One of the mums at the Bella Mama Pregnancy Spa & Wellness Centre was having her first baby and, due to some complications the decision was made that the best birth for her and baby would be an elective C-Section. She was feeling a bit disappointed by this as she has ideally wanted a natural birth, especially when her consultant informed her that her wish for a delayed cord clamp couldn’t be accommodated after the surgery.
On the day of her operation the original consultant wasn’t on duty and so she had a new one. This doctor walked into the room and the first thing she said was “So, what are your preferences for your c-section?” Mum was a bit surprised as previously her wishes has been pretty much shut down.
“Can I have a delayed cord clamp for the baby?”
“Yes, absolutely… ” was the answer.
“Is there a chance I could have the blood pressure monitor put on my leg instead of my arm so that I can cuddle my baby skin to skin straight away?”
“No problem at all …”
Then the doctor said “Would you like to help push your baby out?” Not really understanding, mum asked for more details and the Obstetrician explained that if she gently bore down on her tummy muscles then this would help to push baby slowly out through the incision which is a less invasive way for baby to be born and would allow her to be an active participant in her baby’s birth.
“Is there anything else you can think of?” the doctor asked.
Not being able to think of anything, mum threw in a joke “It would be great if the surgical team could sing the welcoming song from The Lion King as the baby comes out!” General laughter all around.
So the day of baby’s birthday arrives and all of mums wishes are respected and accommodated. The cord isn’t cut for a minute or so enabling the baby to benefit from all the blood transferred to him from the placenta. Mum helped her baby out into the world and had her arm free to cuddle and get that important skin on skin time straight after the birth. The best bit of the story though …. just before they start the operation, the consultant nudges dad and says “I’ve got the Lion King music on my phone.” She had made a point of downloading it and bought it with her to play as baby entered the world!!
There are so many reasons that I love this birth story. Namely because when I first asked mum how her birth was she answered “It was awesome!” and I can totally understand why.
As I often tell my pregnant mamas. Your baby’s birth day will be one of the most important and memorable days of your life and whether a positive or negative experience, you will never forget how you were treated and how you felt on this day. There are many benefits to natural birth but sometimes things don’t go as we plan them and we need intervention and medical assistance. However despite this, all mothers deserve to be treated with respect, compassion and consideration on the day on the day they birth their baby. In my experience, when this happens, as it did on this occasion, their experiences and memories tend to be positive and joyful.
Not all mamas will have the time and caring assistance to plan a birth such as this but it’s not really about that. Just the simple questions ‘What are your preferences? How would you like this to be? How can we make this the best experience possible for you and your baby?’ are often enough to make a mother feel a respected and valued part of her baby’s birth.
If this care giver and her team can provide this experience, then others can too (and many are already doing so of course). As mothers and consumers of their service we can help by spending time researching our birth options, requesting that within reason, our wishes are considered and if possible, actioned. We can let our caregivers know what is important to us and how we would like to be treated. We can question protocol if it doesn’t seem relevant to our situation.
I’d love to hear your experiences. Were you asked about your birth preferences? What steps did your LMC take to make sure that they were taken into account? How did that affect your birth experience? Is there anything you might do differently next time?
A massage therapist for 21 years and a yoga teacher for sixteen, I have owned and run the Bella Mama Pregnancy Spa & Wellness Centre since 2005. My lifes work is supporting mothers, babies and families throughout the joyous yet challenging time that is the childbirth year. My wish is that all mothers throughout the world are supported, honored and cared for so that they can do the important work of nurturing and loving their children. It is my belief that mothers and babies who are born into a space of peace, love and respect will in turn bring that into the world, changing it for the better. Find out more about Postpartum Doula Support here.