Yes there are so many options you can ask for when having a cesarean. A cesarean doesn't mean you hand over your body and all control over to your OB, a cesarean can be mother-led, gentle, empowering and so amazingly beautiful. How? By knowing all the options you can ask for and creating a birth plan for a planned cesarean or having an emergency cesarean section in your birth plan.
When I had my first cesarean I just assumed I couldn't request anything and that the OB was in charge and that there was no options for me to be involved. When my beautiful girl was born I felt totally detached from the whole birthing experience, I didn't get that gush of love and I had an awful postpartum recovery.
With my second bub I wanted to try for a VBAC and was convinced that this time round I would get a vaginal birth, I focused so much on planning for a vaginal birth that I totally forgot to ensure that I had a plan for an emergency cesarean and once again did not know all the things I could have asked for during an emergency cesarean. My birth did end in a cesarean birth and once again I left feeling a detached from my birth.
6 months after having my second bub I found my life calling to become a doula which let me into deep research and knowledge building in both birth and postpartum. When knowledge building on cesarean births I could not believe all the options you can ask for, and I knew that I need to ensure that every mum I worked with knew these options.
When I fell pregnant with my third bub I prepared both for a VBA2C and an emergency cesarean I made sure I chatted with my OB about the way I wanted an emergency cesarean to go if it happened. My third bub was born by emergency cesarean and it was the most amazing experience, I felt like I birthed my son, I was in control, I was part of the birth and it was calm and so moving and healing.
I am going to share some amazing options you can request for to have a mother-led, calm and empowering cesarean...
Watch it all - request the curtain be dropped when they are ready to birth your child this means you can watch the body of your baby coming out of your stomach.
Surprise - request they do not tell you the sex of the baby, instead they lift babe up for you to see first
Cord clamping - they can wait up to 1 minute before they clamp the cord
Cutting the cord - your partner can still cut the cord
Keeping the vernix on baby instead of completely cleaning bub before they are placed in your arms
Skin-to-skin - baby can be placed straight onto you naked so you can experience skin-to-skin straight away
Golden Hour - you can request that baby stays with you (as long as baby is well) for your recovery, that means you get your Golden Hour together falling in love and breastfeeding
Placenta - you can request to keep your placenta just let the midwife know and she will take in a bucket for it to be placed in for you.
Photos and videos - you can take as many photos and videos as you like including the birth of your baby, the midwife will also be able to take a photo of you all together in those first few minutes
Music - get them to play your birth sound track throughout the whole birth
Breastfeeding - all being well with you and baby you can breastfeed the minute you are out of the operating theatre and into the recovery room, ask for help in latching baby or watch baby find your breast.
You can request all of the above and as long as you and bub are well, there should be no reason why the OB would turn down these simple requests down. If they do, ask make sure you ask why, don't let the power be taken away from you -this is your birth and you have the right to ask to be involved as much as is safe and sanitary.