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Another Family-Centered Cesarean Birth

This post contains pictures of cesarean birth. 

I am more and more impressed with Greer Memorial’s cesarean practices.  If I had to plan a cesarean, that’s the place I’d give birth.

There are four OBs who attend cesarean births at Greer so the policy and practice is fairly cohesive.  None of the “well, if you get dr. so and so, then expect x, y, z.”

I was honored to attend a repeat client’s planned cesarean.  I use the term “planned” loosely since her darling boy decided to come early.  Just to keep us on our toes!  Come to think of it…her last “planned cesarean” also had me rushing to the hospital.  Her babies don’t like to be told what to do, I suppose.

Here is her birth in pictures.  I only took 150 snapshots so it was easy to narrow it down to a few.  Hehe.

Top reason I prefer Greer?  Doulas can enter the sacred operating room.  And I dig the nurse’s scrubs instead of the paper ones.  In this picture, I’m waiting with dad.  The mom goes back first and there is about a 30 minute wait while she receives her spinal anesthesia and her stats are monitored.  Dad was nervous even though it wasn’t his first rodeo so we talked about our kids while we waited.

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Now we’re in the operating room.  Notice mom’s arms are not strapped down.

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Dr. Danielle Harris is the OB.  She is lovely; relaxed and accessible.   I remember my first birth with her four years ago.  I suggested something wildly uncommon and she responded with a “hey, let’s try it!”

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The sweet baby grabs an arm and says, “Wait!  I want delayed cord clamping!”  No, actually, Dr. Harris delays cord clamping because it’s not a big deal to delay cord clamping.

(which is interesting because I’ve heard all sorts of reasons from other OBs as to why they can’t delay cord clamping during a cesarean)

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So, who’s this guy?  He’s the pediatrician on call.  Typically, the pediatrician or neonatologist examines the baby in the warmer immediately after birth.  When he walks in, Dr. Harris tells him, “Mom would like immediate skin-to-skin with her baby.”  And he says, “Fine by me.”

(again, I’ve heard all sorts of interesting reasons why this can’t happen:  a nurse will have to rotate out in order to hand baby to mom or it’s too darn cold in the operating room).

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Now you’ll see how fantastic it is that mom’s arms are free.

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Beautiful.  Mom will never forget this moment.  And perhaps, just as important, significant aspects of bonding, breastfeeding, heartrate and thermal regulations are happening in this moment.

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A little while later, that laid back pediatrician asks if he can just take a quick listen to baby’s heartbeat.  He does so without disturbing mom or baby and then steps back once more.

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Twenty minutes after the birth, as they prepare to transfer mom to her room, Dad gets in on the skin-to-skin.

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Focus on the calm, alert baby.  Do not focus on the bloody gauze behind him.

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Then mom is transferred to her hospital bed via a clever inflatable people-mover blown up with a shop vac.  Fascinating stuff, hospital ingenuity.  Side-note, many nurses wrap hep-locks in Glad press ‘n seal wrap so they won’t get it wet in the shower.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  

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The hospital bed returns to mom’s original room where she will stay until she goes home.  There are no recovery or postpartum rooms at Greer.  There is no nursery either.

Mom gets down to the first order of business.

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I don’t attend many cesarean births.  I’m honored when I am invited to a planned cesarean as part of the team.  Many thanks to this sweet family for sharing their positive birth experience with the community.

Another family-centered cesarean birth is featured here.

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6 responses »

  1. Love it!! Makes my heart happy and brings tears to my eyes to see moms and babies respected in such a way!! There is a time and a place for everything! I love that these mamas get those precious first few minutes!!!!! What a blessing! So glad you are there to share it with us! Love love love Greer Memorial!!!!! ❤

    Reply
  2. I so wish that mine had gone this way!! My doctor was horrible, and my Cesarean was just traumatizing. I didn’t even know my daughter was born until I saw the nurse trying to leave the room with her 😦

    Reply
  3. alyssa, i’m with you. i didn’t even know the surgery had started until i figured it out when i heard my water breaking.

    i really didn’t want a c-section and fought tooth and nail not to have one. finally, when they basically forced me into it, i begged to have a family-centered c-section. i had researched them, and figured that if i had to have a c-section, i wanted it to be as close to what i had envisioned for a natural one: skin-to-skin contact, delayed cord clamping, my doula present, etc.

    “no, we don’t do any of that. it isn’t necessary,” i was told. i had been told that my doula was allowed, only for them to change their mind ON THE DELIVERY DAY RIGHT BEFORE I ENTERED THE E.R. (she had been allowed to every c-section birth prior to mine.)

    maybe none of those things weren’t necessary for them, but it was *for me.* i realized that their “care” throughout my pregnancy and my birth was never about me and my wishes, but what was most convenient and easiest for them. my pregnancy was full of stress, and i honestly feel grief about how my daughter came into this world. no mother should have to feel that.

    it is very sad, because i will never get a chance to do my daughter’s birth over again… but they will get countless opportunities to delivery babies.

    Reply
  4. Dr. Harris is awesome! She always took time to sit down and talk at my prenatals. During my last appointment with her, she said, “Not long now. Hope I get to see you at the hospital!” And she seemed genuinely excited and happy about the possibility. I was equally delighted to see her at 2 am when baby Eloise made her peaceful (but speedy) appearance. I’ve had two babies at Greer and found them to be doula-friendly, supportive, relaxed (no hep-lock either time) and thoughtful (rather than protocol-heavy).

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Tuesday Tidbits: Cesarean Courage | Talk Birth

  6. It’s good to know that not all,American hospitals strap the mums arms down. Over here in the UK they never strap mums arms down either not in any UK hospital. As it is actually illegal to tie patients down during surgery including C Sections. Here in the UK in most C Sections mums arms are just laid out on her chest but not strapped down so she can move her arms freely. Even in a few cases where they do use the armboards it’s the same thing the arm is just laid onto the armboard but it is not strapped to it. And no they are not family centered C sections as we still have the sterile curtain up and sometimes it might not be possible for mums to hold the baby right away if it has to go to the ICU. But the difference is that no mum who has a C Section in the UK is ever strapped down, so I don’t know why they do it in the US.

    Reply

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