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Birth Photography and unplanned Cesarean. | Bowling Green, Glasgow, KY Doulatog

It's cesarean awareness month and I thought it would be a great time to talk about what happens when your birth plan goes out the window and you find yourself in need of a cesarean that you didn't expect.

Many unplanned cesarean stories read the same.

You arrive at the hospital, either already in labor or there for a scheduled induction which could be needed or chosen for a number of reasons. You may or may not have already prepared yourself that a cesarean might be in your future. It's always a great idea whether this is your first baby or your 5th, to have a plan in the event that you find yourself in the position to need an unplanned cesarean. Working together with your doula, you can be prepared in the event that you need to make decisions regarding how to proceed.

You get settled in .. you're laboring along .. all is well and you're so ready to meet your sweet little one. Your birth photographer is capturing the little details and taking special care to be respectful and protective of your birth space and experience.

Some labors are long, some are short. Sometimes pushing goes quickly, sometimes it doesn't. .. sometimes babies tolerate labor well, sometimes they just aren't a fan.

So what are some instances that would call for an unplanned cesarean?

*Prolonged labor otherwise known as "stalled labor" or "Failure to progress"

*Abnormal positioning of the baby

*Fetal Distress

*Maternal Distress

*Complications during a VBAC attempt

*Cord prolapse

*Celphalopelvic Disproportion (baby can't pass through the vagina safely)

*Placenta Issues

*Uterine Issues

*This doesn't include reasons for a planned cesarean but a cesarean can be planned for some of these reasons.

For any of these reasons you may need to make the decision to have a cesarean. You and your partner, supported by your doula, will discuss your benefits and risks with your care provider and you will make a decision as to how to proceed from here.

So you've made it to the point that you've discussed your benefits and risks and you're in agreeance that a cesarean is the safest way to give birth to your baby.

Things start happening pretty quickly, even if it's not an EMERGENCY cesarean. You'll see new staff coming and going in your room, helping prep you and your support person for the operating room. You'll meet with the Anesthesiologist, who you may or may not have already met. Feel free to ask any questions that pop up as you see new staff members. This can be a very emotional time, if it's not an emergency situation, it's completely ok to take a few moments alone with your partner/doula/support person to process.

After everyone is suited up and prepped, you'll be rolled to the OR to meet your little one. Your partner will be shown to a waiting room, just outside the entrance to the OR, until the medical staff have you settled in to the OR at which point someone will get your support person to join you. Your birth photographer is capturing all of those moments as they fly by so quickly .. it will be a blur, but no worries .. you'll have the photos to help you process and remember.

Your partner or support person CAN take a camera into the OR. Sometimes an available nurse will take photos for you. Sadly, birth photographers are not allowed in the OR, in our local hospitals as of the time this blog post was written. I offer to send in my back up camera with the settings set for the lighting in the OR. Your nurses and staff are usually very great at capturing photos for you in the OR. The health of you and your baby will always take first priority but if they can, in my experience, they absolutely will make sure that you get photos in the OR if you request them. I'm happy to edit these photos and deliver them with your gallery.

But rest assured as your doula or your birth photographer, OR BOTH, I will be patiently waiting on a peep of your partner emerging from the OR with your little one, to capture those moments that you're missing while your medical providers are taking care of you.

This point can go a couple different ways. Depending on whether you've had regional or general anesthesia. Baby typically comes out with your partner and goes to the nursery for weighing and evaluation until you go to recovery. Sometimes Dad or your support person will go downstairs to update the family, who should be waiting in the family waiting area, that everyone is ok and baby is here. It's possible to request that your partner be able to do skin to skin in recovery until you are able to be reunited with baby. These are things that should be prepared for and covered in your birth and newborn plan, as well as discussed with your provider, beforehand. Always make sure your birth photographer has a copy of your birth plan to better plan for documenting your birth story.