The Birth of Walt | A Gentle Cesarean Birth at St. Vincent Women's / by Lynsey Mason

April is International Cesarean Month, and I was honored to have been invited into the OR for this special family and baby's birth. Below is their story: The birth of Walt. It includes infant loss, and raw and sometimes graphic images of a c-section.

I met a beautiful mama last Spring, who shared a soul-touching story to me. She and her husband had recently experienced the loss of their full-term baby boy, and even with her heart wide open, she had been one of the most uplifting women I had ever met. When she and her husband became pregnant again later that year, I was so excited. They were set to have their planned cesarean section early-mid March 2019.

Coming into birth work 4 years ago, I really had no idea the many different ways or reasons women and families can birth the way they do. This month honors c-sections, and I think that is fantastic! Most women do not choose to birth this way. Surgery is scary! And a lot of work is put into making sure mama and baby are safe and sound.

Shortly after this family's loss, they discovered she had a condition called "incompetent cervix". During her pregnancy with Walt, she underwent surgery held by her OBGYN to place a TAC (transabdominal cerclage). This meant that she would have to have her baby delivered via c-section when he was ready. She and her birth team coordinated over the last few weeks of her pregnancy to decide on a set date and time.

Even though cesareans are sometimes scheduled, Walt decided it was time to arrive about a week before then. It was an early Tuesday morning on March 5th as I drove to be with the family at the hospital. Once I had arrived, it was up in the air about whether I would be allowed into the OR. However, it was quickly decided that it would be okay if I stood in an unused area of the Operating Room to be able to document their story.

Walt was born within minutes after the incision, and gently carried over to the warmer, stopping along the way for mama to get a good first look at him. Her face was astonishing, seeing her beautiful baby boy face to face for the first time. Initially, Walt was having a bit of time adjusting to being outside of his mama's womb. His breathing was a little rapid, but with near immediate skin to skin after she was closed up, he was bright pink and ready to begin this new journey, on the outside.