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Skin to Skin Minutes After C/S in the OR… Speaking Up and Making it Happen

Beautiful Skin to Skin after birth (iStock Photos)

Submitted for the Healthy Birth Blog Carnival #6: MotherBaby Edition


Skin to Skin immediately after birth is an extremely important part of the continuum of the nurturing of pregnancy, the process of birth and the transition of nurturing from inside mom to outside mom. This is the natural habitat where baby should transition and begin his own regulations of breathing, heart rate, temperature etc… This is recognized by the AAP in their changes to the Neonatal Resuscitation Algorithm back in 2000. The recommendation was to keep baby with mom and provide all initial evaluations and steps with baby on moms chest for all healthy babies!  We all know that babies have an inborn innate ability to self attach and nurse right after birth. These recommendations are not just for vaginal births. Kathy Petersen has a beautiful description of the importance of STS after a Cesarean birth on her Woman to Woman Childbirth Education blog in her 5/30/10 post Skin-to-Skin in the O.R. after a C-section.

As soon as I heard about the last edition of Science and Sensibility’s Healthy Birth Blog Carnival with a theme about “keeping moms and babies together after birth”, I wanted to write about my tiny little efforts, struggles and some successes in providing moms and babies with an environment that supports and protects their need to stay together. My recent role in the protection of such an environment and subsequent privilege of watching a baby self attach in the OR 15 min after a C/S birth has re-energized my efforts to get more mother’s and nurses to speak up and make this a standard for healthy babies!

Then….. I saw a link on Laura Keegan’s Facebook fan page for her book Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy to an awesome video and a beautiful photo posted by the author of Cesarean Parents Blog about her birth. I had heard of Laura’s search for images of STS after C/S and asking for mother’s experiences. Amy Romano from Science and Sensibility alerted Laura of the photo: Kathy blogged about STS after C/S and I was working on this post! Such uncanny timing! I am just in awe of this marvelous networking community! Head over to Laura’s facebook link and share your experience for her info gathering. Here is the fabulous video they are all talking about “Breast is Best” from Norway:

Why is it so hard for the doctors and nurses to get on board? Most of them understand the word “bonding”.  But what many don’t realize is that it took a long time for the actual concept to take hold, to allow “time” for bonding to occur.  It sounds silly but many times if the baby and mother are still together after 2 hours…the nurses call that “extended bonding”.  I have been doing this for over 35 years now and the changes from the 70’s to now are fascinating and frustrating at the same time. To understand the process of change, we have to sometimes remember where we’ve been. I wrote about Medical Science vs Natural Childbirth a year ago because I feel history IS important to help us move forward. Often it is about control… but many times nurses and doctors are simply task oriented/focused and not patient centered. They want to complete all their procedures and charting and move on to the next task. I understand this, there is always a lot to do and document. I work there too! The environment provided to us, the health-care workers, is one in which regulations are abundant and staffing is not always optimal. Flexibility is needed. I know there is a way. This culture just has to change. And it happens in small little doses.

SO–> Skin to Skin immediately after a C/S? I have been told by coworkers, doctors and anesthesia:

“It’s impossible, “

“It can’t be done”

“There’s not enough room”

“This patient (the mom) is in the middle of major surgery!”

“The baby needs to be under the warmer, it’s too cold in the OR.”

Really? Seriously? Watch Me………

I have actually been working on this issue for the past few years…… Ever since I began staff education for World Breastfeeding Week 2007′s theme “Breastfeeding: The first hour — Welcome Baby Softly”. The focus from ILCA was: ‘Establishing a welcoming environment that keeps mothers and babies together.’ It was then that I gently tried to introduce the concepts for C-Sections as well as all vaginal births. I was getting a lot of positive response for vaginal births…not so for C/S.

