An increasing number of women deliver their babies via Cesarean today.
If your baby is being born by Cesarean, either planned or unplanned, you can make the experience as positive as possible.
It begins by talking to your care provider about your wishes should you need a Cesarean delivery.
The anesthesia generally used in a Cesarean delivery is an epidural, which means the mother will be awake.
Most hospitals will let you have your significant other with you at the time of delivery. Ask if you can take photographs or videos. Some hospitals will even allow you to choose music to play in the operating room, but you’ll never know unless you ask ahead of time.
There will be a drape just below your chest that will prevent you from seeing the “operating field.” Some parents and doctors are comfortable lowering the drape so that the parents can see the baby being born; others aren’t. Think about your desires in this area, and talk them over with your doctor.
Do you want the doctor to announce the baby’s sex? Or do you want to discover that for yourself? Decide ahead of time, and make your wishes known.
You should also decide whether you or your partner wants to perform the second cutting of the umbilical cord. Initially the cord will be clamped with hemostats in two places and cut between them.
A third clamp, usually plastic, is then placed near the baby’s abdomen, and the cord cut near that clamp. Be sure to let your doctor know if you want you or your partner to perform that final cutting of the cord.
Even if you are having a cesarean, you can still hold your baby soon after she is born, so long as she is stable.
Ask about having one arm free so that you can hold your baby, being able to hold your baby skin to skin, and about breastfeeding your baby as soon as possible.
You can also ask to delay having the ointment placed in your baby’s eyes until after you have had some bonding time.
It is important to remember that any birth plan is essentially a wish list. In the event of an emergency, the health and safety of mom and baby must take precedent. But barring emergencies, it is reasonable to expect that many of your wishes can be granted.