Positive Cesarean Birth

The twins were 31 weeks gestation. Baby A was a footling breech (feet first), and Baby B was transverse (laying sideways). Active labor begins between 5-6 cm, generally, and 10 cm is typically when you feel the uncontrollable urge to push. I was 8cm dilated and there was a foot visible during a vaginal exam. With this information, we made the decision to have a cesarean birth. They had pumped me full of steroids over the course of 24 hours, to help the lung development of the babies, giving them the greatest chance of survival outside the womb. We were then given 20 minutes to make a list of all we wanted and didn’t want in the operating room while they prepped everything for their births.

With a lot of preparation in the weeks prior, we knew what our options were. We had our doula with us to stay with me throughout the process, and my partner to stay with our babies once they were born. We also had music, had talked with the anesthesiologist team prior (since I have a lot of scar tissue from a previous spinal surgery), asked for all the lights to be off, except for the lights directly on my belly, and they dropped the drape (since they didn’t have a clear one) so I could see my babies as they emerged from my body. There were things we couldn’t have, such as immediate skin-to-skin and delayed cord clamping (because they needed oxygen immediately), but we did get to choose who did the surgery and when we would go to the ER. I also chose an epidural over a spinal block, and chose for my partner to call out the gender and names of each of the babies for the room to hear.

Going in with this much preparation wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t listened to my intuition. I wouldn’t have thought to speak with the anesthesiologists, not gone to the hospital for the mild irritations I was feeling in my uterus (mild, but very productive contractions), or hired a doula for support, or even made a list of options that I might find important for the births of my babies. Listening to my body and my instincts, having people there that trusted and believed in me, and finding out what I could control in this uncontrollable circumstance.

This can be your experience, too, if you know or have a feeling that you’ll need to have a cesarean birth. Preparing for what may be empowers you to have the confidence in your birth story and increases satisfaction, even though it could be the worst method of birthing in your mind. Talk with local and virtual doulas about their style of support and what it looks like for your birth experience. If you don’t want a doula present, but you want to feel fully prepared, talk with a birth worker or birth choice planner to help you know all your options and find the ones that work best for your ideal cesarean birth.

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