I helped a new mom perform skin to skin in the operating room recently. What an experience!
Mom had to have a scheduled cesarean section, and she asked if I could be there to help. It was an honor to be part of watching a new life emerge and seeing him gaze into his mother’s eyes for the first time. Even though a C-section wasn’t how Mom had imagined meeting her son, it was still a special moment as we placed him on her chest and helped her hold him close while her surgery was completed.
What struck me most about the operating room was how calm, relaxed, and positive everyone was. The circulating nurse made sure Mom was comfortable, reassured Dad and kept track of the procedure. The attending physician stayed with Mom during the prep, explained everything we were doing and bantered with the scrub tech about how much the baby would weigh. We don’t weigh babies until after their first hour with mom, so we had plenty of time to make our estimates.
From the anesthesiologist who explained things to Dad, to the second-year resident who made baby weight estimates with the rest of us, the atmosphere wasn’t formal. The procedure was conducted according to set quality and safety guidelines, but the tone and the message to the new parents were, “This is your birth experience. We want to make it the very best for you, as you welcome your little one to the world.”
Skin to skin in the operating room isn’t possible for everyone, but I’m glad UK HealthCare allows us to make this happen whenever we can. For moms who have to deliver by C-seciton, being able to still have that first special hour with their infants is wonderful.
Diana Frankenburger is the Childbirth Education Coordinator for UK HealthCare.