Anesthesia is our biggest barrier. The chest area of the mother seems to belong to them somehow. The arms too.. I always politely ask the doctor for permission to have at least one arm released so she can touch her baby. (they are secured on armboards to her sides.) Really the OB’s didn’t mind what was happening outside of their draped domain. The Pediatrician is the next barrier because they want to finish a complete exam…. in the nursery…. before they returned to the office or whatever.  So I started with the Peds… hoping they would stop expecting the baby to be quickly removed from the OR. I started with just simple requests for prolonged “bonding”… because they all get that. “Look how well this baby is transitioning.. so alert and PINK! ” “I’ll write all the measurements in your exam note…. I’m fine… I know you’re busy….” I’d say.   Sometimes mom and baby got to stay together. Soon, for some of the doc’s, the expectation of baby leaving mom was gone. They got tired of waiting around and would leave. More moms and babies got to stay together…even if it was dad doing the holding. My co-workers were not always so understanding because of the work flow on the unit. It would work best when the birth happened any time other than first thing in the morning when it’s busy everywhere. Isn’t that sad? Sitting here writing this I’m thinking of ways to work on that….. another time…..

Anesthesiologists or Nurse Anesthetists are all different. There are some wonderful ones who are releasing both arms and pushing things out of the way for the baby and others who are constantly telling moms they are “under” anesthesia and can’t hold the baby, or they have given meds to mom right after baby is born so mom is now groggy. I talk to each of them respectfully and differently depending on their own approach. I have discussed my plans for STS if baby stable ahead of time. I have discussed how it is up to us to provide this protected environment for moms etc…  I have used the patient satisfaction discussion, the scientific evidence discussion, the patient centered care discussion, and the increased patient numbers due to higher satisfaction talk.  I have let them know that when a mother requests that–> we must do everything possible to help her experience this.

Slowly, over the last few months, I was able to facilitate some babies really getting skin to skin in the OR for short periods before going to the nursery. There were a variety of factors for why it wasn’t very long each time but at least it was happening!! It’s not a standard of care yet and I’m the only one working on it but others are getting interested… Communication has been very important to create the environment and reduce barriers. We still have a long road ahead. But we did pave a path for this mom….

She came in with an unknown double footling breech presentation in active labor and the doctors wanted to do a C/S right away. She was really upset and had a beautiful birth plan that was already getting discarded. “STS until first breastfeed accomplished” was on her plan and I was determined to help her with that! Things were happening fast. The anesthesiologist wasn’t my best STS supporter.. “oh well” I thought, “I’ll do what I can to help.” The baby was crying and pink when born and without thinking about it, the doctor, nurses and myself had him on the baby unit drying him. Mom went panicky! “Give him to me, give him to me! He has to be ON me! You just took him OUT of me, now he HAS TO BE ON ME!”  She was literally trying to sit up. Anesthesia was drawing up meds for her (that was his answer).  I said “OK here he comes!”. So I didn’t ask anyone’s permission this time….. just held that naked baby in one hand, snapped open her gown with the other and helped him move in. I asked for a warm blanket and looked up to see the other nurse and doctor staring at me. I said “Seriously… she’s exactly right, he does belong ON her!” Anesthesia saw the immediate transformation of his frantic patient to one with calm maternal bliss, admiration and cooing. He was then helpful to let her other hand out. This little boy stayed with mom, breastfed before he was 15 min old and went to the PACU with mom. She was so incredibly happy. I never got to see her after that since it was near the end of my shift and I wasn’t on shift the next few days. I saw that she exclusively breastfed in the hospital and without complication went home on day 3. At least part of her birth experience went according to plan!

If she hadn’t have been so vocal about what she wanted, so adamant… she would not have experienced what she did.

SPEAK UP AMERICA…. MAKE IT HAPPEN

Want to see more? This stunning video of a baby skin to skin then breastfeeding at birth in the operating room via @MothersUtopia @Laura_Keegan. What were your experiences? Please don’t forget to head on over to Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy on FB to comment on your experience or opinion about this important topic!! Calling for women to share their experiences with skin to skin here, to help give a voice to the real need to make skin to skin in the OR routine practice in all ORs.






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93 Comments Post a comment
  1. This is so beautiful, I’m crying. With so many births happening by Cesarean, it’s more important than ever to support these moms. I am so glad that you are there to speak for them.

    June 3, 2010
  2. What a gorgeous video! I hadn’t seen it before. Thanks so much for your carnival submission! So many great contributions so far – I’m excited to post the whole collection!

    June 3, 2010
  3. You ROCK!!!!

    No other words. Just so totally rockin’.

