Not your typical C-section

This morning I got to witness one of the most beautiful sights – a Caesarean birth.

Not your typical C-section, but one that involved skin-to-skin contact immediately following the birth.

I heard about this new approach when Sunnybrook Hospital tweeted it last week.

I was intrigued. You see, both my babies were born via C-section.

My oldest was an emergency Caesarean. When he was born, he wasn’t breathing. He had only scored a 1 on the Apgar test. Holding him was out of the question because he needed immediate attention.

A first time mom, I remember laying there and waiting to hear him cry. It felt like an eternity. I didn’t get to hold my son until the next morning, and when I finally had him in my arms, I didn’t want to let him go.

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My daughter was a scheduled C-section. That was advised because my pregnancies were too close together. My first sight of her was a bright pink face screaming over the curtain. Doctors whisked her away to clean and bundle her up. I got to touch her cheek and kiss the top of her head before she left the operating room with Daddy.

When you’re a Mom, carrying around that life growing inside of you, you count down the days until you can finally hold that little person in your arms, close to your heart.

Jessica Ganas knows that feeling. She is a mom of three, all born via C-section.

That moment when you are first holding your baby in your arms is surreal, she says. There are no words to describe it.

Today, with a scheduled C-section, Jessica will get to hold her baby immediately following the birth.

Her baby won’t be taken away to be washed and bundled. She won’t have to wait until she is in recovery to hold her baby. Her new baby is going to be placed on her chest as soon as he/she is born (the sex of baby is a surprise).

Jessica is Sunnybrook’s third patient to try this approach. And she is excited for that moment.

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I am, too.

I know I am about to witness something incredible.

My cameraman Max and I are outfitted in scrubs. After all, we were about to enter a sterile environment. We were the last to enter the room.

At first glance, it looked typical. But Dr. Jon Barrett, who initiated the procedure at Sunnybrook Hospital, told me there are actually more staff required. Despite the bustle of activity, it was actually quite calm and peaceful.

Max and I stood on the sidelines watching everything unfold. Dr. Barrett would tell Jessica what he was doing.

“You’re going to feel some pressure,” he would say.

Immediately, I remember that feeling. Curious, I walk over to the other side of the surgical curtain where Dr. Barrett is doing his job. Every move of his is precise and smooth as he is talks to the surgical staff and Jessica. During my c-sections, I remember feeling like it happened so quickly.

And it does. Within moments I see the top of the baby’s head. I walk over to the other side of the curtain where Jessica and her family are waiting in anticipation. And suddenly, she is there.

A brand new baby girl, fresh from her mother’s womb, is passed under the curtain and onto Jessica’s chest where she quickly holds her tight.

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It’s difficult to describe the moment. It is surreal. I am witnessing the miracle of life.

A mother who has tears streaming down her face as she holds her baby to her chest. Their faces are inches from each other. Operating room nurses quickly grab some blankets to cover the screaming baby. But in no time, the baby girl is quiet.

Jessica holds baby Julianna, examines her fingers and caresses her cheek. All the while, Dr. Barrett and staff are completing the procedure.

A Caesarean birth is a major surgery. But this is a natural moment.

It is such a peaceful moment that it immediately brings tears to my own eyes. Because it’s that moment every mom yearns for when she is carrying her child – it’s love at first sight.

As Jessica said, “a moment that will be etched in [her] mind forever.”

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