My Gentle C-Section

By guest blogger Amanda

Seventeen days ago I gave birth to our fourth child, second son. Zackery Galloway was born February 28, 2014 weighing 6lbs 11oz. He came into the world via a cesarean section. A gentle c-section. First time I heard of this was shortly after conceiving Zackery. I came across a YouTube video ( ) I cried. I never realized that my birth could be anything more than a typical c-section.

10014086_712138865483322_1777146835_oFirst time holding one of my babies immediately. 


Back in 2008 I had a traumatic birth. ( ) In 2009 and 2011 I had repeat c-sections. Shortly after my third child, my husband and I started to change the way we thought about things. From our food, vaccinations, parenting, etc. So, in preparing myself for our fourth child, for the first time I was really disappointed in the way he would be birthed. I obviously would LOVE a vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean.) If I could I would home birth my children! But with my first birth we never got a definite, for sure, reason on why it happened the way it did. I couldn’t bring myself to really commit to a vbac. Too much had happened to me and my daughter. And though “it is my body,” our children are OUR children and my husband could not get on board either. I can’t blame him, he thought he was losing both of us that day.

After researching more, I knew I needed this type of a c-section. I needed to have a healing birth for myself. I printed off articles from hospitals across the country that already did gentle c-sections. I put them all in a folder with my birth plan and headed to my Dr. appointment. When I brought it up to him and gave him my folder he said, “absolutely not, I am not the dr. for you.” Said that it couldn’t work because of staffing and sterile field. I bawled in his office. Begged him to just take a look and he finally said he would do his due diligence. I left the office knowing he was going to come back with a “no way, still still not doing it.” I found a Dr in Phoenix, 3 hrs away that had done a gentle cesarean. Called him and he agreed that he would do it for me but the timing had to be perfect since I was coming this far away. Fast forward a month and I was headed back to my Dr, ready to say, “it’s ok, I found a Dr. that would do it, thanks for nothing.” To my surprise, he said he WOULD do it. Problem now was convincing hospital staff to do it. I went through the rest of pregnancy ready for this gentle c-section but not trusting that it would happen the way I wanted. Something was going to go wrong and I would end up with a regular ol’ cesarean. Around month 8, I went with my friend to meet with the head nurse of the labor and delivery department. I showed her my birth plan and she said she would talk to those that needed to be talked to. A couple weeks later, I got a call from her, saying that everyone was on board!! Baby had to come on scheduled day though or none of the key staff would be there. NO pressure. I had been having contractions on and off since 30 weeks!

Last couple weeks of my pregnancy was so uncomfortable. I was having back labor and was slightly dilated and thinning. I was ready for him to come! He stayed right where he was until February 28th, my scheduled day, at 39 weeks. I planned to sleep in that morning until 8 or 9 since my appointment was not until noon. But , of course I was up at 5, showered, hair done, make up done, and ready to go at 8! I took a little nap, woke up and we headed in.

I still had my doubts as we headed to the hospital. When we got there, the nurse said,” oh hello, you are the one everyone is talking about! We are all so excited for this!” Such a relief to hear that! I figured with all my requests and wants that the nurses would be mad that they had to go out of their way to do this for me! Went into the OR. They did the spinal, hubby came in and we were minutes away from meeting our newest family member! I laid there anticipating what would come next. The nurse dropped the cloth once they got his head out and I watched our son come into the world! For the first time ever, I got to see one of our children be born! Was able to put a face to the little cry instead of just hearing it somewhere on the other side of the drape. He was immediately handed to a nurse who brought him to me. For the first time ever I was handed one of our children, slimy and wet, and was able to place him on my chest, skin to skin. I got to smell his sweet smell and feel his warmth. He was crying when he came to me. Within seconds from reaching my chest, he reached his little hand out, touched my face and stopped crying. I thought something was wrong with him. The nurse assured me that he was perfect and that babies who have skin to skin immediately react like that. Sad that I didn’t know that.

My husband and I were able to both enjoy his first moments together. He was even able to cut his cord which he hadn’t been able to do with any other baby. Zackery remained on my chest the whole time in the OR. Stayed on my chest as we were wheeled to recovery. Latched in recovery and nursed for 45 minutes. Stayed on my chest as we were wheeled to our room. Never left me. It was amazing. Less than twelve hours later I was up and moving around. Twenty six hours after delivery our son received his first bath. My husband and I bathed him for the first time! Another first for me! My whole recovery has been easier than the last three and I can guarantee that it is because I feel so much better about the birth.

1899502_712137632150112_347546237_oWelcome to the world Z!

Zackery’s birth was far from perfect compared to the natural way a baby is supposed to come to the world. Far from perfect in the eyes of a lot of people I am sure. But it was more than perfect to me! It was worth every second of the fight to get what I wanted.

1556353_712138558816686_524530257_oBringing him to me.

I owe a huge THANK YOU to my husband for supporting me, loving me and wanting what is best for our children. Also for having so much trust in me and for taking some sweet pictures during the delivery! Thank you to my Mama for listening to me every time I called worried it wouldn’t go as planned and for coming out and helping to take care of me and the kiddos. Thank you to Tracee for the many trips to Labor and Delivery for a check, just to be sent home and for the many times she sat there and googled away with me to find information! I received so much encouragement and support from so many people and I appreciate it all!