    June 3, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      And right back at you!! Thanks so much!

      June 9, 2010
  4. What an incredible video. Just…incredible.

    And thank YOU for all of the strides you take to improve mother-baby bonding in the OR!!!

    June 3, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      And right back at you!! Thanks

      June 9, 2010
  5. This is spectacular. I work as a doula and childbirth educator and have observed that this crucial time is what women grieve most when their experiences don’t go as planned. Any advice for what women can do if they don’t have an advocate like you in the room? Anything father can do? I’ve begun to half-heartedly tell my ladies about it but I’ve resigned to the fact that they will never get it. Maybe if enough women demand it? It’s so frustrating to be on the outside.

    June 3, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      Good for all that you do! My best advice is to NOT give up…Even if you feel on the “outside”…perhaps you can find an advocate “inside” at the facilities where your moms deliver. I’ve had lay midwifes and doulas approach me about some of our practices and for me..there were certain things that opened my eyes.
      It’s hard when moms are faced with inflexible task oriented nurses who can’t relinquish that control. Maybe have them talk to docs and nurses ahead of time about how they’d like to experience things if C/S needed. For some, choosing a different doc or hosp may be important or may be necessary. For others, a discussion helps everyone understand what is MOST important to mom.
      But please–> Don’t give up, don’t stop talking about it. I have had times where I stopped pushing, almost let negativity take hold… but I always pick myself back up again and work on it more…whatever the goal is. I think that’s how I learned what approaches can work, are good to promote change, and what approaches are totally nonproductive…..
      Just keep going, educating moms, peers and maybe even some stubborn professional will actually convert into your best supporter. 🙂

      June 9, 2010
  6. Your writing here is phenomenal, a “dissertation” that informs completely while warming the heart; AND speaks loudly about the absolute necessity of humanizing ALL births. Your anesthesiologist, who was not your best STS supporter, has now witnessed the transformation of his operating room. He will never be the same nor will his workplace! Congratulations! I am in awe of your work and your actions “in the moment” for that mom.
    And thank you for encouraging people to comment on the Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy fanpage posts about STS in the OR http://bit.ly/9reAHK. Comments are coming in about personal experiences with having skin to skin at birth and the feelings around being denied this skin to skin experience. The comments along with the images and now your incredible post, make a great case for humanizing operating rooms all over the US and hopefully the world! I hope to see more comments to strengthen our voice on this issue demanding mother and baby skin to skin at birth to become standard practice in the operating room.
    You mentioned wanting to attend my Grand Rounds. I’m thinking I want you to present WITH me. Let’s keep those comments coming http://bit.ly/9reAHK and present together!

    June 4, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      @LauraKeegan You are just too kind to me!! I have gotten a lot of feedback here and I hope all those who have shared can either share again over at Laura’s fanpage http://bit.ly/9reAHK or allow your shared experience/story to be told. The more experiences, the stronger the voice. I’ll be talking to you soon….. 😉

      June 9, 2010
  7. How wonderful you are doing this! I can remember my tears welling up when my son was finally brought to me after my CS… I was not allowed to hold him, I had to wait to be in recovery room before I could have him skin to skin. Those minutes were so precious, after I think I did not let go of him for the rest of my stay at the hospital. I had to touch him at all times! So thank you for helping moms have those first instants with their babies… We need more nurses like you!!!

    June 4, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      Awhh of course you couldn’t keep your hands off your baby….. thanks so much! You have some GREAT posts on your blog. Especially the STS after C/S and the Power Struggle… I will go there to comment! Everyone else..check out these great posts!

      June 9, 2010
  8. Amazing!!! What a beautiful birth story you presented at the end, with the footling breech. We need more STS with moms/dads/babies!

    June 4, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      Hi AYC! Missed you lately, I’m just working so much and transferring over to NICU this month! How’s school?
      We do need more STS. For vaginal births too.. Hope things are happening like that at your hospital. I have a lot of work to do!

      June 9, 2010
  9. Amazing!!! Thanks so much for the great info!!

