A Perfect Cesarean Section, Complete with Skin-to-Skin {A First For the Hospital}

by Krystal Cleaver on May 22, 2013

From the outside, there is nothing special about my birthing story.  No unbelievable twists that surely haven’t happened to other women.  This is a special birthing story to me because it’s my birthing story.  Birth Without Fear has helped me realize my story is just as special as anyone else’s and I felt compelled to share it with other women that have been in a similar situation.  Sometimes the most imperfect birthing situations become the most perfect experiences.  This is my experience.

On April 8th, 2012, after almost a year of trying, my husband and I found out we were expecting our first baby in December.  We were so excited! Almost immediately, we began practicing hypnobirthing.  We knew exactly how we wanted to bring our baby into this world; no drugs, no excessive monitoring or unnecessary procedures. We wanted the experience to be as natural as possible. We took the hypnobirthing classes, read the books, learned the different breathing techniques, listened to the birthing affirmations, and used the rainbow relaxation cd to condition my body to relax itself with the music.  Perineal massages from 32 weeks on to prepare for the birth, taking primrose at 36 weeks to help soften the cervix, preparing a specific birth plan for the hospital, so much to do!

At 36 weeks, after an ultrasound to make sure things were progressing smoothly, we discovered our baby was breech!  Not to worry the doctor said. The baby had plenty of time to turn.  I talked to the baby to convince him/her to turn, tried forward-leaning inversion, and had even considered doing an ECV but decided against it.  After another week and an ultrasound, the baby had still not turned.  My doctors suggested I schedule a c-section as babies that aren’t turned by this time tend not to.  I wouldn’t give up!  It became difficult continuing to prepare for a natural birth knowing there was a chance my breech baby would not turn.  I held out hope that if I went into labor naturally the contractions may cause the baby to turn. The doctors knew how important a natural birth was for me and agreed to wait it out and hope for the best.

My simple birth plan had specifically stated that we not only wanted a natural birth but immediate skin-to-skin contact for mother and baby after birth.  Knowing the possibility of a c-section existed, I wanted to make sure I could still have skin-to-skin contact with my baby.  My primary ob/gyn said I would most likely not be able to hold my baby until 2 hours after I gave birth.  This made the idea of a c-section a million times worse!  Why, if I was conscious, would I not be able to hold my baby? On December 7th, at 40 weeks and 3 days I went for an NST and while things were fine, I decided to schedule a c-section for the following Thursday which would put me at 41 weeks and 2 days.  The stress of hoping the baby would turn was taking its toll and I knew at the end of the day all that mattered was a healthy baby.

I went home that night determined to find a way to hold my baby after birth with a c-section.  I spent most of the night tossing and turning, trying not to stress myself out.  At 7 o’clock in the morning on December 8th, my water broke!  I went into labor naturally!  It was really all I wanted in this situation. As we drove to the hospital, I was hoping one of the contractions had already or would soon make my baby turn; yet the idea that I would meet my baby soon regardless of the delivery method elated me!  When the doctor on call arrived, we learned the baby had not turned.  It was a Saturday, so once the operating team was gathered, I would be going in for a c-section immediately.  At that time, I expressed to the ob/gyn and the anesthesiologist how important it was that I have skin-to-skin contact with my baby immediately after birth.  After some consulting on their end and admitting it had never been done there before, they agreed!

With the support of my husband, I laid on the operating table as the doctors cut me open.  I could not wait to see my baby and reminded the doctor that I wanted to announce the sex!  He was sure to keep the genitals covered up as he handed the baby to the nurse.  I happily announced the sex of the baby as the nurse brought my beautiful daughter, Harper Adison, to me and laid her on my chest.  After recovery, I was able to breastfeed her.  While I was worried the delay in breastfeeding would hinder our success, she latched right on and I’ve been nursing ever since!  My husband was able to capture these moments with pictures I’ll cherish forever.  While my situation was not the hypnobirthing, drug free, natural experience I had spent my pregnancy preparing for, I realize now it was a perfect birth nonetheless.

breech c-section

breech c-section

breech c-section


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