April is Cesarean Awareness month. There are so many aspects of cesarean birth that deserve more awareness. One of these is the Family- Centered Cesarean. Sydney is a mother who was able to have a safe and joyful family-centered cesarean birth when her first child was born.
Her story is beautiful.
Sadly, many women don’t have access to family centered-cesarean.
I hope, that with more awareness about cesarean, more and more women can also take advantage of family-centered cesarean when that is the best option for them and their baby.
Thanks for sharing your story Sydney!
Why I Chose a Family-Centered Cesarean
When I was pregnant with my first child, I learned all about my birth options, chose a certified nurse midwife as my care provider, and planned what I hoped would be a beautiful water birth. I carefully crafted a playlist and bought candles to set the mood. However, babies don’t care much about plans, so my daughter was persistently head up.
As often as I heard “don’t worry, she still has time to turn,” I knew I was going to need to need to make a plan B, since a procedure to manually turn my baby (external cephalic version) wasn’t an option for me due to another health condition. When I was told at 38 weeks that we were basically out of time, I mourned the loss of the birth I’d dreamed about, and I let myself have some time to cry along to my birth playlist.
Then, I started to do some research.
Family-centered cesareans were starting to gain steam at that time as an option to make cesarean less of a surgery and more of a birth.
Cesarean is birth.
And unless there’s an emergency, women should be given access to accommodations to make the birth more family oriented. Mothers will always remember the birth of their children, and considering the woman and her experience and making cesareans more compassionate can have lasting repercussions on her emotional health.
What is it that makes a family-centered cesarean so “family centered”? Monitors and wires can all be placed on mom’s back or shoulders to allow her chest clear for immediate skin to skin. Doulas and birth photographers can be welcomed into the OR. The temperature in the operating room can be warmed up to keep mom comfortable and to prevent baby from needing to go to a warmer.
Natural cord pulsating is possible as opposed to immediate clamping, and the drape can be clear or dropped so mom can witness baby emerge. Mom gets to be one of the first to lay eyes on her baby, and the first to hold him or her too, as opposed to traditional cesareans where babies are cleaned, suctioned, and swaddled before being brought over to its parents. All these things can be implemented where consumers demand it, since evidence supports it.
My provider and I set a tentative date, but I was grateful that they were on board to wait for labor. When my water broke early one morning, I knew my baby had picked her birthday and was ready to be born.
I had a cesarean birth.
For me it was still emotional to have surgery, but my daughter’s birth was an incredible experience and I will always remember the moment she was born and was thrown onto my chest, gooey and warm and perfect, to the sound of my birth playlist in the background.
Sydney Williamson is a mother of two and certified Birth Boot Camp DOULA in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. She is passionate about evidence based maternity care and birth after cesarean, having had a cesarean and VBAC herself. You can find her online at www.dfwdoula.net
This video shows a leading pioneer in the field of family-centered cesarean birth, Dr Farzam. Listen to him talk about how this is done. Because of doctors like him, more women can say, “I chose a family-centered cesarean.”