About Abby Theuring

Abby Theuring
The Badass Breastfeeder is a mother, writer, social worker, attachment parent, proud breastfeeder and advocate. Her career as a social worker has shown her that gentle and connected parenting is vital for life-long emotional health. You can find her blog at and Facebook page at

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  1. Avatar

    At what hospital did this take place? I am in Tucson and see that you are three hours from Phoenix. I am wondering if you gave birth in Tucson or somewhere else in Arizona.

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    Wow, I am in tears!! I am 23 and when I was 20 I had surgery to remove a uterine septum. The doctor perforated my uterus and because of that I will not be able to go into active labor or have a vaginal birth. This is something I have been struggling with because I have always dreamed of having a natural birth (I’m the type that knew at the age of 5 that all I wanted in life was to be a mother). I am so glad to have read your experience and I now have so much hope that I can have this experience one day!
    Thank you!!

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    This is beautiful. I had a VBAC and it was so different from my C. I’m forwarding your story to my friend who is a VBAC activist. Because this is such a lovely intermediate option for someone like you who, after 3 C sections, is probably a riskier VBAC candidate than someone who’s had one C. I’m so happy for you that you got this experience.

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    I just had my second c-section in December. I’ve never heard this gentle c-section term, but I am familiar with some of the aspects. I tried asking my Dr about holding the baby immediately in the OR (after reading about others doing this) and he said that would not be possible. I was bummed, but one of the nurses kept pulling back the curtain so I could watch him while they finished the surgery, and hubby brought him over so I could touch him and look at him. They handed him to me before wheeling me out and, thanks to be hospital policies, I was able to keep him with me the entire time in recovery. He latched on beautifully the first time and nursed for a good long time – I was ecstatic! This was much better than the first one 4 years ago, when I only got to hold him for a few minutes before they had to take him away. Even though I was able to try to nurse in recovery that time, with the time limit we didn’t get to really try and I think that’s why I had so many issues with nursing that first time. There was a huge difference this time after being able to nurse freely in recovery without a limit. Our hospital doesn’t even have a nursery anymore. All babies room with the mom 24/7 and the docs come to the room for everything. They’ll even bathe (or let you bathe) baby in the room. So wish I could’ve held him immediately, but overall I feel like I had a much better experience this time.

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    I am very inspired by your story. I am currently planning a VBAC but of course I am scared of the risks. I would love a copy of your birth plan if you still have it!

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    Would you please provide the name of the doctor in Phoenix? I have placenta previa and would like a gentle c-section. Unfortunately, my current doctor and I have very different philosophies.

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    Please do share your birth plan and your backup articles!

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    I usually don’t comment on any posts but I had to on this one! I shed a few tears remembering my first birth a few months ago to our precious baby girl. She was breeched for first and i had really wanted a normal birth. After alot of research and Google’ing I found the gentle cesarean too. Believe me i thought nobody was going to accept it Dr hospital etc. I live Turkey where cesarean is used 90% of the time even if everything is ok! Much to my surprise it was a go and needless to say I will never forget the little bundle the dr put on my chest I watched her search for my breast and latch on for the rest of the surgery. I came across protests from the nurse when i didn’t give her to be brought to the room, told the nurse “she’s mine you can’t take her” in turkish obviously :) then we were both brought to our room on the gurney. Definitely do your research because every mother deserves a beautiful end to pregnancy and a new beginning. Much love

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    This made me cry. My first birth was very traumatic as well. Though still ended in a vaginal birth but this made me feel so much better about next time. Thank you. Beautiful story.

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    I would love to be sent Amanda’s “folder” of research about this type of C-section, where it is performed, and the benefits of it. I work in a labor and delivery unit and would like to see if it is something viable that we could introduce into our practice.

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    Yes please! If you could possibly share some of your birth plan, and maybe some of your sources that you used? I am up for another cesarean, and would love this.

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    you had me in tears reading this. This, this is exactly what I want with my next child. My first child I was told the night before would be brought in by C-section. I never had time to do my research and understand what would happen. I was a first time mom and very uneducated. Now I look back, and wish I had done things differently. Now that I know more and am more educated I want this exact birth for my second child.

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    As a doula and huge advocate for mother centered care, could you post the information you gave your Dr? I would love to have this for my clients to use when advocating for better scenarios.

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    I didn’t have a horror story for my first child like you but I did have my own little nightmare. I had to have an emergency c-section and everything turned out good but like in the referenced article (, I felt like a failure and an inadequate mother, largely due to the struggles I experienced with breastfeeding.

    I watched the YouTube video and I cried. If/When I get pregnant again, I am hoping to have a planned c-section and if this can be an option for me, I would think it would be the most precious experience! Thank you for sharing your story, good and bad experiences.

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    I was wondering if you might be able to share some of your birth plan? Like you I am expecting baby #4, c-section #4, but my ideas on things have changed since #3 was born. I’d love to have an experience like you did!

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    That was beautiful! It brought tears to my eyes as I remembered that amazing feeling of having my sweet babies on my chest after delivery. I’m so glad you got to have that experience as well! Hopefully, more mamas will read this and get the opportunity to have this experience as well, if that is their desire.

    Good job and Congrats on the new baby!!

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