A Gentle Cesarean, Final Part

*This is the final part of a 4 part series on ‘Gentle Cesarean Sections’ and the birth of our daughter, Matilda Piper.  It is my goal that by sharing this I will be able to encourage the many moms who end up needing medically necessary C-sections to take control and have the best possible birth for both them and their babies. You can read Part 1 HEREPart 2 HERE, and Part 3 HERE .

Getting to know each other


Now that we are 1 month out from this whole experience (wow, time flies!) looking back on it doesn’t seem so tough.  Was it the birth I had wanted, planned and prepared for? no, but the end result was a happy, healthy baby.

The recovery was harder than I expected (and honestly I’m still recovering) and that is one thing that I wish I could change.  The first day or two in the hospital are a blur and I don’t really feel like I was able to bond and help care for Matilda the way I would have with a natural birth.  Thankfully, Ian was able to stay at the hospital with us and take care of her while I rested.  Tilly absolutely adores her daddy and I’m sure that played a big part in building their relationship.  Now that I am feeling better, we’re quickly making up for lost time.  I don’t think our relationship has suffered at all from the slight delay.

My goal in writing this series was to not only educate people on the idea of a gentle cesarean but also to hopefully encourage other women who are facing medically necessary c-sections.  I was able to speak up and make the birth of our daughter the best it could be and I hope that by reading these posts I can empower other women to do the same.

Feel free to use the birth plan found in Part 3, changing it as you need to in order to best suit your circumstances.  I would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have, you can comment here or contact me via our facebook page.

Growing bigger every day

Thank you for following me through this journey, now I’ll get back to homesteading posts I promise!

* Linking up with: healthy 2day and The Modest Mom

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A Gentle Cesarean Part 3

*This is part 3 of a 4 part series on ‘Gentle Cesarean Sections’ and the birth of our daughter, Matilda Piper.  It is my goal that by sharing this I will be able to encourage the many moms who end up needing medically necessary C-sections to take control and have the best possible birth for both them and their babies. You can read Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE.

Below is a copy of the plan that we brought to the hospital.  The only things that were not approved by the hospital was that our doula, Sam, was not allowed in the OR with us and that Ian and the baby left the OR approximately 5 minutes before me instead of staying with me the whole time.  We were able to discuss those changes with the doctor / nurses and compromised.  Sam was able to come with us as far as the operating room door and wait just outside until the surgery was over.  When Ian left with the baby a nurse stayed with me so that I wasn’t alone.  It is important to keep in mind that there are certain policies that hospitals have to follow so you may not get everything you request in your birth plan.

Our little family in the recovery room
Birth Plan
*We would like to request a Gentle Cesarean*
 We realize that cesareans and other surgeries are a common event at hospitals.   However, we ask that the staff respect that this individual surgery is a unique and never to be repeated event in the life of our family. For us, it is neither common nor routine, but rather is an event that will have effects lasting a lifetime. It is my goal that should a cesarean become necessary for this birth that the entire process be treated as the joyful, celebratory, respectful event that birth was meant to be.
 
DURING DELIVERY / RECOVERY
 
  • ·     I would like to be kept modestly draped
  • ·     Be aware that I would like to deliver vaginally when I am next in labor. Please take every measure necessary to ensure that a VBAC will be possible.
  • ·     I would like to meet each staff member in the OR who will be participating in the cesarean.
  • ·     Explain all medications that will be used to me. I prefer oral medications.
  • ·     I would like for my husband, doula and baby to stay in the OR with me while surgery is completed and remain in recovery with me.
  • ·     If the baby needs medical assistance requiring leaving the OR I’d like our doula to attend to me in the OR while my husband goes with the baby so I won’t have to be alone.
  • ·     Please lower the curtain and hold my baby up so I can see him/her at the moment of birth.
  • ·     I do not consent to my arms being strapped down; I would like them loose so I may touch my baby freely. 
  • ·     I would like my baby to remain connected to the placenta after manual extraction, as the cord will continue to pulsate for some time. I would like the cord cut once the cord has stopped pulsating near the umbilicus.  If this is not possible please use cord milking.
  • ·     I would like my baby placed skin to skin on my chest immediately after basic assessments while in the OR. My husband can hold baby there with a warm blanket over my baby.
  • ·     I would like to breastfeed my baby as soon as possible in recovery.
  • ·     Please remove the epidural and catheter (if necessary) as soon as possible so that I may begin moving around.
  • ·     I do not consent to any sedatives or tranquilizers being administered.
REGARDING BABY
 
  • ·     In the event the baby requires medical attention beyond that of a healthy baby, please inform me verbally of what is needed or will be needed so I can actively participate in choices made for my baby’s care.
  • ·     Limit the number of persons who touch or attend my baby to only those on staff as needed and my husband.
  • ·     I request my baby not be bathed or fully dressed until we have the opportunity to bond and my husband or I am able to participate in the bathing.
  • ·     I do not consent to vitamin K, eye ointment, or any vaccinations being administered to the baby.
  • ·     I plan to breastfeed exclusively, so no pacifier, formula, or sugar water should be given to the baby.
  • ·     No tests shall be performed or medications administered, etc. without my (or my husbands) consent & prior knowledge.
  • ·     We would prefer to have 24 hour rooming in; pediatric exams should be performed in my room and in the presence of my husband or I. 

*Stay tuned for the last post in this series: Recovery and looking back
* Linking up with: The Homestead Barn HopThe Modest Mom, and Healthy 2day

A Gentle Cesarean, birth story part 2

*This is part 2 of a 4 part series on ‘Gentle Cesarean Sections’ and the birth of our daughter, Matilda Piper.  It is my goal that by sharing this I will be able to encourage the many moms who end up needing medically necessary C-sections to take control and have the best possible birth for both them and their babies. You can read Part 1 HERE.

