A Gentle Cesarean

When I first heard the term “gentle cesarean” I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Does it mean they take the baby out slowly? That doesn’t seem like a good idea.

Once I saw a video on it I was like, “Ohhhh, now I get it!” and it really made me wonder why we don’t do it this way already.

So when Lydia asked if she could share her gentle cesarean story I said, “sure!”

It just proves that even when a c-section isn’t your first choice, you can still have an amazing birth.

– Amy

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 became passionate about the care of newborns, and gave a lot of thought to how I would birth my own baby. Something I often told my patients in the hospital was "Think about the huge transition your baby has just made. Imagine how scary it would feel! It's rough to be a newborn!" I felt very strongly about giving my little one a gentle start in life. I wanted her to be close and connected to me - her one familiar place in a brand new world. 

I planned a water birth with my husband Kyle, because I had been really impressed with the ones I had attended. Although we prepared and researched, we purposefully didn't write a birth plan. "Baby Catcher", one of my favorite books, written by a midwife, said something along the lines of "Write a birth plan. It's a good exercise. Then BURN IT. Because who are we to think that something as powerful as birth could be planned?!" 

At our 28 week visit, we learned that baby was breech. Everyone told us there was plenty of time and she would turn. However as the weeks passed and she didn't budge, we tried exercises, chiropractic adjustments, moxibustion, 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. I did shed some tears at the loss of the peaceful water birth I'd envisioned. 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. I focused on my hypnobabies childbirth prep course and we rested in the knowledge that we could trust God to guide us, and we could trust our baby to come in her own way.

We scheduled a c-section for 41 weeks, hoping to give our baby a chance to choose her own birthday with spontaneous labor. I so badly wanted her to get all the benefits of labor hormones and contractions. The morning after my due date, I woke up and as I was lying in bed, my water broke with a HUGE gush! I was overjoyed to experience labor. Of course, the nurse in me was acutely aware of that perfectly clear amniotic fluid, all of baby's movement, my strong, consistent contractions... I felt so thankful for every little thing.

Kyle and I called the hospital and started getting ready to go. When we arrived to the hospital about 11am, contractions were every 2-3minutes and strong. I don't think I'll ever forget my brief hours of labor. I was deeply tuned in to my body and my baby and hardly spoke once labor kicked in - I don't even remember praying much other than to say "thank you" over and over in my heart. I felt a strong sense of peace and awe, and embraced the process that was bringing our baby into the world. 

We headed to the OR just before 1 and I was feeling 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. It was the best I'd felt since becoming pregnant! Kyle was at my side and after just a few moments, 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 was used to seeing babies come out a little blue and needing encouragement to take those first breaths. Not Julia! I could see in a moment that all was well. She was, and is, strong, independent, and full of intensity!

I cried and cried with joy and Kyle brought her to me. She stopped crying as she heard our voices. I held her as we were wheeled out of the OR and she was breast feeding a couple minutes later. She hardly left her place on my chest for the first few days. She was 7lb, 12oz of perfection! I felt great afterwards, I was up in a chair rocking Julia just a few hours after surgery. However, when the exhaustion hit me, it hit like a freight train! Kyle took Julia and walked next to my bed that first night, singing both of us to sleep.

Julia's birth ended up so beautiful in an unexpected way. We were aware of just how much we had to be thankful for! 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!


Lydia has had a growing passion for evidence-based and family-centered maternity care since she first aspired to be a nurse. She is married to Kyle, and they are loving almost every single moment of parenting Julia through the "terrific twos"! Lydia also has a special love for awesome gadgets – everything from baby carriers to food processors to her minivan. She loves to read and research, and lives for the summer, when she and Julia spend every spare minute at the pool! People are welcome to contact her via email at themamasaurusrex@gmail.com or find her on Pinterest.

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The iPhone 6 Dazzle from Zazzle

Were you one of the lucky ducks that got an iPhone 6?

(I’m jealous because I still have an old iPhone that is still going strong – I’m kind of willing it to break so I can upgrade.)

So the folks at Zazzle wanted to let me know that they have some cases for your new phone and damn, are they ever sweet. I seriously don’t understand why some people don’t get phone covers. They spend like $700 on a very fragile device then don't pony up the 50 bucks to protect it.

