Motherhood: A "Natural" Cesarean ⋆ Mama Says Namaste

Motherhood: A “Natural” Cesarean

September 25th, 2012 – three years ago today, my sweet baby girl was born.  Today’s bonus post was pulled from that month she was born, and it’s full of some valuable information if you are going to have a baby soon!

So long natural birth.  Hello Cesarean #3.

As many of you know, this was a completely different experience than my last two.  After two attempts at fully natural births, both resulting in emergency cesareans, this time I opted to have a scheduled cesarean…something I never, ever anticipated.  For a granola girl like me, when I laid out my birth plans originally, I never considered the possibility of ending up in an emergency c-section.  By the time I made it to the OR, I was so exhausted from intense labor that with each delivery it was all I could do to keep my eyes open to welcome my little girls, who were immediately whisked off to the nursery while I passed out in recovery, only to truly meet them hours later.

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With this one, knowing the decision had been made for us to choose a healthy baby in one piece vs. forcing my “perfect scenario” delivery, I wanted to just see what options I had.  When I googled “natural cesarean,” I had no idea what would come up.  What I found, however, fascinated me.

I know your first thought – “natural” cesarean?  You must be crazy!  However, as you’ll see here, it’s not about medicine being nixed – it’s about bringing back the natural process of mother/child bonding and the beauty of birth vs. simply being a surgical procedure.

When I approached my doctor about doing something similar, I wasn’t sure what her response would be.  Thankfully, not only was she completely on board with it, she had the power (as Chief of OB/GYN) to actually test it out!  Thus I became the first mother at Baptist Hospital to try some of the procedures you see in this video below.

My Scheduled Delivery Day

September 25th, 2012 – my delivery day finally arrived.  In an effort to let my baby come on her own, I scheduled the cesarean 2 days after my due date.  My little Chiquita was perfectly content to wait it out.  The time arrived, and unlike before, I didn’t walk into the hospital in the throes of labor pains.  We arrived at the hospital ready to go at 5am.  At 7, we went into the OR, and by 7:14, our little baby was born!

I am so, so thankful for the experience I got at Baptist.  They listened to my desires to create a natural environment for baby and me, even though I couldn’t have it without the help of modern medicine.  Every person involved in the process of bringing my baby into the world – from scrub nurses to surgeons to anesthesiologists – all made it a point not just to work together to bring her into the world, but to personally introduce themselves to me by name and include me in the process.  They took a standard surgical procedure and made it personal.

No matter how prepared you are mentally, emotionally and physically, there is no way you can know for certain how a baby will be born.  I prefer Eastern practices, holistic and natural healing processes, etc.  However, I am eternally grateful for Western medicine as well.  Both have saved lives, and without the ability to switch to a cesarean, it’s highly likely that, at the very best, my middle daughter would have had to have her bones broken just to come out.

The Best Birth
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So for this one, I was prepared.  I made the decision that the best birth is not the one with the least medication – it’s the one where a healthy baby and mother emerge.  Our society is slowly shifting to a time where you are responsible for your own body – we have the power to make decisions on how medicine will play in our lives, and I feel that it is my responsibility to be involved in the process of anything that happens with my body.  Doctors can do amazing things, but they are not mind-readers.  It is my personal responsibility to educate myself on my body – and how my emotional and mental state also affects my physical state.  I am not made up of individual parts to be addressed separately – I am a whole woman with a complex system that involves mind, body and soul.  We are such unique individuals – doctors are here to simply collaborate with us to bring healing – not to be expected to know you better than you know yourself.

Birth is a natural occurrence, yet sometimes needs medical intervention.  I was able to bring the natural beauty and human connection back in with the help of a supportive medical team – it wasn’t about the surgery or the hospital – it was about that priceless moment when you see your child for the first time.

My Hospital, My Voice

Disclaimer – this is not a plug for Baptist Hospital (now called St. Thomas Midtown Hospital).  I have heard great stories and also horror stories about this hospital and others – and no hospital is going to be perfect – because so many experiences are based on individual interactions, and you’re hit with what person is actually having a good day and not being a punk!  My personal experience has been wonderful at Baptist, all three times, with the exception of a few grumpy nurses.  So this was my experience. 
Here is a video pulled from the hospital website, featuring yours truly:

Checklist for a Natural Cesarean

Here is what my amazing team at Baptist did for me:
  • Every staff member in the OR personally introduced themselves to my husband and I – the power of using names takes you from being simply “patient 12” to really being personal…and thus they were more inclined to include me in the process – telling me everything that was being done and why.
  • Put the IV drip in my non-dominant hand and ECG dots on my back and side so my chest was free for baby.
  • “Walk” the baby out one shoulder at a time – similar to easing baby out during contractions vs. simply pulling her out (this allows for the lung fluid to be squeezed out of her lungs similarly to a vaginal delivery).
  • Once the head was out, the curtain was immediately dropped so we saw her being delivered.
  • The cord was not clamped until it had stopped pulsing.  During that time they wiped her off a bit and I never took my eyes off of her!
  • As soon as the cord was cut, the delivery nurse placed her straight on my bare chest – immediate skin-to-skin contact.
  • All assessments of her were done while she laid on me with no eye ointment – we got to see her open her eyes and us be the first thing she saw.
  • From the moment she was delivered she was in my arms, and other than when Nathan took her to be weighed, in my arms is where she stayed!
  • She and Nathan stayed in recovery with me – just the three of us – before we moved to the room where I remained for the rest of the visit (that was flooded with visitors)!

Remember We Are All People First and Foremost

Baptist has slowly been integrating a more mother/child approach to the maternity ward.   They emphasize the importance of skin-to-skin contact, keeping babies with their mothers vs. automatically putting them in the nursery.  They now even raise the temperature in the operating room during cesareans so it’s more comfortable for baby and mother.
It’s not about medicine and doctors vs. midwives and a holistic approach; it’s about going back to the person, not “the patient”.  Connect with your body and be fully informed about the experience.  You are not a project or simply a patient.
Thank you, my amazingly incredible Dr. Schlechter and your wonderful staff – you listened and we worked together to bring forth a beautiful life.  I am eternally grateful and honored to have your support through the process!
Happy third birthday to my sensitive, social, silly and amazingly sweet Jules (or J-J-Bones, as she references herself).  I love you to the moon and back one hundred times plus infinity, and you’ll always be my little baby!

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Juliet Grayce
8lbs 13oz, 19″
Born September 25th, 2012 at 7:14am

 

Mama Rose

Ashley Logsdon is a Family and Personality Styles Coach and Lifelong Learner. She and her husband Nathan are RVing the States and unschooling their 3 girls. Her mission is to shift the mindsets of families from reaction to intention, and guide them in creating the family they love coming home to. Looking deeper than the surface, we assess the strengths, triggers, and simplifying your lifestyle so you truly recognize how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Join the Mama Says Namaste Facebook Group

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