Ellie Hood, 41, Mount Gambier, SA
When I found out I was expecting again, I was thrilled. But my excitement was tinged with a little fear.
My first two deliveries had been less than magical.
Neave, now 10, was born by emergency caesarean because a knot in her umbilical cord meant her heart rate dropped with each contraction. I was told the safest option for my next baby, Piper, now five, was a caesarean, too.
Being behind a screen was far from the intimate delivery I’d imagined. My babies were whisked away immediately so I missed out on crucial skin-to-skin contact.
‘I can’t bear to go through that again!’ I told my hubby, Ben, 36.
As a midwife myself, I’d heard about maternal-assisted caesareans where brave mums reached in and helped to deliver their own babies!
‘That’s what I want!’ I told Ben.
Thankfully, my obstetrician was very supportive.
Scrubbing up on August 1st this year, it felt surreal. As part of the delivery team, I had to be completely sterile. This time around, no screen separated me from the action.
Gory for some, I looked on in awe as the surgeons made the first incision. Moments later, I saw the top of my little boy’s head.
‘You can bring your baby up now,’ the surgeon grinned.
Naming him Arlo, our precious bub nuzzled into my neck.
I’m totally in love, I thought, stroking his tiny head.
I’m so grateful I could welcome my boy in such a magical way.
➜ Also known as positive caesareans, maternal-assisted caesareans occur when a doctor performs the procedure, but the mother reaches in and pulls out the child herself.
➜ It’s believed the process may help with better breastfeeding rates and bonding due to skin-to-skin contact, as well as delayed cord clamping.
➜ However experts warn that the process is not for everyone and all expectant parents should talk through their options with their doctor, if they’re interested.
Originally published in that's life! Issue 43, 2016.