    June 4, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      Thanks for stopping in! 🙂

      June 9, 2010
  10. I have tears in my eyes. This is so beautiful. What a great role you play in the lives of new moms. I’m honoured to have you as a friend. When I had my C/S my midwife undid my gown as much as she could but my baby was swaddled up in a blanket so we didn’t really get STS, just face to face while hubby held her. She was my first so I didn’t know much then. Then they whisked her off to an incubator for almost an hour so it wasn’t until then that I got to hold her and have her nurse. Thankfully she did right away

    June 4, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      *Blush* Ahww Mel thanks, me too you! I’m glad you were able to get her back at least that fast… Most of the time this is the standard approach (which I’m working on changing….) at my hospital. The baby ends up with about 6 ” of thickness between mom’s skin and baby’s skin. It’s a face to face moment only.

      June 9, 2010
  11. Mj #

    How great to see be able to read this story a care provider’s viewpoint. Lets hope that this momentum will bring this issue to light and get some change done. I keep thinking that as parents we need to get busy demanding this type of care. I love that the mom in this story spoke up!

    June 4, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      I love that the mom in this birth spoke up!!! I seriously think that if she hadn’t…if she had laid there quietly in shock…that this wouldn’t have happened. I wouldn’t have been so brave given who anesthesia was at the time. I encourage mothers everywhere to please talk to your doctors and/or care providers and spell out your wishes. Unless medical intervention is truly necessary, you should have it your way.

      June 9, 2010
  12. Love the article and wonderful Video. I wish all expectant moms could see it. Thanks for all that you do for women and their babies. Kerry from Hypnobabies

    June 4, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      Thank YOU for saying that Kerry. Nice to meet you! I hope to do more. Thanks for all you do! Did you see my story of the 1970’s hypnobirth here?

      June 9, 2010
  13. thecraftaholic #

    I LOVED my hospital. They laid her on my bare skin, and i gave her a kiss on her little red shoulder.

    June 4, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      AWESOME!!!

      June 9, 2010
  14. Mj #

    Here is a link to a scientific article called
    “The natural caesarean: a woman-centred technique” part of it describes how to do skin to skin in the OR

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2613254/

    June 4, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      Thanks- I am going to check this out. We need more evidenced based data to help some professionals change their practice. This goes well with the trend towards focused patient centered care.

      June 9, 2010
  15. Thanks for working to make this happen. I didn’t have a c-section, but wish the nurses would get more training in mother/child bond. My nurses really were overall good, but I remember holding Cora right away all drugged up after my epidural. The nurse really shot my confidence because she repositioned my hands and acted like I was going to drop my daughter. As a new mom, it was really a confidence dropper. She wasn’t in danger of slipping.

    June 6, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      Hi Kristine. I know what you are talking about, I’ve seen nurses do that. I’m sorry. You only get that moment once. It belongs to you. IV’s, BP cuffs, swollen arms and hands, heart monitors, pulse ox’s and anything else attached to mom doesn’t get in her way when the need to connect with her newborn is happening. Another medpro control issue. I’m sorry that happened to you.

      June 9, 2010
  16. Great post!! To follow up on MJ. I wrote a blog post on mother-baby friendly caesarean. This is possible.

    http://doula-ing.blogspot.com/2010/05/mother-baby-friendly-cesarean.html

    June 7, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      This is a great post! Thanks so much for sharing!

      June 9, 2010
  17. VK #

    I wish you had been at my section. I argued for skin to skin until they let my baby get cold and then they had an excuse to put him in an incubator and call him ‘ill’. I didn’t see him again for 6 whole hours. It was agony and it still gives me nightmares where he dies and they give me a different baby because I am screaming and screaming for him…

    Even poorly babies do better on their mums, so why is our birth culture so barbaric?

    June 7, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      Ahww I wish I could have been at your C/S too… I want moms to speak up…but then… the health-care world has to listen!!! There is a control issue the medpros can’t seem to relinquish. That’s an awful nightmare and awful trauma for you! I’m so sorry 😦

      June 9, 2010
  18. Mamalade #

    I had a c-section 8 months ago and had this been me I would have avoided many many months of painful flashbacks, therapy, and nightmares. You probably single-handedly turned this scary and deeply traumatic event into a wonderful, if disappointing, birth story. I wish more medical “professionals” were as wise and caring as you. Please continue to speak your truth and help women bring their babies into the world as they were meant to.

