A Family-Centered Cesarean Section
“A comforting birthing experience for Mom and Baby.”
The birth of a baby is a miraculous experience. However, things don’t always go as planned. Approximately 30 percent of women in the United States will deliver a child by cesarean section, leaving many feeling that they “missed out” on something.
In some cases, a woman may experience extreme disappointment when an emergency C-section is required, not getting to have the natural birth they imagined. This is how Vanessa Hanson felt with the birth of her first baby. The day Vanessa went into labor, she was overjoyed, but that joy quickly turned to fear when a C-section was ordered.
After giving birth by C-section, Vanessa struggled with feelings of resentment and grief. She had overcome years of infertility, and when she wasn’t able to deliver her baby vaginally, a C-section only amplified her feelings of inadequacy as a woman. She also had to cope with the grief and loss associated with missing out on the initial bonding with her newborn child.
DIFFERENT THE SECOND TIME AROUND
Vanessa vowed that things would be different with the delivery of her second child. “When I found out I was pregnant again, I was determined to have a different experience. I longed for the experience women have when they give birth vaginally, which led to my research to find family-centered C-sections,” she says. Vanessa discovered that by planning ahead and working closely with her doctor, they could create a birth plan that was safe and emotionally fulfilling.
“When I found out I was pregnant for a second time, I knew immediately that I wanted to deliver at the Bingham Memorial Birthing Center because of how wonderful the staff treated me the first time,” explains Vanessa. “I also chose to work with my Ob-Gyn at the Bingham Memorial Women’s Center again because he really took the time to listen, and I felt as though he genuinely cared about my well-being.”
Vanessa discussed her research about family-centered C-sections with her doctor and developed a birth plan. “He was very receptive and respectful about my wishes,” she says, “and his openness to accommodate my requests helped my anxiety subside. I was nervous, but not scared. I was just excited that I was going to be a part of my birthing process, not apart from it.”
WHAT IS A FAMILY-CENTERED C-SECTION?
A family-centered C-section is the delivery of a baby as close to a natural birth as possible, in a way that is still family-connected, loving, special and surgically safe. One of the major differences of a family-centered C-section is a change in the operating room environment. At the Bingham Memorial Women’s Center, all of our Ob-Gyns go above and beyond to create a more personalized space as opposed to strictly surgical.
“Throughout the birthing process the second time, I felt more relaxed, empowered and supported,” says Vanessa. “The medical team talked to me throughout the birth and lowered the draping so I was able to watch my daughter being born, very much similar to a natural birth.”
“Upon the delivery of my daughter, they cleaned her nose and mouth, wiped her down and then immediately placed her upon my chest, allowing me to touch and kiss her while they were finishing the procedure,” says Vanessa. “I missed out on that early bonding time with my first daughter, and was determined to not miss out on it the second time around. It was that moment of meeting my child for the first time that I yearned for, and I was finally able to have it.”
“My baby was in my arms throughout the remainder of the surgery and only placed in the warmer when I was transferred to the recovery room. I held my baby as I left the operating room and was with her the entire time.”
During a typical C-section, the mother and baby may be separated for an hour or more as the baby is cleaned and examined, and the mother’s surgery is completed. If a family-centered C-sections is required, Bingham Memorial’s Ob-Gyns do all they can to connect mother and baby as soon as possible.
The first hours after birth are a developmentally important time for a baby. There are well-documented, short- and long-term physical and psychological advantages to having a baby held skin-to-skin immediately after giving birth, regardless of feeding method. To promote skin-to-skin contact, our Ob-Gyns always do their best to place an unwrapped baby on a mother’s chest as soon as possible. They encourage a mother and baby to rest skin-to-skin for approximately one to two hours or until the first breastfeeding has been completed.
“One of the most notable differences during the family-centered C-section was that I felt respected as a birthing mother,” says Vanessa. “I felt in control of what happened with my newborn baby and I felt connected.” Vanessa says the nurses helped facilitate this environment, “for example, they asked if it was okay to bathe my daughter and weigh her. They kept saying, ‘Whenever you’re ready.’”
“I wouldn’t change a thing about the birthing process of my second child,” says Vanessa. “The entire experience helped me feel empowered and like I was being heard. I’m so glad I was prepared and advocated for myself, and that I had a doctor who respected my wishes and advocated with me. I want other women to know that they, too, have options.”
While labor may be different for every woman, Bingham Memorial’s goal is to have a happy and healthy mom and baby sharing a beautiful experience, regardless of how the baby enters the world.
SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT WITH AN OB-GYN
At the Bingham Memorial Women’s Center, we have assembled a dynamic team of both female and male Ob-Gyns. They understand the challenges women face in today’s society as caregivers and family providers, and their goal is to provide women with the tools they need to make smart choices that will positively impact the rest of their lives.
Our Ob-Gyns take the time to answer your questions so you can feel confident in your healthcare choices. With the right information, women of all ages can be empowered to make good decisions about their health and wellness.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with the Bingham Memorial Women’s Center, please call (208) 782-3900.Return to Articles