Ian and Sam, my cheering squad

Part 2: The Arrival

Our gentle cesarean was scheduled for November 14th and we arrived at the hospital bright and early, with our birth plan in hand.  Our midwife had encouraged us to write out a birth plan that explained our goals for the surgery as well as for my care and the baby’s care.  Being specific is important, she said, this experience is ultimately yours.

After filling out paperwork, I was brought back to pre-op to get ready.  Both Ian and our awesome doula, Sam, were allowed to wait with me.  They did a great job of making me feel as relaxed as possible.  Our doctor came by to introduce her assistant and review the birth plan with us.  They talked us through the surgery, answered our questions and even took music requests.

Once the time had come to meet this little one we were wheeled off to the operating room.  Sam was allowed to accompany us to the door and then waited right outside, where she was able to hear the baby’s first cries.  The nurses and other hospital staff were all introduced to me and had all reviewed our birth plan. I watched the pediatric nurse read through it while I was being prepped and she came over to confirm things with me before we got started.  It was little things like that that helped me feel comfortable with everything that was going on.

The lights were kept low in the operating room and music was playing softly.  Ian sat by my head and was able to rub my shoulder and hold my hand.  The doctor let us know when were close to having a baby so that he could get the camera ready.  Matilda Piper was born at 12:29pm, weighing 5.8 pounds and after a quick check by the nurse, with Ian by her side, she was brought to me and placed skin to skin on my chest.  About 5 minutes before the end of the surgery, Ian, Sam, and the baby were brought down to our recovery room.  I was cleaned up, bundled up and followed close behind.

Skin to skin while still in the operating room

Once in recovery, we were able to start bonding and breastfeeding.  We also signed the waivers that allowed us to skip her vaccines and were even able to introduce Matilda to some of her grandparents.  Our doctor came in to check on us and confirmed that the fibroid was completely blocking the baby from descending any lower.  If we had tried for that natural birth it would have ended in an emergency c-section and caused both the baby and I a lot of stress.

I had some high blood pressure problems so we ended up staying in the hospital for 5 days.  Ian was able to stay with me and Matilda stayed in my room the whole time.  We were able to provide the majority of her care with nurses only coming in to check her vitals once a shift.  5 days felt like forever and we were so excited to finally get home.

The whole experience, though overwhelming and life-changing, was as close to perfect as it could have been.  We were blessed to go to a hospital that so obviously cares about its patients.  More importantly, we were able to speak up and advocate for ourselves and our birth experience.

Stay tuned for Part 3: Writing a Gentle Cesarean Birth Plan

Linking up to: Healthy 2dayThe Homestead Barn Hop, and The Modest Mom

A Gentle Cesarean, birth story part 1

*This is part 1 of a 4 part series on ‘Gentle Cesarean Sections’ and the birth of our daughter, Matilda Piper.  It is my goal that by sharing this I will be able to encourage the many moms who end up needing medically necessary C-sections to take control and have the best possible birth for both them and their babies.
Originally, I wasn’t going to share any of this.  C-sections are talked about with an air of disgust or failure on most ‘natural living’ blogs and I felt like I would be shunned for having had one.  After reading THIS POST from Shaye at The Elliot Homestead I decided this was my story and I needed to own it.

Baby bump at 37 weeks

Part 1: Before she arrived

All things considered I had a relatively easy pregnancy.  Hardly any morning sickness, swelling or other ‘fun’ side effects.  I was able to maintain my energy and make it through the busy camp season with only some muscle soreness as my complaint.  That being said, there was more going on ‘beneath the surface’ that would ultimately effect the natural birth that we were planning.

During our 14 week ultrasound I was diagnosed with uterine fibroids.  My midwife (who is an amazing lady!) wasn’t too concerned but we decided that we would schedule several ultrasounds through out my pregnancy so that we could monitor the size and location of the fibroids versus the growth and location of the baby.  At this point we continued to plan our natural birth but knew that if complications came up we’d need to rethink things. I wasn’t too happy with the idea of extra ultrasounds but I understood the reasoning behind them, the most important thing was a healthy baby.

At an ultrasound farther along in the pregnancy (I had enough ultrasounds to lose track of what happened when) it was determined that one of the fibroids was large (approximately 10 centimeters) and appeared to be blocking the baby’s “exit”.  Our midwife told us as gently as she could that we should start wrapping our heads around the idea of a c-section.  We agreed to keep monitoring the situation and to hope for a natural birth while planning for a c-section.

At around 37 weeks I went in for yet another ultrasound, this time to get a better idea if the baby would be able to navigate around the fibroid to make her appearance.  It was at that ultrasound that we found out the baby was small and not growing as well as she should be (most likely because she was competing for space with the monster fibroid) I was scheduled for non-stress tests / ultrasounds every 3-4 days and an appointment with one of our midwifes backing OBs.

I felt like I was constantly at the doctors office, it was beyond frustrating.  Thankfully, at every test the baby was healthy and happy and at every ultrasound she was wiggling around and sucking her thumb.

On November 9th I went in for my scheduled tests and for the appointment with our midwife and OB.  After reviewing the latest ultrasound and not 1 but 2 exams they gave us the news we had been dreading.  They were both pretty well convinced that the baby was not going to fit past the monster fibroid and they were recommending a C-section.

Along with this piece of bad news came two pieces of good news.  The OB that we had already met and felt very comfortable with would perform the surgery and that the hospital had approved “gentle cesareans” a type of c-section that is designed to more closely mimic a natural birth, our doctor also happened to be trained in them.

Stay tuned for Part 2: The Arrival of Matilda Piper

Linking up with: The Modest MomThe Homestead Barn HopThe Better Mom, and Helathy 2day