    June 8, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      I’m so sorry that your birth created that trauma for you. I hope you are recovering now and enjoying your new life with your new baby. I had also suffered some trauma from a cesarean and delayed bonding so I try to understand things from each individual mamas POV and I think for many professionals out there..they simply don’t get it. I hope the mothers out there will empower themselves, continue to pressure “us” and drive us to provide the appropriate care you all deserve.

      June 9, 2010
  19. shana #

    Thank you so much for what you are doing. We need more people like you.

    June 8, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      Thank YOU for saying that and for stopping in here! We need more mother’s to speak up!

      June 9, 2010
  20. melisa #

    I am delighted to see that others are attempting to make this policy change. We are working very hard (at the University fo Michigan) to keep all of our babies and moms skin to skin during thier cesarean births. We have made some great progress and have not gotten any grief from anyone other than the OB RNs. It is difficult to make practice changes…but when women begin to demand this- change will come. SPEAK UP!

    August 10, 2010
    • StorkStories #

      Thanks for speaking up here! Agreed- we need to have more mothers demanding this crucial part of their care. I facilitated STS with a latch within 20 min on the OR table this week. I had a very pro bfing anesthesiologist this case. I still have many struggles with this issue. Thanks it is THAT important. Would love to hear more about your process of change if I could. (ie the steps you took)

      August 13, 2010
  21. michelle #

    I had a c-section w/ my 9th – a cord prolapse- not being skin to skin w/ my baby was the single most awful thing about the entire procedure. I think entering the OR transforms you into a piece of meat to begin w/ – and then only seeing the tiniest peak of a face before being whisked off was the worst. My baby deserved to be on me immediately – not being washed and weighed and all the rest. She needed me. And, the answer to my upset (they wouldn’t talk to me about why she wasn’t crying and I couldn’t see her because the baby stuff was on the other side of the curtain – no reason, just no one thought to ever have the table positioned so the mom could see the baby being worked on) – was to offer me narcotics – no thanks, I just wanted to take care of my baby.

    November 6, 2010
  22. I am currently working to get the hospital where I am a Labor and Delivery nurse to shift how we manange cesarean birth. Because we are a small community hospital OB does not have our own OR and we are essentially guests in the OR. We do a wonderful job of skin to skin after vaginal birth but not with cesearan birth. My goal is to move toward allowing skin to skin in the OR as well as breastfeeding in the PACU. I am getting a lot of push back from the OR and PACU staff (including anestheia) and would love some wise words from staff at hosptials that have been successful in implementing this change in procedure.

    November 7, 2010
  23. S Maddock #

    I am a midwife that does practice STS at caesarian section, we have been doing this for two years now.
    Our area encomapsses central NZ, we are the teritary level 3 hospital.

    January 18, 2011
  24. Heather #

    I begged for them to do anything different during my cesarean, but aside from freeing my arms (I would not let them strap them down–I’m phobic and I repeated it several times and they said, “As long as you keep them on the boards, that’s fine”) they wouldn’t really deviate. Confronted with my newborn, I couldn’t even ask for her, as I’d never even seen a newborn baby outside of pictures before–touching one was a marvel. I was terrified to hold her, though I wanted to. So her dad did. He carried her around the room, stayed with her for everything while I was sewn up and sent to my recovery room, where my doula stayed with me until baby and hubby came back and we got baby straight to the breast.

    I felt robbed of all her firsts that should have happened with me there. A cesarean was a nightmare. Not the surgery itself, but what it stole from me. What it stole from my baby.

    April 11, 2011
    • StorkStories #

      I ache for you… Thanks for sharing this. I want to try to do my best to avoid this happening to others… as for your loss of experience, I hope you can work through it. I don’t know if it helps but there are unfortunately many moms who have felt this same kind of loss. Maybe you’ll find some kind of comfort if you can talk to one of them? FeministBreeder and unnecesarean may have resources you’d find helpful. Again. thanks for sharing!

      April 11, 2011
  25. Christina #

    Last month I was able to nurse in the OR and have skin to skin for hours till they got her height and weight. It was amazing and made all the difference for our bonding.

