Skin to Skin Contact for Every Baby and Every Birth.
8 years ago I had my first emergent Cesarean birth. My delivery ended with a 3 hour separation from my baby. I awoke in the recovery room alone, no nurse, no husband, and no baby. I was pretty naïve as to the rights and options I had as a mother with my first child, but 6 years later I knew exactly how my birth story would go. With my second baby I was practicing hypnobirthing and striving for a VBAC. I made it to 7 centimeters and started bleeding. My 2 midwives confirmed my trial of labor was over and I was wheeled back to the operating room. Once again, the curtain went up, and after delivery my baby was swaddled and handed off to my husband. He then held her up against my cheek. I lay there longing to hold her in my arms, but this time our outcome was different, we were never completely separated and I was able to hold her within 30 minutes. I was awake and alert; a much better experience than the 3 hours I lost with my son.
I believe a woman’s body is made to have a natural, un-medicated birth; however, this is not always achievable. I know there are times, due to medical circumstance, history of a previous cesarean, or even a mother’s right to choose, that a surgical birth can happen. These moms (myself included) need a voice. Our standard of practice in the hospital has to change. Mothers and babies cannot be separated after delivery unless it is medically indicated. Even then, these interventions should be few and far between. We need to focus on the fact that Skin to Skin contact is the easy solution for all parties involved. This practice is best for moms, babies, and medical staff. Skin to Skin stabilizes baby’s vital signs, protects her immune system, and increases mom’s milk production. Most importantly, baby feels safe and secure in a parent’s arms, increasing oxytocin levels (the love hormone) and enabling families to bond right away. But this well researched practice is not happening for every birth, especially for moms with Cesarean births, and this is not acceptable.
I have come to peace with my birth stories but I know it can still be better and different for other moms. I have met too many mothers who wanted a natural or vaginal birth, yet this was not the outcome. Instead of feeling that a piece of their birth story is missing, they can feel whole and connected by the cascade of hormones and bonding that ensues when baby is placed upon their body during the surgery. This is the safest place for baby to be. This is their new home.
I am an advocate for all mothers. My mission, and my dream, is to encourage every mom to trust her instincts, listen to her body, embrace her power and own her birth. I want moms, regardless of method of birth, to be treated equally and to know they have rights, no matter how their baby is delivered.
I am now part of a team who implements Skin to Skin care in the Operating Room at Lutheran Medical Center outside of Denver, Colorado. My hospital helps moms and babies to experience Family Centered Cesareans and strives to make the operating room a more natural and loving environment. In conjunction with this, my husband and I have created a line of Skin to Skin clothing to assist in these processes. The name of our company is Hudlo, after our two amazing kids: Hudson and Harlow. We have created a Skin to Skin Shirt which can be worn in the operating room during and immediately after Cesarean surgery to facilitate Skin to Skin. We have also designed the first true Skin to Skin baby carrier for infants that allows mom and baby to experience hands free Skin to Skin all day long.
Please help to bring Skin to Skin to every baby and every birth by supporting Hudlo in our mission. To donate to our crowd-funding campaign and bring our Skin to Skin clothing to more families, please visit: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/hudlo-skin-to-skin-baby-carrier.