For whatever reason, you’ve had to schedule a c-section delivery date. It is not what you planned, but birth often doesn’t play by the “birth plan rules” we set. So here are a few things you can do to ensure that your cesarean birth is as peaceful and wonderful as a vaginal birth.
1. Get a doula! If you don’t already have a doula, it is time to hire one! I know, we all think that doula’s are only helpful for natural vaginal labors, but it turns out that doula’s play a very big role in assisting cesarean births as well! Your doula will walk you and your partner through a dry run of the surgery. She will discuss the details of the procedure, give your partner tips on how to support you during your cesarean birth and give you methods for creating a calm, beautiful birth space in the surgery room! A cesarean birth can be peaceful and beautiful!
2. Don’t ditch your birth plan! Don’t throw your birth plan out the window just yet, there are still so many choices and options available as part of a cesarean birth. It is time to get with your doula and create your cesarean birth plan. She can help you to create a reasonable plan that expresses those things that are important to your family while being practical in a cesarean birth space.
3. It’s not all about the birth! This may seem like an odd statement, but it’s true. We often spend so much time in childbirth education classes, learning about our labor options, and reading birth books, that we forget to prepare for our postpartum period. As it turns out, postpartum is often more challenging then labor! After all, that precious buddle doesn’t arrive with its unique “How To” guide! So begin to work with your doula to put together a strong postpartum care plan. It is important to ensure that you and your baby are properly supported and cared for both physically and emotionally during the entire the duration of your recovery. This is not the time to be Superwoman or to “Tough it out” ladies.
You hear it often, what more can you ask for if mama and baby are healthy. I say TONS! With our level of medical technology today, I call “Healthy Mama/Healthy Baby” the basic level of physical care. Of course there is always the possibility of the emergent situation, but IF that situation doesn’t manifest, why not shoot for the moon?
It is sensible to ask for appropriate family bonding considerations to be honored. It is reasonable to expect the proper emotional care from your provider during a cesarean birth. It is acceptable to request respect of your families overall birth experience. After all, it is the one day of your life that you will never forget!
By Bea Wilds, RYT, CLD. Bea is the Co-Owner of Enso. She is a labor doula, teaches prenatal yoga, plans blessingways, creates belly cast art and mama & me yoga.
Bea Wilds, RYT, CLD is a doula and Enso co-owner. Learn more about her or look into hiring her practice as your birth support team.
Most doulas travel to each birth with a bag that is similar to the one that was carried by Mary Poppins. Of course it doesn’t look like the Mary Poppins bag, but the items that your doula might pull from it will begin to remind you of the scene from the Mary Poppins movie, where the kids watch with their jaws dropped as Mary Poppins pulls out a lamp, a mirror, a coat rack, and a tape measure!
The items in my doula bag get pulled out as they become necessary to support the birthing woman. A mini crock pot, a wooden rolling pin, a wooden lady bug and some essential oils are a good start. One item in my bag that I never touched was the rebozo. This was something that gnawed at me. Is it possible that I have this amazing tool at my disposal but it sits because of my ignorance? So when I heard of Gena Kirby I was so excited!
Gena went on about how this simple piece of fabric could change relationships and could help shape the parents a couple will become. It all sounded great in theory, but the engineer in me needed to see it with her own eyes. So I began to use it right away. I found that each rebozo holds within it a little piece of magic that has the power to change situations.
They existed in the world of labor together: husband, wife and the bridge that kept them bound together, the rebozo, until their baby was born.
“It is not just a piece of fabric!” Each time her eyes filling with tears.
It is so much more. It has so much more power!
Every one of my clients, since my experience with Gena, has received as a gift of a rebozo and the magic it holds for their journey. I will never attend a birth without one again. Her class and her magic piece of fabric has forever changed who I am as a doula and I am thankful!
Bea Wilds is a registered yoga teacher, a trained prenatal yoga teacher, a certified labor doula, and Enso co-owner. She teaches prenatal yoga, Mom & Me yoga, and Superhero Birth Partner, where she teaches partners how to use tools to support labor, including the rebozo.
Why did you start teaching childbirth classes?
Prior to having children, I worked as a Clinical Social Worker. I worked with pregnant women and teenagers, and on the job, I got trained to be a Birth Doula. It was at this training that I learned about the benefits of natural birth, and fell in love with the idea of being with women during pregnancy and birth. After my daughter was born, I resigned from my job so I could be home with her, but I couldn’t stay away from the community of pregnancy, birth, women, and mothers. I became an accredited La Leche League Leader facilitating local support groups on breastfeeding and volunteering on the local phone line. Shortly after this a friend took me to lunch and tried to recruit me on to her Arbonne team. Afterwards I knew I was not going to join her Arbonne team—I just didn’t have the passion for beauty products that she had, but I did have a passion for birth and empowering women. And then it was like a light bulb went off above my head: I could teach childbirth classes! I became a certified childbirth educator in 2007 and have enjoyed every minute of this amazing journey.
