Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"The Natural Cesarean Section"

"The Natural Cesarean Section"

Of course, I prefer that cesareans be limited to absolute medical necessity and honestly believe that the rate of c-sections in our culture is actually bordering on criminal.  There is no version of reality in which 1/3 of women have evolved so quickly, becoming incapable of delivering vaginally.  I know it is an induced necessity, literally and figuratively.
I do, of course, recognize the need to intervene surgically when the health and safety of the mother and/or baby requires it and support women in surgery as well as in vaginal births.  The job changes a little, but as you can see in the video the emotional side of giving birth is alive and well in the OR and a woman having a cesarean deserves all the same support and kindness as a vaginally birthing woman, if not more.

One factor, the exit, shouldn't determine the the entire experience.

There are other contradictions that we accept readily in  the realm of emotional experiences.

You can wear a dress with a train in garden wedding
or a garden dress in a grand hall wedding
You can put an electric engine in a big car
You can love someone that you can't live with
You can love a food that you are allergic to
You can own a cat or dog and have allergies to them
You can love and hate something or someone simultaneously
You can have a beautiful surgical birth in an operating room

Birth is a multi sensory life event that you will remember for a lifetime. Make it good.
Some of the options that may still be available to you are:

  • aromatherapy.  Operating rooms have a distinct smell that I wouldn't want associated with the birth of my child.  Sterile, bleach, metallic.  Bring a vial of essential oil with you and your support person can hold it hear you, calming scents like lavender for example, can help you create positive associations with your birth.
  • Music playing, ideally a playlist of her choice
  • Support present.  I often see (especially when specified by the family) a partner (spouse, friend, mother) as well as a professional Doula being allowed in for support.
  • Surgeon talking through the surgery and acknowledging the emotional/physical state of the patient.  Taking time to give a heads up before performing elements of the procedure that may be surprising, of feel weird, or just more sensation.
  • Talking about seeing the baby, he/she has hair, thoughtful details
  • Letting the cord pulse for a minute or two to make sure baby has the majority of his/her blood while showing the baby through the window in the drape (if desired).
  • Photography.  It is still the birth of your child, if you planned to take pictures of a non-interventive birth, you will likely regret not honoring this experience.  
  • Skin to skin in the OR.  As long as baby is fine, he/she can be brought up to Moms chest and placed skin to skin.  It's sort of close to get a good look, but the immediate physical connection can help to regulate baby's heart rate, body temperature and respiration.

When circumstances require a c-section, but are not an emergency, I wish and work for this to become the standard of care in our culture.  It will require work, planning, maybe changing care to find a supportive provider, but things won't change if we (consumers) don't expect to be cared for with kindness, dignity, respect AND medical expertise.  I wouldn't call for this if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, not only here on video, but in person in the operating room.  It felt effortless in that operating room, not forced but truly sincere. If you feel that you should be entitled to a different atmosphere in the Operating Room for birth as opposed to, say, having your gall bladder removed, get educated about your options, get support, and ask for what you want.

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