- Delayed cord clamping
- Immediate skin-to-skin after cord clamping, with or without breastfeeding
- Delayed newborn exam to allow plenty of skin-to-skin time
- Music chosen by the person giving birth
- Clear drape at the moment of birth
Below you'll find the birth plan for my most recent c-section and my c-section playlist.
Thank you for your care during the birth of our third child. This is a special day for us, and we appreciate your care in helping us achieve our goal of a happy, healthy birth. I am attempting a VBA2C and these are our birth preferences. We know that birth is unpredictable and in the case of emergency, we will cooperate fully with medical staff after informed discussion.
I have breastfeed my two previous children and plan on breastfeeding this baby. We will not be circumcising the baby if it’s a boy. We do not know the sex of our baby, and we would like Charles to be the one to announce the sex to Stephanie and to our families. I will be taking the placenta home and would like it to stay in the room with us. Thank you for honoring our preferences as much as circumstances allow. We know we are in good hands with your team.
My primary obstetrician is Dr. John Gonzalez of Capital Women’s Care. My doula is Amy Bookwalter.
[I have eliminated the parts of the birth plan pertaining to the VBA2C attempt, as it became a scheduled CS]
If a cesarean is necessary, I would prefer a gentle cesarean including:
- Walking into the OR with [husband] and [doula], who will be present for prep and surgery.
- Choice of music during surgery
- Being asked asked ‘Are you ready to have your baby now?’ before delivery.
- Hands free during the surgery, narration of the procedure and a clear drape for delivery
- [Husband] announcing the sex of the baby
- Delayed cord clamping of at least two minutes if mother and baby are stable. During this time, I would like to hold the baby’s hand through the drape if possible.
- Immediate, uninterrupted skin to skin care with delayed routine care (medications/vaccines, measurements, footprints). Charles would like to take pictures during this time.
- [Husband] accompanying the baby if separation is necessary, while Amy will stay with me.
My doula reminded me to ask for the IV in my forearm and all the leads to be attached on my back so that my hands and chest would be free for immediate skin to skin. When I met the anesthesiologist in the triage room, he told me I could have both my doula and husband present in the OR for the surgery, but I had to choose one of them to walk in with me for prep. In the OR, the anesthesiologist is in charge, and they are the person who gets to decide who gets to come in. I was completely satisfied to even have one support person (I chose the doula for emotional support).
In addition to the points of my birth plan (which at least a few members of the team actually read!), the staff made a huge difference. They were warm, celebratory, and stayed focused. My OB spoke to me throughout the surgery so I never felt absent from the experience.
When compared to vaginal births, those who have c-sections are more likely to report dissatisfaction with the birth experience, have trouble bonding, struggle to breastfeed, and experience postpartum depression. A gentle cesarean experience can help with the transition from pregnancy to motherhood and ease many of these issues. Speaking anecdotally, I am absolutely satisfied with this birth experience. It was worlds better than my other two c-sections. In fact, I can't stop talking about it to anyone who shows the slightest interest. It helped me make peace with not having the vaginal birth I'd hoped for.
I should add that I did a lot of mental work leading up to this birth, which I believe was as important as what actually happened in the OR. I found these affirmations very helpful. I read them throughout the end of my pregnancy, and some of them have carried over into the postpartum stage. I listened to my playlist regularly, especially when I was experiencing prodromal labor or feeling anxiety about another c-section. I walked myself through the routine stages of a c-section (experience helped there, but there is a lot of information on-line) while listening to the music. I also designed it to carry over after the birth as a playlist to listen to with the baby.
1. Offering--The Avett Brothers. (This is our song, and I felt like it was important to connect with him in the moments before our child was born).
2. Let It Be--The Beatles. (For acceptance)
3. Blackbird--The Beatles (For healing)
4. Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World--Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (I designed the playlist so that this would play approximately when baby was ready to come out, and then the playlist switches to love songs for baby and lullabies
5. Rainbow Connection--Weezer & Hayley Williams
6. You Are my Sunshine--United Guitar Players
7. You Were Born--Cloud Cult
8. Reasons to Love You--Meiko
9. When You Dream--Barenaked Ladies
10. Falling Slowly--Once
11. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star--Lisa Loeb
12. Gracie--Ben Folds
13. Baby Mine--Alison Krauss
14. Bye-Lo--The Innocence Mission
15. Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)--Billy Joel
16. Forever Young--Rhiannon Giddens and Iron & Wine)
17. Better Together--Jack Johnson
18. Lullaby--Jack Johnson
19. Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)--Dixie Chicks
20. When You Wish Upon a Star--Billy Joel
21. Songbird--Fleetwood Mac
22. Beautiful Boy--John Lennon
23. Sunrise--Norah Jones
24. Over the Rainbow--Innocence Mission
25. Three Little Birds--Bob Marley
26. You Are my Sunshine--Ray Charles
27. I Won't Give Up--Jason Mraz
28. Ho Hey--The Lumineers
Somehow, after #4, my phone got put to shuffle, so the rest of the playlist didn't go as planned, but to be honest, I didn't really listen after she was placed on my chest until we were out in recovery. To listen, they just put the phone next to my head on the operating table and then in bed with me to be wheeled to recovery. It was awesome because everyone was singing along to Let it Be. My OB joked with me that next time, he'd rather listen to Hamilton, and I told him it was a deal.