Making Cesarean Deliveries Special for Mom and Baby - One Mother’s Gentle C-Section Story

Lacey Marsh woke early in the morning on December 2, 2014 and knew it was time. “We got to Hillcrest at 3 a.m. and went straight to triage,” she recalls. Lacey was indeed in labor and admitted to Labor and Delivery at the Peggy V. Helmerich Women’s Health Center at Hillcrest Medical Center shortly after arriving. Pregnant with her first child, Lacey did not know exactly what to expect next, but maintained an open mind. Surprisingly, things appeared to be developing quickly. “By 7 a.m. I was dilated to a 7 cm. My water broke, but not completely. Everything was going well.”

Lacey’s obstetrician, Dr. Melissa Dietz, arrived to check on Lacey. After breaking her water completely, fetal heart rate monitors indicated the baby was in distress. Dr. Dietz and the nursing staff worked to change Lacey’s position to see what impact that would have on the baby’s heart rate. With no change, they quickly decided it was time to deliver her son. 

“They wheeled me back to the operating room, got me on the table and started with the c-section,” Lacey says. “My husband was with me the entire time.”

Dr. Dietz and the labor and delivery nurses worked quickly for the safe delivery of her son, while Lacey remained positive despite the reality she would not have a vaginal birth, as she had originally hoped. “Everyone was right there,” she adds. “They were very friendly, very informative. For something that could have been very scary, it wasn’t.”

At 11:05 a.m. Colt McCrea Marsh was born. During the stress of labor he had aspirated and required immediate attention to help clear his breathing passages. Within a few minutes, baby Colt was placed on his mother’s chest, while Dr. Dietz completed Lacey’s procedure. “They had asked me if I wanted to hold him,” Lacey says. “I said ‘yes’. They made sure he was stable and brought him to me and laid him on me.”

That opportunity to hold her baby within minutes of a cesarean delivery is one aspect of what is known as a gentle c-section, growing in popularity across the country for mothers and health care providers striving to maintain that connection between mom and baby during the delivery. Skin-to-skin contact is beneficial both physically and in the bonding process immediately following delivery for both mom and baby. It was a moment Lacey will never forget and the one moment she was looking forward to the most anticipating meeting her son that December morning. “It just made it really real,” she recalls. “Even when they are in your stomach, you love them but you don’t really grasp it until you hold them. There is no other feeling in the world.”

With a bouncing three-month-old baby boy, the first-time mother is sharing her experience with other expecting mothers. “I have a friend who is pregnant with her third baby,” Lacey says. “She didn’t get to hold her babies after her first two c-sections, but I told her Colt was always right there with me. If I wasn’t holding him, he was always close.”

Her advice? Be open minded and the experience can be just as powerful. “Don’t have your heart set on anything,” she adds. “If you are planning on a vaginal birth, even if you have a c-section, it can still be a great experience. I really didn’t want a c-section, but at Hillcrest I had a wonderful experience. Trust them; they are going to do what’s best for you and baby and they know what they are doing.”

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