When C contacted me recently announcing her pregnancy, I was thrilled and excited! I attended her last child's birth, and had gotten to know her over the past few years. Having boys at home, they were feeling especially blessed to be pregnant with a little girl.
It was discovered at one of her appointments that C's baby was frank breech (instead of being head down, babies buttocks are presenting at the cervix, typically with the feet up above by the head). She did not want a ceserean! Her doctor agreed that the baby could be born in this position. C was both happy and a little worried. She didn't want surgery, but did fear the unknown of a vaginal breech birth. Together we came up with some important questions to ask her doctor, which helped her to understand the process and know what to expect for this type of delivery.
Closer to her estimated due date C had another ultrasound which determined the baby's position had changed. Little Sara had now turned so her feet were in front of the cervix, this is known as footling presentation. This type of breech birth was not recommended vaginally due to the fact that her dr. felt the risks of a vaginal birth were too great.
During our early planning stages, C and I had discussed what a gentle family-centered ceserean is, and what that could mean for her. A gentle family centered ceserean allows parents to choose many aspects of the birth; this could include dimmed lights, music of their choice, immediate skin to skin and breast-feeding if possible, photography, delayed cord clamping, and participating in the delivery by having the birth described to her as it is happening.
C and I revisited this, as she now knew that little Sara would need to be born by C-section. Plans were made for myself and her husband to both support her in the room prior to the birth, and I would go back with her to the OR. C picked out a special CD to listen to during the birth. The doctors were respectful and didn't talk loudly about things unrelated to her birth. They described what was happening to both her and I. I massaged her temples, stroked her face, and held her hand. I took photos of the whole birth. The drape was lowered so C could participate in her baby's entrance earthside. The dr. delayed cord clamping & cutting. Sara was quickly evaluated by the nurses, and dressed warmly, because the OR was chilly. C was able to snuggle her for several minutes. C's husband came in the operating room with us to meet his baby and then followed her to the nursery afterwards. He even did skin to skin with her!
The hospital staff was very respectful of C's desire to keep her placenta, and I encapsulated it for her for postpartum mood support. We also did a tincture, an umbilical cord keep sake, and placenta art prints.
C had not wanted a ceserean, but because she planned for it, she was at peace.
Because she was an active participant in her care, alongside her doctor, she felt supported.
Knowing she had options and being able to choose the aspects of her care were really important to C.
Many parents might feel that Doula support during a C-section is unwarranted, but in this birth story, it is evident that support is beneficial no matter the type of birth one plans for or ultimately has. Both C and her husband were thankful to have a doula by their side.
We continue to support CL and her family during her postpartum stage, or fourth trimester. Help with breast-feeding, newborn care, and being available to answer questions several weeks after delivery helps foster confident mothers, which ultimately leads to a healthier and happier postpartum.
If you have any questions regarding breech vaginal birth, family centered ceserean, creating a birth plan, or just want to know more about what doulas do, don't hesitate to contact us!