8 Ideas to Think About When Talking About a C-Section...and it's not all about the dim lighting!
Updated: Nov 1, 2021
There are a lot of ideas about what music to play, asking for dim lighting and which aroma therapy to use during a c-section. I'm hoping the suggestions here are things maybe you haven't thought about or even heard of yet, suggestions that come from personal experience and the stories of many mamas around me.
Some people create a c-section plan, others chat with their providers about these scenarios but I think it's helpful for anyone preparing to have a baby to think about what a c-section would mean to them and ways they might enjoy the experience more. Here are some ideas that, whether you've been laboring for 3 days or have scheduled your c-section to meet your sweet baby, might help make you feel more comfortable and could even help you feel more connected to your cesarean birth experience.
1. Ask everyone to slow down!!! It often feels like once a c-section is decided upon, the accelerator is pushed and your provider and all the nurses start going 100mph. Unless you or your baby are in an emergent situation, there is almost always time to process, even for a couple minutes. If you've had a chance to have a conversation about choosing to go in for a c-section then you most likely have time to ask for things to slow down. This is what that might sound like from you, your partner or your doula: "We are going to go with a c-section, but before you bring everyone in to start this process, can my partner and I have the room to ourselves for 5 minutes? This is a big decision to process and we also want to start getting excited to meet our baby".
When discussing c-section options with your proivider in prental visits, ask if this would
be possible, or say that this is something you're planning on if a c-section is needed!
2. In the moment, give yourself time (even if it's 2 minutes) to grieve that maybe your birth didn't go the way you'd planned. It's okay to be bummed, heartbroken even. And then, try to be intentional about switching into a celebratory mindset! In a matter of minutes, you'll be meeting your baby!! Choosing this positive mindset can be huge going into the OR!
3. Ask to wear a "tube top" for the c-section. Even if your arms are too shaky, you can often still get skin to skin by popping sweet babe into your tube top garment. Most hospitals have this, just ask!
4. If skin to skin is important to you, make it very clear that you want baby ASAP. Put this in writing, tell your partner, doctor and your doula! Something you could write out or say is: "We'd like baby skin to skin as soon as possible. Please wait to record weight/height/everything until you are in recovery room. No diaper on baby!"
This is something to be discussed with your provider in a prenatal visit and as you are consenting to a c-section pre-op. Unless there is an emergency, the newborn exam can wait until recovery. Ask your providers/baby nurse to treat this just like the golden hour, you're just in the OR instead.
This conversation could sound like: "If baby is breathing/crying and healthy, could we skip the warmer and put baby straight on my chest?"
**Often, it is the baby nurse in the OR who makes this decision. They have strict protocols but these things are changing and a lot of midwives and doctors will advocate for you if you or your partner ask...keep asking :)
5. If doula or partner can't go back to OR, give your camera to the anesthesiologist. They have been in a lot of c-sections and most likely know how to take great pictures and at good angles too! Most anesthesiologists I've worked with love taking pictures for patients, just ask!
6. Request for a warm blanket or two to be put on your shoulders/chest and arms while they are prepping you in the OR. This heavy warmth will help calm your nerves and help you if you're shaking.
7. Ask to see your placenta (if it wouldn't gross you out). Most often, women are looking for ways to connect more with their cesarean births and seeing the placenta helps with this a lot. Your provider can hold it up for you to see and walk you through the anatomy.
8. Tell your provider that you'd like for the people who are in the OR to introduce themselves to you before they start if there is time. This seems silly but it can help slow down the pace of everything, decrease your anxiety to have names for all these people and help remind the staff that we have a very exciting birth about to happen, it's not just another routine surgery! Learning the name of the baby nurse can help too if you need to advocate for skin to skin time!
Ask, ask, ask...and then keep asking! Births are so beautiful, in all shapes and sizes and scenarios! There are so many tools and ways to make your birth feel like more than something that "just happens to you". So many of these suggestions are starting to become more "normal", we just have to keep asking and reminding ourselves and our providers that even these little changes can make such massive positive impacts!!