Your baby, your way: A creative story of natural birth
Ashley Logsdon never thought she would have an emergency c-section. A self-proclaimed “granola girl” who loves being outdoors, she planned to have a natural birth. But once she was in labor with her first child, her plans had to change. The baby, Clara, was positioned the wrong way in the birth canal. No matter how hard Logsdon pushed, Clara wouldn’t budge. When her heart rate started to drop, Logsdon and her doctors immediately opted for an emergency c-section.
“I was disappointed,” Logsdon said, “But thankful to have a healthy child.”
The mother of three also tried to give birth naturally with her second child, Ellie, but she again needed an emergency c-section.
When she became pregnant with her third child, Logsdon knew she would have a c-section once more. However, she still wanted to bring baby Juliet into the world in the most natural, family-centered way possible.
“The older I’ve gotten and the more kids I’ve had, the more I’ve wanted to go back to a natural lifestyle,” she said. “But when it came to Jules, as much as I wanted an all-natural birth, I also wanted a healthy baby and a healthy mommy.”
So, with support from her husband, Nathan, Logsdon started to research options for her third c-section. She hoped to find ways to bring mother-child bonding back into the process, while still having a safe, pain-free surgery.
After reading about “family-centered” c-sections designed to celebrate the beauty of childbirth, Logsdon broached the issue with her obstetrician, unsure what the response would be. She was thrilled when Dr. Nicole Schlechter, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baptist Hospital, agreed to help.
“As providers, sometimes we get into this pattern of ‘just another day, just another delivery,’” Schlechter said. “But it’s not just another delivery to the mother - it’s her delivery. I wanted Ashley to have the best experience possible.”
Together, Logsdon and her doctor laid out a birth plan. In a normal c-section, ECG dots are placed on the mother’s chest to monitor her vitals, and a curtain is placed above her abdomen so she does not have to watch the surgery. But for Logsdon, the medical team put the ECG dots on her back, so her chest would be free to hold her daughter. They also agreed to drop the curtain once Juliet’s head emerged, so Logsdon could see her being delivered.
Other changes to the normal c-section procedure included “walking” Juliet out of the womb slowly and waiting for the umbilical cord to stop pulsing before clamping it. “Walking” the baby out would allow the fluid to be squeezed from her lungs, similar to what happens in a vaginal delivery. Waiting to clamp the umbilical cord is considered beneficial because it allows more blood and nutrients to be transferred to the newborn.
For Logsdon, introducing these small changes refocused the surgery from an impersonal procedure to the beautiful experience she desired. On the day Juliet was born, Logsdon and her husband arrived in the operating room and met everyone on the medical team. The atmosphere in the room was relaxed and joyful. As soon as Juliet was delivered, the nurse placed her on Logsdon’s chest, allowing for skin-to-skin contact and that special moment Logsdon had been waiting for.
“It helped me so much to be more involved in the process,” she said. “It didn’t feel like a surgery, then. Changing just a few parts made me feel like I got the same experience as other mothers. That bonding experience is so special – no matter how they come out!”