These cases all come in ‘barely there’, ‘tough’ and ‘tough Xtreme’ (yeah, I would need that one) for iPhone 6 and in the iPhone 6 Plus size.

Here are my favourites:

Gold Polka Dot Pattern: It’s nice and subtle and classy – it’s says, “Bitch, I gotta hot phone.” But it says it in a whisper…with a British accent.

 

Elegant Black Glitter Luxury Case: I don’t know who is naming these things but this deserves something better. Like “Kitty Glitter” or “Beyoncé Boom” Perhaps there’s a copyright issue on that last one there but c’mon.

 

Sugar Skull & Turquoise Blue Roses: I love this case but that’s probably because my birthday lands on the Day of the Dead.

 

Turquoise Pattern: Do you get the feeling I like turquoise? Again, this needs a better name. How about “Sea Dream” or “Turquoise Tango” or “Trudy’s Basement in Florida”? I feel they all work.

Sprinkles: This one is just fun and yummy. You’re dead inside if you don’t love sprinkles.

 

Gray & White Geometric: I just like how nice and tasteful this one is. I personalized it with “Ashley” because I’m convinced that all my readers are named Ashley, Jessica or Sarah. That, or the three of you just email me a lot.

 

Custom Cassette Tape: I love retro stuff on modern devices. You know what this is, right? Please don’t make me feel old.

 

Photo Collage: One of my favourite things about Zazzle is how you can personalize everything quite easily. I love this photo collage case with all the little moments on it.

 

Create Your Own: I’m sorry but if you have a new iPhone AND a cute baby you’re a damn fool if you don’t get one of these. A fool I say! I know, I know, new parents like to plaster photos of their kids everywhere but babies are adorable and they need to be seen. It’s no wonder that this is one of their most popular cases.

Anyway, those are my picks. Now I really want a new phone. What are your faves?

Win a $75 Gift Certificate from Zazzle!

(Open to U.S. only)

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What You Should Know If You Have a Preterm Baby

I’ve always wanted to do a “What to do if you have a premie” post except I’ve never had a premie; and while I could look stuff up and ask around, I didn’t feel like I could give true insight on it. So when Lucy Williams wrote me and said, “I wanted to offer my experience to you in case you ever decide to do a "having a premie" post."  I jumped at the chance.

I think this is list is a great post to tuck in your mind just in case you pull the premie card.

As aways, PLEASE add any insight, resources or suggestions to help other parents that may be going through this – I always appreciate it!

– Amy

 

If you have just had a preterm baby, welcome.  Welcome to the exclusive club you never wanted to join.  I welcome you because you are my sister now.  Initiation is a bitch, but I promise you at the end of this you will find strength in yourself you never knew you had.  I am not going to tell you everything will be alright – that would only be dismissive of the totally legit worry you have.  This is hard, hard stuff.  But I can tell you that you can do this.  You are strong.


A few things I wish someone would have told me when I became the mother of a premature baby:


1.  

Take all the help you can get.  When people ask if they can help – refer them to the list below.

 

2.  

Be aware you might not make as much breast milk as a full term mommy for a variety of reasons (your body didn’t have as much time to start making milk, you may have had a traumatic birth, your placenta may not have come all the way out on its own, you were probably separated from your babe shortly after delivery, etc).  Lots of people in those first days will tell you it’s your job to make milk for the baby and then your body may not cooperate.  It is one of life’s cruel jokes and it’s not your fault!

 

3.  

Did you hear me when I said “it’s not your fault”.  I want to repeat this again – none of this is your fault.  There are drug addicts that have perfectly healthy full term babies so it is not your fault, or your body’s fault.  There are a million reasons you can go into premature labor and bad luck is one of them.  Treat yourself nicely and get help if like me you felt insanely guilty over something that you logically know wasn’t your fault.

 

4.  

On the other end of the spectrum you may not be feeling guilty.  You may be PISSED!  Pissed at your doctor, pissed at the hospital, pissed at your higher power, pissed at the freaking world.  Why did this happen to your baby!?!?!?  Feel free to get angry – just try and channel it in the right way.  Like try not to focus it ALL on the NICU nurses, they are good peeps and they work hard (that is not to say that you can’t complain to the Charge Nurse if it is warranted).

 

5.  

