A mum took the ᴇxᴛʀᴀᴏʀᴅɪɴᴀʀʏ ᴅᴇᴄɪsɪᴏɴ to ᴅᴇʟɪᴠᴇʀ her own ᴛᴡɪɴs when she ɢᴀᴠᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜ – even though she had a ᴄ- sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ. Gerri Wolfe, 41, from Nᴇᴡ Sᴏᴜᴛʜ Wᴀʟᴇs, Aᴜsᴛʀᴀʟɪᴀ, was ᴅᴇsᴘᴇʀᴀᴛᴇ to ɢɪᴠᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜ to her babies naturally, the same as her last two children, but after discovering a ᴄᴏᴍᴘʟɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴ during her 36th week of ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ that left her with no choice but to have a ᴄᴀᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ. ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs told her one of the ᴛᴡɪɴs was putting ᴘʀᴇssᴜʀᴇ ᴏɴ ᴀ sᴄᴀʀ from a previous ᴄᴀᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ and a natural ʙɪʀᴛʜ would be ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs.
She said: “I was ᴅᴇsᴘᴇʀᴀᴛᴇ for another and, when the ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs told me it was too big a ʀɪsᴋ, I ᴄʀɪᴇᴅ and ᴄʀɪᴇᴅ. As my hope for a natural ʙɪʀᴛʜ sʟɪᴘᴘᴇᴅ ᴀᴡᴀʏ, I began thinking about how I could still have that I did it’ feeling.” So she did some research and discovered a procedure called Mᴀᴛᴇʀɴᴀʟ Assɪsᴛᴇᴅ ᴄᴀᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ, where the mother’s hands are guided down by medics to take hold of the ʙᴀʙʏ ᴀs ɪᴛ ᴇᴍᴇʀɢᴇs ꜰʀᴏᴍ ᴛʜᴇ sᴛᴏᴍᴀᴄʜ. Gerri had already discussed a type of ᴄᴀᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ known as “woman-centred” with her ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs, where the baby is ʙᴏʀɴ more slowly, allowing the parents to watch the ʙɪʀᴛʜ. The baby is then placed immediately on the mother’s chest.
However, Gerri went one step further and asked for a Mᴀᴛᴇʀɴᴀʟ Assɪsᴛᴇᴅ ᴄᴀᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ. In this procedure the mother has to sᴄʀᴜʙ up like and wait for the word from the doctor. Sʜᴇ ʀᴇᴀᴄʜᴇᴅ ᴅᴏᴡɴ, ꜰᴇʟᴛ ꜰᴏʀ ʜᴇʀ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ ᴀɴᴅ ᴘɪᴄᴋᴇᴅ ʜᴇʀ ᴜᴘ. A minute later she was ʜᴇʟᴘᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ᴅᴇʟɪᴠᴇʀ ᴛʜᴇ sᴇᴄᴏɴᴅ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ. Gerri and her husband Robert now have two healthy twin girls – Matilda and Violet. She said: “I had two sʟɪᴘᴘᴇʀʏ, ᴠᴇʀɴɪx covered, tiny little daughters in my arms. We just stared at them for the longest time.”
Mᴀᴛᴇʀɴᴀʟ-ᴀssɪsᴛᴇᴅ ᴄᴀᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ not for everyone. I’ve heard it said before- “No ᴄᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ is gentle. It’s the ʀɪᴘᴘɪɴɢ ᴏꜰ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴀʙʏ ꜰʀᴏᴍ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡᴏᴍʙ and we shouldn’t pretend that a ᴄᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ is anything other than a ɴᴇᴄᴇssᴀʀʏ ᴇᴠɪʟ.” As a mother with multiple ᴄᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴs in my ʙɪʀᴛʜ history who sᴛᴏᴘᴘᴇᴅ having children partly because of the ɪɴᴄʀᴇᴀsᴇᴅ ʀɪsᴋs ᴀᴅᴅɪᴛɪᴏɴᴀʟ sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ posed health, I think that this is an important development for women who opt to have or who must have a ᴄᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ.
The very act of the mother ʀᴇᴀᴄʜɪɴɢ ᴅᴏᴡɴ ᴛᴏ ʟɪꜰᴛ ʜᴇʀ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ ꜰʀᴏᴍ ʜᴇʀ ᴏᴡɴ ᴡᴏᴍʙ refocuses the sᴜʀɢᴇᴏɴs ᴀɴᴅ ɴᴜʀsᴇs on the mother’s primary place in her ʙɪʀᴛʜ. She is no longer a passive object, but becomes an active subject in her child’s ʙɪʀᴛʜ. She is no longer a vessel from which the baby ᴍᴜsᴛ ʙᴇ ʀᴇᴍᴏᴠᴇᴅ, she is the one ʙɪʀᴛʜing the child. This can be a powerful thing for some women. For women who want this choice, for women who have no access to V.B.A.C they consider reasonably safe, for women who don’t want or who are unable to have a vaginal ʙɪʀᴛʜ, this could mean the difference between feeling ᴠɪᴄᴛɪᴍɪᴢᴇᴅ and feeling victorious.
What Mother Assɪsᴛᴇᴅ ᴄᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴs do is allow women to have an active role in their child’s ʙɪʀᴛʜ. Many women feel this is a positive development in a sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ they have historically been sᴛʀᴀᴘᴘᴇᴅ ᴅᴏᴡɴ ꜰᴏʀ, they have been unable to see of touch their child after, ᴛʜʀᴏᴜɢʜ ᴡʜɪᴄʜ ᴛʜᴇʏ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ʙᴇᴇɴ ᴜɴᴄᴏɴsᴄɪᴏᴜs. For women who want this option, M.A.C allows the woman dignity of action- she stops ʜᴀɴᴅɪɴɢ ᴏᴠᴇʀ ʜᴇʀ ʙɪᴏʟᴏɢɪᴄ role of the “She Who Lifts the Child” and reclaims this from a ᴍᴀsᴋᴇᴅ sᴜʀɢᴇᴏɴ.