What is your favorite part about teaching?
I love everything about teaching because the subject matter is near and dear to my heart. But if I had to pick one thing, I would say that I love watching my students transform into strong, empowered, confident parents. I love hearing their amazing birth stories, seeing the joy and priceless love enter their every cell as they introduce their new baby to me, I love meeting these precious little humans, and I love being able to witness the birth of a new family.
Tell us about your classes.
I teach a six week series of natural birth classes. I pack in A LOT of information in six weeks, but I promise you will learn everything you need to know to have a successful natural birth. I throw in some holistic practices as well, such as herbs for Pregnancy and Lactation, essential oils, and homeopathy. We watch videos, play interactive games, do relaxation exercises, and practice a Labor Rehearsal. I have put together a comprehensive and evidence based curriculum that covers every topic discussed in the class that students get to keep when the class is over. I have students emailing me years later telling me that they used “the binder” to prepare for the birth of their second (or third) baby and that they were so glad they had it.
Tell us a little bit about you.
I married my “college sweetheart” Ryan. He is my biggest supporter and best friend. I am a mom to two lovely little people: my daughter Delilah is 10 and my son Quinn is 8. They are pure joy, love, and happiness, and being their mom is my most favorite job. I have a Masters in Social Work but haven’t worked as a “social worker” since Delilah was born, but from that change came the birth of my new career and the beginning of Birth’s Journey. In addition to teaching childbirth classes, I am a La Leche League Leader providing information, support, and counseling to breastfeeding women. I am also a Certified Lactation Educator and a Certified Postpartum Doula. I love to spend time outdoors with my family hiking , going on bike rides, playing four square, and walking our dog Katie. I love to read, learn new things, and practice yoga.
Laura teaches her six-week natural childbirth education classes on Thursdays at Enso. She also offers a Newborn Care workshop for parents and caregivers interested in learning the basics of caring for a new baby. Learn more about her company Birth's Journey on her website.
Taking the Edge off: The rebound effect of drug dependency
“Even though drugs initially ease pain, when the analgesia or anesthesia wears off, the pain re-experienced will be (suddenly) greater and more difficult than before. This is because when the drugs were first administered, natural endorphins were still present, easing the pain somewhat."
"However, analgesics and anesthetics send a message to the brain that it no longer needs to produce endorphins. So when the pain medication wears off, there are no endorphins available to buffer the intensity of the returning pain. Once a mother accepts drugs “to take the edge off” (especially in early labor), it is difficult to move away from dependency on drugs for pain relief during the rest of labor.”
- Birthing From Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz
Not only do these drugs cause a physiological cascade, but in many cases when nurses say it will take the edge off, they mean just that. Taking the edge off does not mean completely removing the pain. "The pain was the same, but for 30 minutes, I cared a little less," is how several of my clients review these drugs that "take the edge off." I’ve also had clients say, "Had I known it didn’t actually alleviate pain I would never have agreed to the medication."
These opiate-based narcotics, such as, Stadol, Fentanyl, Nubain, and Demerol, have a short pain relieving life. The first dose may last 45 minutes, the second will last less time and the diminishing effectiveness of the drug continues for each dose.
“Opiates cross the placenta during labor and can produce the following side effects in the baby:
Central nervous system depression
Impaired early breastfeeding
Altered neurological behavior
Decreased ability to regulate body temperature
For these reasons, your baby might need other medication to counteract effects of the opiate. Naloxoneis a medication given in small doses that can reverse the respiratory depression that opiates can cause in a baby. It is usually given intravenously and it's effects can be seen within a few minutes and can last up to 2 hours.”*
If you are laboring naturally, without pitocin, trust in the perfection of your body. Know that your body can and will produce natural pain relievers to ensure that pain levels are manageable. There are so many ways to receive support and relief during labor, many of which can be offered by your partner or labor support person (doula). These include breathing and positioning techniques, use of heat, cold, water, touch and massage.
If you are being administered pitocin, a synthetic (manmade) version of oxytocin, know that often the method of pitocin administration does not mimic what your body would naturally do. The contractions are often longer, stronger and closer together. The same natural labor support techniques are still available to you, but if the pain is not manageable, then this is a good time for an epidural.
Written by Bea Wilds, Enso Prenatal co-owner, prenatal yoga teacher, and doula.
This blog is not intended to be a source of medical information or advice. Please discuss all of your concerns with your care provider.