Dream Birth

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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).

Anonymous-skin-to-skin2Skin 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.

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Art by Jody Coughlin, via the Mandala Journey

*Note: Please consult with your provider before beginning any herbal regimen. 

PLEASE READ

Can Hospitals Keep Moms and Babies Together After A Cesarean?

A Family-Centered Cesarean: Taking Back Control of My Son’s Birth

Doulas and C-Sections

A Doula For Your Cesarean Section

2 thoughts on “Dream Birth

  1. I have tears in my eyes. You told my story, and more beautifully than I ever could have put it into words. I wanted to find you and thank you and introduce you to the little guy that entered the world to a relaxed and happy momma instead of into a scary and sterile operating room–and before I could find you, your blog found me. You’ll never know how much I appreciate the way you sat and talked with me that Saturday night. I knew something was wrong but I felt crazy because the tests seemed to say everything was normal–two days later I had pre-eclampsia and Ryan was taken 3 days later. Instead of remembering how scared I was that night I remember how I loved talking to you and how peaceful and hopeful I felt after our talk, knowing I had just been given a gift–the gift of knowledge. The gift of having a *choice*. I never knew I could have a voice, let alone an advocate in the room with me. I’d always been led to believe that a birth involved walking down a cold hallway and curling over a tray waiting for an epidural with bright lights and surgeons talking about me like I wasn’t there. However, I had just the opposite experience this time. With Melissa there I felt like I had someone in my corner–if I wasn’t able to articulate what I wanted I had her there to have my back. They had my favorite music on in the background and I sang along while I joked and laughed with the surgical team. We all made bets about how bug my boy would be and he surprised us all when he came out a tiny 6lbs 14oz. I loved having Melissa there with me because not only did she memorialize our birth by taking over camera duties (thank goodness, because Daddy was terrified) but so much more than that, she stayed with me long after Ryan’s birth and helped me nurse him and feel more and more proud of having the experience I’d hoped for instead of just accepting the typical c-section birth and feeling ashamed that my body made me settle. I had my dream birth, and I have you to thank for it. You gave me the compass that led me on my way to my dream. Thank you just isn’t big enough to convey how much I appreciate you. You taking the time to sit and talk with me that night changed the course of Ryan’s birth and the way I feel about myself. I will be forever thankful and grateful for you.

    • Tiffiney, I am sooooo happy you wrote this! I cherished our time together, and I cherish you for sharing this experience with me. Experiences like that truly change me forever, because you taught me something new and that is something I can carry with me from now on for any mama that needs to hear your kind of wisdom. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can’t wait to meet your little sweetie! Congratulations from the bottom of my heart ❤

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