that Julia’s birth stands in contrast to many cesarean births, and not everyone will have a doctor as willing to work with them. But the more mothers that push for change toward gentler, more natural cesareans – the more doctors and hospitals will be willing to look at the benefits and start changing procedures.
In review, here are some ideas to consider:
- Ask that your cesarean be scheduled after your due date, or not at all: allow labor to signal baby’s readiness to be born
- Spend some time in labor if possible for your situation
- Ask for a peaceful environment in the OR – quiet voices or even bring music
- Ask that the sterile drape be lowered enough for you to catch the first glimpse of your baby’s birth
- Ask that baby be brought to you ASAP in the operating room – and keep him/her there the whole time you are being stitched, etc
- Put baby skin to skin on mom in the OR
- Begin breastfeeding immediately
- Ask that baby’s bath and measurements be delayed until baby has had time to bond/breastfeed/transition
Most of all, I think that our own sense of peace surrounding our daughter’s birth largely colored our (and her) experience. She came exactly like she was supposed to!
Our next reco: Ten Things You Should Know About Having a C-Section