How will the story of your cesarean birth unfold?

 

In celebration of Cesarean Awareness month, I would like to take the opportunity to honour all of those who have birthed via cesarean or who plan to have a cesarean birth in the future. Birth is birth no matter how that experience unfolds and everyone will hold that experience differently. How would you like to hold yours?

Following are some ideas to consider when planning a cesarean birth or when adapting to the idea of a change of course during your labour.

 

1. (Of course this tip will be #1) – Hire a doula!

 

Yes, doulas can absolutely support your cesarean birth. Whether you are planning this type of birth in advance or it comes as a bit of a surprise, doula support can be invaluable during a time like this. We can help prepare you before the day arrives by discussing what you might be able to expect, what elements of the experience are important to you as an individual and how you can plan for your recovery while adjusting to life with your new baby. When a cesarean is unplanned, your doula can help your digest the change in the moment as well as process your journey afterward. While your doula may or may not be able to accompany you into the operating room, we are usually welcomed into the recovery room to continue our support in those first crucial hours. Postpartum support can become especially important after cesarean births as you discover yourself as a new parent, and help your family adapt to the new dynamics – all while recovering from major surgery! We can help ease this transition in endless ways.

 

2. Prepping for prep

 

No matter how your cesarean birth unfolds, there will be a short period of time when you are being prepped for surgery that your support people will not be with you. (They will be changing into scrubs and preparing to enter the sterile environment.) Brain storming about ways to stay connected during those moments can be important to some people. Some couples think of a song, or a memory, or a message to keep in mind during the time that they are apart.

 

3. The moment of birth

 

This is something that many people find important to acknowledge. That moment when you and your baby go from one to two. It can be a sacred transition for some – is it to you? How can you be present for the moment that your baby leaves your body to come into your arms? This is such a personal thing, there is no singular answer, but you can find what works for you.

 

4. Moments after birth

If delayed cord clamping and/or skin-to-skin is important to you, this can be possible after a cesarean birth given the right circumstances. It isn’t necessarily the norm though, so you may want to make this request known to your caregivers. Provided that you have the support of your surgical team, your newborn can be placed directly on your upper chest or held next to your face to nuzzle! You may need a little help to do this but there is no shortage of hands to help you meet your new little person. If you are not feeling up to it in
that moment or would rather that your partner share skin-to-skin time, that is also a possibility, more likely to happen in the recovery room.

 

5. Recovery time

 

This is no time to hurry yourself or neglect self-care. You may need to dig deep to find patience and allow yourself adequate time to recover on more than one level. Your physical, mental and emotional recovery can be greatly impacted by the support you allow yourself to receive. Reach out to your friends and extended family for help in the ways that you are comfortable with or even consider hiring a postpartum doula! Getting help with household tasks, infant feeding, newborn care, sibling adjustment, physical and emotional recovery can pave the way for an easier journey into parenthood.

 

As always, we are with you.