Don't feel like every mom but you is with the baby 24/7.  They aren’t, or if they are they will pay for it later. Go home and get some sleep.  As the NICU Nurses love to say “You have the most expensive babysitters in the world” - use them!  You aren’t going to make it through this marathon if you run at full speed the whole time.  Pace yourself.

 

6.  

Don’t feel bad if you don’t think your baby is cute.  Seriously, it is hard sometimes to see past the tubes and wires to that cute little earthling underneath. They look different than you are expecting, see through skin and fur were off-putting to me at first and then I felt guilty for not thinking he was the cutest thing in the world (yeah I had a lot of guilt)

 

7.  

Take lots of pictures and journal - you are in shock -you may not remember anything later and may want to know what the heck just happened. 

 

8.  

On that note – take whatever “memorabilia” you can from the hospital – their first pacifier, first diaper (not the ACTUAL first diaper because that is disgusting, but one of the leftovers when they move up a size), anything that will show their tiny size and will help get through to all the people that might want to visit when they go home just how fragile they are.

 

9.  

Decide whether you want to go public on social media or keep things private.  Even if you are keeping it just family and close friends you may want to designate one person to keep everyone updated so you aren’t constantly sending updates.  Sites like caringbridge.com can help you disseminate information or email and Facebook work as well.

 

10. 

NICU moms are more prone to Post Partum Depression (see guilt and anger above).  If you even think that this might be happening then go talk to someone.  Your OB, the NICU Social Worker, a therapist.  Just start talking.

 

11.

Make some premie parent friends.  No one can understand the emotional roller coaster like another parent of a premie.  Although, one word of caution – steer clear of the parent that tries to play the “my baby is getting better faster than your baby” or “my baby is sicker than your baby” game.  All our babies are in the NICU for a reason and we all need support in our lives. I found my tribe through the preemie baby board on inspire.com, handtohold.org and through the NICU social worker who introduced me to other premie parents.

 

Things to help a premie parent:

1.   There are a lot of people who will tell you what to say and not say to a premie parent and lots of people would disagree with those people but here is one that almost never fails:  “Congratulations, your baby is beautiful.  I am so sorry they are in the NICU.  How are you doing?”  And then listen.

2.   If you want to help, here are some ideas:

  • Send a care package with snacks, a water bottle, hand sanitizer, nice lotion, gift card for e-books or paper books
  • Send money for gas, restaurants or lodging if the person lives far away from the NICU so they can see their baby
  • Offer to babysit their other children, watch their dog, water plants, clean their house etc
  • Tell them that they and their baby are in your thoughts and/or prayers as appropriate.  Even though I am not religious, the idea of hundreds of people sending positive energy to our family felt amazing.
  • Offer to bring a meal over – bring it in a disposable container and preferably food that can be frozen and easily reheated. Or better yet, offer to organize all the people who want to help by using a site like www.takethemameal.com
  • Once baby is home, don’t be pushy about visiting. The smallest cold for an adult can be life threatening to a premie.  Trust me, they would love to see you and introduce you to the baby.  And they will as soon as they recover from the trauma and feel comfortable.  If they are ready for visitors, be prepared to sanitize yourself before going near that baby.


I am 14 months out from this life changing event and I still don’t have my head fully wrappe d around it.  I am sure I missed a ton of great resources and advice for a premie parent, so please feel free to share yours in the comments.  I am always looking for new ways to support my friends who are parents of premies.


Lucy Williams isn’t a writer or anything cool like that.  She is a nerdy Data Analyst who enjoys spreadsheets and databases and hopes to one day make use of her Masters in Library Science.  She is mommy to Emrys, her 2 ½ lb 28 weeker who is now too heavy to carry down the street.  Her hubby Richard hails from Wales (not Whales) and is the rock she leaned on during not only a premature baby but the surgery that followed during which the doctors removed a 3 lb benign tumor.  Poor Emrys was the messenger that saved his mommy from her hibernoma, a rare tumor of the brown fat in her abdominal cavity.  This is the fat we all have to keep us warm as babies, but in Lucy it turned out to be the thing that put her baby in harm’s way (oh, the irony!)  She now volunteers to supports parents who have babies in the NICU in her spare time and occasionally enjoys a glass of wine or a good dystopia novel.

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