A Gentle Cesarean Birth Story

I had just finished this post about God’s lesson for me the day before he came. We were just at the 38 week check up that afternoon, where I was kind of reluctantly discussing scheduling the cesarean because my sweet pea just wasn’t turning head down. I decided to wait until the 39 week check up to schedule it because there was something so unnatural to me about scheduling a birth…it just didn’t register in my head. Our doctor said that was fine, but we would need to schedule it at next week’s appointment for sure. I had just finished updating my doula on the earlier appointment when I felt something similar to a kick but then a gush. My eyes widened. Oh thats what that feels like! I called my doula who made sure I didn’t just pee my pants (LOL Karry, I won’t forget that any time soon!). I had not peed my pants. πŸ˜€ I had the OB paged. I called my husband who had just left for work and told him to turn around and head back home. The last call was to my mom, who had returned from a mini-vacation a day early and had only been home for a half hour! I asked her to head on over for our toddler because it was go time. I did a fairly good job of thinking what we needed to bring and packed it in the only bag I could find, the Graco bag for the pack n play, HA! Then off we went!

Wait, we had NO gas…had to stop for $5 worth….ok, then off we went!

I definitely felt nervous excitement on the way there. “I can’t believe we are going to meet him tonight! ….. The spinal is coming, you know.” I thought, “Yes but it will bring you to your son,” I reminded myself.

Checked in, wheeled up, hooked up. Every step brought me a little more excitement about meeting him and a little more anxiety regarding that impending spinal. Dr. Anesthesiologist arrived. Ohhhh kay, it was almost time, my heart was racing. He asked if I had an epidural with my first, no doubt to say it’s not unlike that. But I hadn’t because quite frankly a needle in my spinal column scared me more than the pains of labor, he hesitated a little confused then said that I didn’t have a choice this time. I told him I know behind a scared smile. He said I might throw up on account of my big dinner (I do love food).

All the finishing touches on prepping me took place…wow there were lots of people involved, all in and out. I was happy to see hubby, doula and midwife in there…oh but I could feel the fear. There’s that bleeping fear again! I still didn’t know how I was going to do it! Dr. Anesthesiologist came back in saying it was time and my guts drop a bit; he asked if I was ready and while I was not ready for the next step I was ready for the baby, so I said yes and off we went.

From one bed to another I went and then it was time to sit up and lean forward. Oh how I wanted to just be able to breathe through this and trust…and remember who is in charge and I that have nothing to fear. Trying to remember to breathe seemed to be taking up all my brain power though. My midwife asked how long my playlist is. Oh that’s right, I got to hear music I love! She got it started and Dr. Anesthesiologist started prepping for the spinal. My sweet sweet doula was right in front of me…she knew how I was scared of having this. Suddenly I was holding two hands (one of my midwife’s as well) and my head fell forward until I was forehead to forehead with my doula who was talking me through. She tells me to let it all go and squeeze it into her hand. I do and then I finally hear the music. Here is one of the unexpected defining moments of this birth and experience. “This is the air I breathe….Your Holy presence….living in me” a handful of tears fell as I was filled with peace and remembrance. That was one of two times in my life that I literally felt Him right there next to me. My doula wiped away my tears and I squeezed the hands as he finished. It felt weird, and hurt some but it wasn’t as bad as I had feared. πŸ™‚ It started working quickly as the rest of the preparations were underway… monitor, leg compresses, blood pressure monitor, and the curtain! I knew we were close! I heard the doctor and then heard a song and thought, “oh I love this song!” I felt some tugs and pulls and heard that I’m doing great and that he will be here soon.

I smelled caudery…am I being cauderized? My doula asked if I really wanted to know. I did! She said that I was in fact being cauderized…that explained it. πŸ˜€ They asked me if I was ready because it’s almost time to lower the drape! I definitely had ants in my numb pants! I couldnt believe how soon until I would see him! My little buggar who wouldn’t turn head down for me after the chiropractic, acupuncture, moxibustion, inversions, hypnotherapy was here! He was out the drape was lowered, I tried to reach for him but they told me to not do that…oh yea sterile environment, whewps…I apologized. Mark is gloved up and handed scissors…snip snip! He was out and on his way to my chest! Skin to skin!! On the OR table….we’re pioneers!


What a good crier! I patted his butt and told him I love him and I couldn’t believe he was here. He settled and we offered the boob. He tried but it was a no go. It was a weird angle. He laid there on me, right on my chest, just like he is supposed to, while they removed the placenta and closed me up. They took him to weigh him while they unhooked me and transferred me to the other bed.

In recovery! They wiped him down some and there he was on my chest again. YAY! Let’s nurse? Yes let’s! He latched and got that precious colostrum. Oh what a wonderful noise those swallows were! And there we sat together in recovery for three hours, never separated (even as I was throwing up…I did have a big dinner, I really do love my food! And my husband holding the bucket…did I mention he’s the BEST??)…. just as it should be.

Wow. I am so incredibly blessed to have had this type of cesarean. As my wonderful doula said, “this was no C-section, it was a cesarean birth”, to God be the Glory. A gentle, respectful cesarean birth that brought me the child that God wants me to care for this side of Heaven. God is great!

