*This is part 2 of a 4 part series on ‘Gentle Cesarean Sections’ and the birth of our daughter, Matilda Piper.  It is my goal that by sharing this I will be able to encourage the many moms who end up needing medically necessary C-sections to take control and have the best possible birth for both them and their babies. You can read Part 1 HERE.

Ian and Sam, my cheering squad

Part 2: The Arrival

Our gentle cesarean was scheduled for November 14th and we arrived at the hospital bright and early, with our birth plan in hand.  Our midwife had encouraged us to write out a birth plan that explained our goals for the surgery as well as for my care and the baby’s care.  Being specific is important, she said, this experience is ultimately yours.

After filling out paperwork, I was brought back to pre-op to get ready.  Both Ian and our awesome doula, Sam, were allowed to wait with me.  They did a great job of making me feel as relaxed as possible.  Our doctor came by to introduce her assistant and review the birth plan with us.  They talked us through the surgery, answered our questions and even took music requests.

Once the time had come to meet this little one we were wheeled off to the operating room.  Sam was allowed to accompany us to the door and then waited right outside, where she was able to hear the baby’s first cries.  The nurses and other hospital staff were all introduced to me and had all reviewed our birth plan. I watched the pediatric nurse read through it while I was being prepped and she came over to confirm things with me before we got started.  It was little things like that that helped me feel comfortable with everything that was going on.

The lights were kept low in the operating room and music was playing softly.  Ian sat by my head and was able to rub my shoulder and hold my hand.  The doctor let us know when were close to having a baby so that he could get the camera ready.  Matilda Piper was born at 12:29pm, weighing 5.8 pounds and after a quick check by the nurse, with Ian by her side, she was brought to me and placed skin to skin on my chest.  About 5 minutes before the end of the surgery, Ian, Sam, and the baby were brought down to our recovery room.  I was cleaned up, bundled up and followed close behind.

Skin to skin while still in the operating room

Once in recovery, we were able to start bonding and breastfeeding.  We also signed the waivers that allowed us to skip her vaccines and were even able to introduce Matilda to some of her grandparents.  Our doctor came in to check on us and confirmed that the fibroid was completely blocking the baby from descending any lower.  If we had tried for that natural birth it would have ended in an emergency c-section and caused both the baby and I a lot of stress.

I had some high blood pressure problems so we ended up staying in the hospital for 5 days.  Ian was able to stay with me and Matilda stayed in my room the whole time.  We were able to provide the majority of her care with nurses only coming in to check her vitals once a shift.  5 days felt like forever and we were so excited to finally get home.

The whole experience, though overwhelming and life-changing, was as close to perfect as it could have been.  We were blessed to go to a hospital that so obviously cares about its patients.  More importantly, we were able to speak up and advocate for ourselves and our birth experience.

Stay tuned for Part 3: Writing a Gentle Cesarean Birth Plan