    April 14, 2011
    • StorkStories #

      Best news I’ve had all week! Congratulations!

      April 14, 2011
  26. With my first pregnancy I attended some of the hospital birth classes offered. I was so lucky to have a nurse who got the importance of skin-skin, natural birthing, and women’s choice. Something that stuck in my head was her stories on assisting birthing women, she would “put that baby right on top of moms chest as soon as it came out. Even if the mom would make a face about the slimy baby” she would just say “ooh look its your baby and its gonna be yours forever.”. I loved that. Sometimes moms almost forget to visualize what happens after the baby is born that its a shock to have a new fluffy gooey baby and all its glory. It is mom’s & baby’s time so I am seeing it as the labor-supporters need to flop that baby ontop of mom and watch, :).

    October 18, 2011
  27. Kara #

    Breastfeeding info

    October 21, 2011
  28. Kara #

    Sorry for the random message above. I’m doing some research, as my sister is about to have her first baby and I want to help her. I’ve had two babies- both c-section (the first one not planned). I’m amazed by this article and information and want to learn more!!
    Thanks!

    October 21, 2011
  29. amanda #

    at my birth hospital, i had an unexpected c/s after my birth plan went to hell.. but that hospital practices and ENCOURAGES kangeroo care, or baby to chest immediately after birth, but since i was going c/s they said my hubby could do the chest to chest with him, and they helped him put on his scrub top on backwards with no shirt so he would be prepared. As much as i would have liked to insist on having it myself, after being in the hospital for 2 days already, and had been in so much pain from the contractions being back to back due to high picticin levels, and barely any food or sleep in 2 days, i was exhausted. they told me i had to stay awake and i was struggling with that, so i would have felt so groggy… after my hubby bonded and the adrenaline kicked in, i was more alert and couldn’t wait to hold him once they got me into a bed and into recovery… my son latched right away and was very alert! so i am evaulating my experience and considering another OB and hospital when the next one comes along in the future…

    December 19, 2011
  30. Elisa #

    I wish that could have happened for me. Thank you for working on this it is so important.

    January 2, 2012
  31. You have probably seen these, but just in case …
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2613254/ The Natural Caesarean
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5RIcaK98Yg Video showing it in practice.

    Keep fighting! My three babies were born by caesarean in the 80s/early 90s and I felt my heart was torn out when they were taken away from me while I went to recovery. Twenty seven years after the first, still feel the pain. And as a breastfeeding counsellor, i know the importance of that skin to skin.

    Change will come when mothers demand it. When I had my first (elective) C/S, I had to fight to have my partner there – and we won. When I had my second (emergency) C/S, I had to fight again (“We don’t have time for that at this time of night!”). But by my third (elective), it was presumed he would be present: 7 years from fight to right.

    This matters. It matters to mothers and it matters to babies.

    January 3, 2012
  32. Absolutely! My third baby was born by cesarean. Luckily, I had a great obstetrician who understood that I had planned a natural vaginal birth (like my first two!) with a midwife. She let my midwife and husband come into the OR. She allowed photographs of everything/anything we wanted in the OR. And I got to hold my baby right away. Doulas make a HUGE difference in this situation!

    January 3, 2012
  33. Christin #

    I will be delivering my first baby in a hospital that discourages immediate skin-to-skin contact, instead putting minutes-old babies under heat lamps. My husband, doula, and I are working to find ways to “work around” this outdated policy, and it’s so reassuring to know that some nurses are working hard to buck the trend. Thank you for what you’re doing!

    March 7, 2012
  34. mandapanda #

    Ok, I need you to have a talk with with my MIL, then come over and work at my local hospital! I was so hysterical when my son was born, all I could do was lay there and cry while the pedi let my husband carry him to the nursery for chest x rays. Despite my pleading, he was never brought to me. He got cold and his blood sugar dropped, then his oxygen levels… needless to say, he spent our entire 3 day stay in the nursery. Thankfully one nurse the next day believed me that *I* could help with the tempurature and oxygen issues with some skin to skin and she let me hold him. That cleared up those two problems. The next day they let me breastfeed (had been pumping colostrum for his feeding tube) for the first time and that solved his blood sugar issue. Too bad they didn’t just give him back to me after his chest x ray proved clear. Would have saved me a lot of heartache and one nervous breakdown. I could have used a nurse like you in that OR!

