Art via Cesarean Voices
I met a woman a couple of weeks ago who was anticipating her fourth C-Section with her last (planned) baby. As I sat with her, she told me that she was very excited about her baby’s birth. She was also very interested in herbs, cloth diapers, and doulas, and we spent a lot of time talking about those things (because of course, I share her passion). She told me that she sometimes wondered what a natural birth, or even a vaginal birth, would feel like, and that part of her would always wonder. She said in her heart she wondered if she might be missing something.
“What is it that you imagine for your perfect birth?” I asked her.
She told me that she imagined nourishing the pregnancy in the final weeks with red raspberry leaf and nettle. “You can still do that,” I told her. Red Raspberry Leaf and Nettle are safe herbal preparations that enhance uterine tone and prevent bleeding, and could be helpful in preparation for a C-Section*.
She told me that she imagined the birth (delivery) room feeling peaceful, with calming music playing and dimmer lights. “You can still do that,” I told her. In the OR it is possible to turn the lights down a bit, because the operating lights are like spotlights and the surgeons can see everything they need to. She can bring her own music and have whatever song she desires to play during the birth.
“I would love to try delayed cord clamping,” she told me. “Well, you can still do that,” I told her. If you make arrangements in advance with the surgeons, Delayed Cord Clamping is more than possible during a C-Section. All our OB residents are trained to perform DCC with all very premature newborns anyway (we are doing a large study about the benefits of DCC in premature babies).
Skin to Skin in the OR, via Evidence-Based Birth
“You know what else you can do that would be wonderful?” I asked her. “You could have them place the baby skin-to-skin right within the first minutes after he is born.” Really? She wanted to know. She couldn’t believe that could be possible.
“You know a way you can be sure that all your dreams about this birth are honored?” Because this birth is still a birth, and her dreams about it are still her dreams. “If it is all possible for you, I would consider hiring a doula.”
I gave her some recommendations. She contacted one of the doulas immediately. Before she went home, I gave her a very big hug and glanced at her face an extra moment so I could remember her and keep her in my prayers. Afterwards I thought of her quite a bit and I held her dream in my heart.
A week later I found out that she did indeed hire a doula. I was able to see a picture of her and her baby very soon after birth. Since I haven’t sat with her to talk about it yet, I don’t know if each of her desires about this birth were fulfilled. But I did recognize the sense of pride, exhilaration and joy on her face.
Her dream had come true.
*Note: Please consult with your provider before beginning any herbal regimen.