Monday, March 9, 2015

NPR: The Untold Story

So, the long awaited NPR story about my Family Centered (aka: Gentle) Cesarean aired this morning.

(If you missed it, you can find it here:

 First I have to say that Jennifer Schmidt the journalist who interviewed us and wrote/recorded the story did a fantastic job of incorporating both the medical perspective and the personal, emotional perspective of this story. She's clearly a fantastic journalist, and we're honored she's the one who told our story.

But as is the nature of radio, the story had to be told in a specified amount of time. In this case, 6 minutes and 39 seconds. And so, a lot of the story has been left out.

First of all, my husband never made an appearance in the story other than being mentioned as the one who recorded Connor's birth and thus allowed for the amazing audio of Connor being born to be aired around the world. But my husband, Matthew Caminiti, did not just record the birth. He helped make this baby (clearly!!)! The story wouldn't have happened without him. He held my hand in the OR as they put in my spinal. He held my hand with one of his throughout the c-section and video taped with my Iphone with the other. (Yeah, we didn't ask for permission to do that. But this was my last birth, and the first family centered one for our family, and our hospital. There was NO WAY we weren't videoing it!) He saw my son with me for the first time. We saw him be born TOGETHER. He reached over and put his arms around both of us seconds after Connor was placed on my chest. And yes, he took that amazing picture (above) that graced the main page of all throughout the day on March 9, 2014. The one in which you can see the awe and immense love on my face as Connor's sweet face is squished against mine. It is my most favorite picture. And it wouldn't be if Matt hadn't been there to take it.

During our interview with Jennifer Schmidt, Matt shared with her how much it meant to him that he didn't have to leave me behind in the OR to go be with our baby, as he had when our two older sons were born. He talked about how he never realized how long I was left in the OR without him. With our two older sons he was in the recovery room with a newborn. He watched  them be weighed for the first time. He saw them being cleaned up and wrapped in a blanket for the first time. He saw all these things and so time went quickly for him. But even so, he was left feeling apart from me. And with Connor's birth we experienced it all together. I got to see my husband hold our sweet baby for the first time. I'd never seen that before. There were no "firsts" on Connor's birthday that we didn't experience together and that is pretty amazing and something for which we are so grateful.

Anne Arundel Medical Center chose to use the name I used when asking for this type of c-section: A Family Centered Cesarean. It wouldn't have been family centered if Matt weren't at the center of it with me.

Now, to respond to some of the comments left on the website:

For those that keep pointing out that C-sections should not be chosen and that vaginal births are preferable, etc. Yes, yes, and yes. I completely agree. My oldest son was truly stuck. I would have been one of the unfortunate women who would have died in child birth, along with her baby had I not been born in an age of medical advancement that allows for c-sections. Would I have liked to avoid major surgery? Yes, of course. With my second son, I had hoped for a VBAC, and it didn't happen. With my third, I wasn't willing to risk a uterine rupture after already having 2 c-sections so a scheduled c-section it was. Connor was born at 40 weeks (I refused to schedule the c-section before my due date, and my OB was on board) and he came out perfect and in an amazing way.

To those pointing out that no one should feel like less of a woman, mother, or person because they had a c-section vs. a vaginal birth. I hear you! I didn't feel that way at all. I never really thought much about it. Sure, it would have been interesting to experience a more natural birth, but I didn't really give it a second thought. That is, until I saw a video a friend of mine posted on Facebook of "Natural c-sections" being done in England. This video:

After seeing that, I knew it was something that could be safely done, and thus, there was no reason not to try for it. So, I did. You can read in more depth here and here about the extensive planning that went into making the Family Centered C-section Matt and I experienced with Connor happen. So, I didn't seek out this type of c-section because I felt lacking in any way. But once I saw it I thought, "That's amazing! Why wouldn't I want that?"

But, as you heard in the NPR story some women do feel that they really missed out on something. My friend, Valerie Echo Duckett, featured at the beginning of this story did feel that way (yes, I know her. Yes, I connected the journalist to her). Her c-section was much more traumatic than mine. She didn't even remember most of it. I can understand her feeling the way she did. I'm sad she felt that way. And if I can in some small way help other moms to never, ever feel the way Echo did, then I have achieved something pretty amazing and exciting. That is the sole reason why I have agreed to do all of this PR stuff about our story. Yes, its mine, and Connor, and Matt's story. But it is a story that can help other women. And so, I want to spread the story far and wide.

Lastly, no one, certainly not me, is saying that this type of birth is preferable, or the best, or something all women should strive for. But what I am saying, is that if options can be offered to patients that are safe for mother and baby, then they should be. Women should feel empowered and informed throughout their child birthing experience. Patients in a medical setting in general should feel empowered and informed. They should be given choices. They should be involved in decisions. I am honored and grateful that I had so many wonderful people involved in my pregnancy and delivery. Dr. Marcus Penn and Betsey Snow are two amazing medical professionals to whom I will be forever grateful. They allowed my husband and I to fully experience the birth of our youngest son together. They made it possible for me to be the first person, other than the OB to touch my son. These are things that were important to us. It may not be important to everyone. But when it is, and when it is safe, it should be a choice that should be given to all women and their partners.

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