I think it’s important that women not consider this gentle cesarean ahead of vaginal births because that is the best way to birth a baby. I don’t want women to choose to have a cesarean because of this, if it isn’t necessary. The U.S. cesarean rate is unnecessarily above the worldwide average as it is. For those of us facing circumstances that don’t allow the opportunity for a vaginal birth, this was a way of making it a better experience.

More on Gentle Cesareans:
The inception of gentle cesarean births was driven by families who wanted the birth of their babies to be just as special and respectful as babies who were able to be born vaginally. It entails some or all of the following:
-Immediate skin-to-skin contact with minimal separation
-Birth Visualization through maternal propping
-Calm environment
-No extraneous noise or unrelated conversation by the medical staff
-Delayed cord clamping
-Presence of multiple support staff for mom and her birth partner
-Breastfeeding in the operating room, if the mom desires
This process of skin to skin contact in the operating room is important for mother-infant bonding, prevention of post partum depression, breastfeeding initiation and success, and overall experience for a family when birth must take place in the operative setting. There are several instances where a cesarean birth is medically indicated, and in a non-emergent situation, Gentle Cesarean is a wonderful option. All medical staff at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island have been specially trained by Dr. Kate McCleary and are therefore able to safely, respectfully and compassionately perform Gentle Cesarean
. (Source: http://www.icanri.org/gentle-cesarean.php)

Update: We were interviewed by NBC 5 Chicago, here is the video

19 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Stacie Volpe on May 24, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    Kare, I love this post!! I laughed, and cried, and empathized with you. So glad you got to have the most important parts of birth (healthy, safe baby, & healthy, safe mama) PLUS skin-to-skin and nursing right on the OR table!! ❀


  2. Posted by Angie on June 5, 2012 at 3:21 am

    What a wonderful story!


  3. […] a vaginal birth. The doula we used for our second child was there to support me throughout the gentle cesarean birth that brought him to us. She was worth every penny even though there was considerably less for her […]


  4. Thank you so much for posting this. I’m 38 weeks3days and baby is complete breech. I’ve been trying to turn her since 28 weeks and last week did do an unsuccessful ECV. This is my first and I was all prepped for the natural birth (took Brithing from Within classes, am a yoga teacher etc) and was really bummed about not even getting to try. I also did EFT a couple weeks ago and that really helped. My gentle cesearan birth is scheduled for 8/8 – 2 days before the due date. Although I am researching doctors who will deliver breech vaginally in the SoCal area, my insticnts are telling me surgery might be best for me at this point. Also praying, affirming, and meditating on God’s will for me and baby, My brain is tired. ; )


    • Thank you for your comment Rachel! It’s really hard to let go of our plans, isn’t it? I’m not even sure if I wrote that our son came the next night after I was finally at peace with him being delivered via cesarean. I posted that journey on the 6th and he came the night of the 7th. If I was going to have the cesarean birth, I wanted more than anything for him to come on his own and wouldn’t you know. I imagine God was like “ok, I can do that….as soon as you remember I have things covered, am in control and everything will be fine as I have it planned” πŸ˜€ Praying for your journey too! It IS so exhausting to get to that point of peace!


  5. […] is the first side of mush on Mostly Crunch. Well unless you count the Gentle Cesarean story, because that was a different kind of mush. This is in no way crunchy, natural, healthy or good for […]


  6. […] know a natural living, crunchy mama type….because there aren’t enough of those. A Gentle Cesarean Birth Story […]


  7. Posted by Jeni Stevens on May 26, 2013 at 10:04 pm


    My name is Jeni Stevens. I have just commenced my PhD – focusing on immediate skin-to-skin post caesarean section. I go to the University of Western Sydney in Australia. I am also a midwife and a lactation consultant.

    I have a big favour to ask. Would you give me permission to use your above picture that you have on your website for my PowerPoint presentations? It is such a beautiful picture, it would be great to be able to use it.

    I appreciate your time.

    Jeni Stevens
    RN, RN (Hon Class 1), RM, IBCLC


    • Sure! πŸ™‚


      • Posted by midwifelearning10 on May 31, 2013 at 8:03 am

        Thank you SO much πŸ™‚

      • Posted by midwifelearning10 on October 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm

        Hello Licadee

        Its Jeni Stevens again.

        Would you give me permission to use your above picture in the Australian Midwives Association magazine, Midwifery Matters. I want to submit an article that discusses how to provide skin-to-skin in the operating theatre.

        Thank you for your time.

        Jeni Stevens

      • Sure Jeni! Feel free to link to the blogpost too if you want.

  8. Posted by midwifelearning10 on May 26, 2013 at 10:08 pm


    My name is Jeni Stevens. I have just commenced my PhD – focusing on immediate skin-to-skin post caesarean section. I go to the University of Western Sydney, Australia. I am a midwife and a lactation consultant.

    It is very exciting seeing skin-to-skin being done in theatre.

    I have a big favour to ask. Would you give me permission to use your above picture that you have for my PowerPoint presentations?
    I appreciate your time.

    Jeni Stevens
    RN, RN (Hon Class 1), RM, IBCLC


  9. Posted by midwifelearning10 on November 4, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Thank you once again


  10. Posted by Jeni Stevens on January 21, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Hi Licadee
    It’s me again

    I have just been asked to do an online presentation – do you mind if I use your picture for online presentations?

    Once again,
    Thank you πŸ™‚


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