    May 31, 2012
  35. Jessica #

    Thank you, I am seeking encouragement to speak up regarding skin to skin and breastfeeding immediately following the cesarean birth of my unborn baby. I have a battle on my hands and it might be a losing one. I was hoping, if I couldn’t have my baby with me during stitching or recovery, that my husband could be with the baby and do skin to skin.

    May 31, 2012
    • StorkStories #

      Jessica, I am happy for you! I really hope you can do this. Who have you talked to? Start with your surgeon and ask that he watch that video??? Also speak with your baby’s doctor and the head of the maternity dept. You can’t tell too many people. Be a pain in the ass to them until they give you a SATISFACTORY RESPONSE. If they can’t do what you are asking, ask them how close can they get to your request? What can they offer you. This all has to be handled politely of course but i am just saying don’t take a simple no for an answer because I know people who say that and I just do it anyway. It is the healthiest thing for your baby and you. I hope you’ll stop by and let me know how your birth went!!

      May 31, 2012
      • Jessica #

        I spoke with my ob, who will be doing the surgery. I asked her what to expect with the planned cesarean versus emergency. She said I would be stitched for 30 minute and in recovery for 40. That I could not have my baby with me. I assumed, because it wasn’t an emergency this time, I would have the option for skin to skin and nursing immediately. That the baby could be placed on my chest and in the recovery room with me. Unfortunately, that is not their policy. I asked if my husband could be with the baby if I couldn’t. She said my husband would be with me during the stitching and the baby would go to the nursery, but he could take pictures during the surgery. I then asked how long the baby could go without nursing because I didn’t want to introduce formula. She said it wouldn’t matter because the baby is in shock…this upset me because I thought to myself, the baby wouldn’t go in shock if they would allow me sts and to nurse immediately. I didn’t know enough the first time around, but now I know how I want to approach bonding and nursing this time. I didn’t think my expectations were unreasonable as long as baby and I don’t require immediate care that would interfere with my request.
        Today I spoke with a lactation consultant. She was very supportive and agreed with my request. She encouraged I peacefully speak up as a consumer, but said it was unlikely I would win this battle. That I would be pushing for future change. I asked if she knew if I went to a different hospital and doctor if I could achieve sts and nursing in recovery. She told me it was unlikely. She gave me a number to call and so I could voice my concerns.
        I plan on talking to my future baby’s doctor who is very pro-breastfeeding. I am just disappointed and shocked. I wasn’t expecting my request to be a big deal and I feel it is very important to be with my baby and nurse immediately, after the experience I had with my first baby. There was too much interference. Thank you again, I will update and I will speak up.

        May 31, 2012
      • Jessica #

        Update. I called the maternity dept. I voiced my concerns and requests. Then I was told there was no issue with what I was wanting. That they are more than accommodating and to talk to my OB. I am confused. Now I am writing a birth plan and I will be having a bigger discussion with my OB. Thanks again for the encouragement! I hope I can make this happen. I wonder if I can even have my husband and baby in the recovery room with me.

        June 2, 2012
      • StorkStories #

        Jessica- That is great news! Even when maternity care depts are making positive changes that are driven by the evidence– there will always be those who are resistant or maybe not even aware of any changes. Many docs aren’t always aware of current policy for nursing care in facilities. He does his part and writes his orders and care for you at that level. The requests you are making are more of a nursing care management as long as your baby is healthy. I’m glad you went a step further and talked to the maternity dept. Again- every time you talk to a new person involved with your care, politely remind them about your wishes. They don’t always remember even if you already told them- I would also confirm with the nurse manager of the unit. People like you who are speaking up drive the changes we need to make! If you are given a “no” at another point of your care- speak up and ask what CAN they do instead to promote the closeness and least separation possible. They should at least have an answer for that. Keep me posted! You can do this!

