I shared in a previous post that I had a C-section with my first baby. Now I am expecting my 2nd child. I realized that a lot of simple things could have been different to make my C-section experience empowering instead of traumatic. I am planning for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). Still, I will be sure to print a copy of my C-section birth preferences, review it with my OB, and keep it in my hospital bag to give me peace of mind that a 2nd C-section as a plan B will be healing and family-centered.
C-section preferences I am adding to my birth plan:
Have warm blankets available to place on my upper body. I felt so cold and was shaking uncontrollably during my first C-section. This made things difficult because my arms weren’t strapped down, and I was repeatedly told to keep still, which was impossible for me to control. I read about warm blankets helping other C-section moms feel comfortable, so I want to have those handy next time.
Help me witness my baby being delivered. I want and need to see my next baby come into the world to feel empowered. I will do whatever it takes to make that happen, whether it’s by using a clear drape, having the drape lowered at the moment of birth, or having a mirror positioned to the side of my operating table. The thought of a mirror might make some moms cringe at the thought of seeing their open incision, but if the mirror is positioned at eye-level to the side, I shouldn’t be able to see anything disturbing. I think that witnessing my baby’s birth will make me feel more like an active participant of our birth and help us bond from the start.
Include a birth photographer to capture the moment. I think it would have been so healing to have at least seen my daughter’s first seconds outside of my body in photos since I didn’t have the chance to see that moment unfold as it happened. My OB for my next baby is all for welcoming a photographer in the OR, even if it isn’t a scheduled C-section.
Provide preventative non-drowsy, anti-nausea medication if possible. I had a chance to have skin-to-skin contact with my daughter within a minute of her being born. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take advantage of that opportunity because within a minute of me holding her on my chest; I got a strong urge to throw up and urgently asked my husband to take her off my chest before puking a few seconds later. If I hadn’t had that wave of nausea, the first time I met my daughter face-to-face would have been so much more special.
Show me the placenta and umbilical cord. As someone who has studied the human body every year during college and is fascinated with birth, I was so intrigued by the idea of seeing my own placenta. My body worked hard to build and grow both my baby and my placenta, so I really wanted to see both my baby and the cord that attached us for nine months. Unfortunately, as a first-time mom, I had mistakenly assumed it was routine for them to show moms the placenta. Instead, mine was taken away, and I never got to see it. I wish I had let them know that it was something important for me to be able to see.
Was there anything you wish was different about your birth experience? What changes could have made you feel more empowered?
Photography by the author of this post:: Raisa Mnichowicz