• Amber

A Mothers Love // Maternal-Assisted Cesarean Birth at SJOG Mt Lawley

Updated: Oct 4, 2020


I looked down at my phone, a message from Kylie told me what room she was in.


I stepped out of my car, grabbing my camera bag. I took a deep breath and visualised all my nervous energy flowing out through the souls of my feet, making room for calm. Not only was this Kylie’s first birth, it would be my first experience at a caesarean birth.


From the carpark I looked up at the hill in front of me, old brick buildings looking more like a hotel than a hospital. I felt like I had stepped back in time, so this was St John of God Mt Lawley.


I reached Kylie's room and was greeted by the biggest smiles. Excitement filled the room. Kylie laughed with her mum and cousin as she rubbed her belly. Soon she would transition into a mother.


I love documenting such moments because I never had this for myself.


No photos of my transition.


Regret is a powerful motive and it fills my soul to be able to capture these moments forever for other women on the cusp of motherhood.


What an honour it was to be invited to document such a transformative time. From Kylie's first email, to the moment she birthed her beautiful boy from her womb, to leaving her hospital room, surrounded by family gushing over this sweet new couple, you could tell just how much this little boy would be loved.  

Mother laying on an operating table holding her newborn son after cesarean birth
 

How did you find out about maternal-assisted caesareans (MAC)?

I was researching information on how to reduce risk and incidence of postnatal depression. I was informed by medical professionals that I was considered high risk due to family history and personal situation/social influences of being a single abandoned pregnant woman. As I was having a caesarean section, I wanted to contribute and help in the birth of my son as much as I could - to get as close to a natural birth as possible. I found online a few ladies chose this method to form a bond with baby more efficiently. This is what I needed as I feared there would be complications. 


pregnant woman sits in chair holder her belly

What was something you did to prepare for your MAC birth? 


Practiced and reinacted the process with my obstetrician and anaesthetist - we practiced the putting on gloves, how I would place my hands on baby to lift him out - where and how I would position him on my chest after. I wanted to make sure I was able to follow through! 


Mother wipes tear away from pregnant daughters eye
Mother holds her daughters hand as they wait to go in for a cesarean

Tell me about your birth team and how they impacted your birth experience?

My obstetrician was very positive and supportive of my wish to be more involved in my birth - my anaesthetist was the same. The theatre staff were warm, positive and had good sense of humour...they even allowed me to play R&B music in the theatre. I felt very supported and safe. Lots of smiling confident people that reassured me everything was going to be ok.

My mum was my birth partner as my ex was no longer around. She is also a qualified theatre nurse so was handy to have around. She focused on me completely and kept me calm as I was nervous about the operation. 


pregnant woman scrubbing in for her maternal assisted cesarean as her mother scratches her nose
woman lays on bed after scrubbing in with her operating team around her ready for a maternal assisted cesarean
mother gives daughter a kiss as she is about to get an epidural

What are some of the details that you can remember about the operating room? 


It was very light and bright and lots of theatre staff involved. It was clean and immaculate and I felt very safe as everyone was organised and had a role to play. 


pregnant woman has protective glasses put on as she preps for her maternal assisted cesarean

Did you feel anxious? Describe what helped you in those moments. 


I felt excited at first with some anxiety - I guess it was the fear of the unknown being my first birth and baby. I had my mum there with me the whole time and as she is a qualified theatre nurse - I knew she was the best support person I could ever ask for. I felt at ease when I looked at her. She helped me with my breathing and remaining calm. The peak of my panic started when I could no longer move my legs...that feeling of being out of control. I had to breathe and remain calm and focus on the arrival of my son and how I was going to pull him out! 

pregnant woman has gloves put on as she preps for her maternal assisted cesarean

What were you most excited about as you got closer to catching your baby? 


I was so excited about seeing his little face! Meeting this little guy that’s been kicking me so much. After everything I had been through whilst pregnant with him, I wanted so badly to hold him in my arms and welcome him into the world.  


mothers hands are guided down to her newborns head as he is birthed via cesarean
mothers hands are guided to grab her newborns shoulders as he is birthed via cesarean
mothers hands are helped to pull her newborn up to her chest as he is birthed via cesarean
mothers pulls her newborn up to her chest as her son is birthed via cesarean
mother clutches her newborn to her chest as her son has just been birthed via cesarean

Was your experience as you had thought it would be or different? 


It was all I thought it would be and more! It was the best experience of my life! I would definitely do a MAC birth again, it was so important for my bonding. I feel very close to my son and so glad I was involved in his birth in some way. 


Mother prepars to have her newborn placed on her chest after he has been checked

What was the most surprising part?


How light he was - he was as light as a feather to me as I pulled him out. He didn’t make a lot of noise - as he lay on my chest he was quiet, a little too quiet so after a few moments he was reviewed by the paediatrician – that’s when I heard him cry! 


Describe the feeling when you brought your baby to your chest? 


The overwhelming feeling of love was instant. Pride. Shock! And awe. He was finally here earth side. He was absolutely perfect. I couldn’t believe I made him! It was instant unconditional love. 


mother clutches her newborn to her chest after he was born maternal assisted cesarean
mother clutches her newborn to her chest as he looks at the camera after he was born maternal assisted cesarean
mother clutches her newborn to her chest and looks up to her own mother after he was born maternal assisted cesarean

What were some of your reactions to seeing your gallery? 


Just absolute amazement - and it helped me remember little things like when my sons hand touched my lips, when I looked at my mother with some concern. I was in awe of the surgical photos - I was able to see a side of the birth that was visibly hidden at the time. 

Was there something in particular that stood out to you or surprised you?

Yes - after my son was in my arms - I was no longer scared of the surgery or concerned of my numb legs - it was all about him and I knew my life had just changed forever for the better. I didn’t know I could love so completely till that moment. 


new mother gets help to breastfeed her newborn
new mother snuggles with her newborn
friend leans over to give new mother a kid of congratulations as she looks down at her newborn baby

If you're interested in having your birth journey documented, you can get in touch with me here or if you're still unsure and have some questions, just do the same and ask away – can’t wait to hear from you!

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