        June 8, 2012
      • Jessica #

        I attempted to provide my ob my birth plan and open the discussion. It was an epic fail. She was unwilling to get past the first preference of skin to skin with either mother or father. What I was requesting was unsterile, inviting infections, and cause for lawsuits. That neither myself nor my husband could have the baby following the surgery. That the nursery is where the baby will go. She laughed at everything I had to say and we never were able to find what can be done to make this experience satisfactory. I am disappointed in her reaction. She walked me out the door to make my followup appointment. My request struck a nerve with her and I did my best to approach peacefully and respectively. She mocked my request and went overboard with distasteful comments to the point that I would rather have my needs met or not even not met elsewhere.

        June 14, 2012
      • StorkStories #

        I thought I answered this- SO Sorry :/
        I am not liking your doctor. Not very progressive is she?
        There are numerous studies which support the importance of baby’s exposure to the the normal bacterial flora of mom’s skin rather than the hospital germs. Some studies even looked at taking a swab of the vaginal area and rubbing on lips and nose of infants born by Cesarean because they miss that exposure.
        Maybe she misunderstands and thinks she has to hand baby over while she is sterile? It IS important for her to stay sterile so you are protected. STS can be done so many ways. In my case, at most deliveries, I don’t have opportunity (YET) to be handed baby (we are draped with sterlie drape so surgeon isn’t contamiated when handing over infant) and place directly STS/ Baby is always checked out by Nicu team and then I take over to mom. I am getting less and less interference or flacc from anesthesia. They are ready and waiting for me.
        I would suggest going back to the OB/ Mother baby nurse manager. Do you think that’s possible? Anything I can do to help??

        June 21, 2012
      • Jessica #

        Thank you, after my appointment I was extremely displeased. I contacted a friend who had a cesarean at a different hospital and she told me she had a wonderful experience. She was able to see her baby in the OR, her husband held the baby next to her, and then they all went to the recovery room together. She was able to hold her baby in the recovery room.

        My friend’s experience was within the range of what I would be happy with experiencing myself. I called the hospital and asked about their protocols following a cesarean. It was just as my friend described. I asked for a recommendation for an OB and I am confident in their recommendation. My first appointment is tomorrow. I am 32 weeks pregnant and happily changing doctors. This hospital offers a better level of care. My ex hospital was willing to work with me, but my ex ob was not. I should have found a new OB ages ago. She was not a good fit for me.

        I still would love the idea of immediate sts following a cesarean, but I am satisfied with the hospital’s standard procedures. I don’t know if I should ask for more or be grateful with the level or care they already provide. After my ex OB blew up at me, I am nervous to approach the topic with my new OB that I have yet to meet.

        Any how, I feel a great sense of relief. It felt great to request my medical records and cancel all future appointments with my ex OB.

        Thank you again for your wonderful support. I’ll keep you posted. I love your passion and appreciate your push for this important change.

        June 21, 2012
      • Jessica #

        Made it happen. I had sts in the OR. I even had a trial of labor…ob was supportive of sts following a cesarean, but not great with vbac support. Breastfeeding is going very smoothly. There was a parent with my son at all times. I was very happy to have my son and not be separated.

        August 27, 2012
      • StorkStories #

        That is AWESOME! I am so glad this was able to happen for you!! Congratulations! Enjoy your new baby!!!!

        August 31, 2012
  36. Wow. I am heading to my dr this morning to discuss this very thing! I posted this vlog last night and I am desperate to have them let me do this!

    June 13, 2012
    • StorkStories #

      How did your doctor visit go??

      June 20, 2012
  37. Mandy #

    This is the only thing that upsets me about my high chances for C/S. My daughter was born vaginally, and I held and nursed her immediately. Now, 9 years later, same OB but we think I might need a C/S this time. This pregnancy has been so different, and I expected that the birth will be, too. But it never occurred to me that I won’t be offered the chance to hold my son right away. I’m seeing my OB this week, and it looks like we have much to discuss.

    June 17, 2012
    • DGasser #

      I am an anesthesiologist former family practitioner with hundreds of deliveries under my belt. I am all for STS as soon as possible. Does it always have to be the mom? Why not have the dad do the initial STS in the OR until mom is past the critical stages of the operation?

      August 3, 2012
  38. StorkStories #

    Thanks for the linkback!

    June 9, 2010
  39. StorkStories #

    Thanks so much for the linkback!

    June 9, 2010

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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