Have you ever seen an OR room with the lights turned off? Everything put away in its place? All is clean and sterile? All is quiet? Empty…?
I must confess that in my own experience I had never seen it happen. I am sure it is the case; an ordinary occurrence for the staff of the hospitals. But for me, my view of an OR has been quite different.
When I visualize an OR, it is bright, filled with people, lots of noises, and it is very cold. You often see more of the ceiling than you do of the floor, or even the surrounding walls. The color of blue scrubs and screens fill one’s view.
And yet…there was the night the OR went dark.
It was a late night supporting a client that needed baby delivered in a hurry. Everyone was prepped, mom was taken in, baby made her arrival, and mom slowly rejoined the conscious world as she felt her baby on her chest.
I notice over my shoulder that staff were finishing up in the OR. Everything prepared for the next possible surgery and then they left and turned off the lights. Darkness…Rest….Still
In a society where almost 1 in 3 births are via cesarean delivery, it was comforting to think that instead of assuming there would be another delivery soon, an attitude of expectant management was being taken.
As a doula and childbirth educator there is a fine line of preparation for my clients for the possibility of cesarean deliveries. While doula support can reduce the risk of cesarean birth, and making educated choices throughout pregnancy and labor can lead to more positive outcomes; the odds truly are not in your favor to assume you are without risk.
So what can you do? I suggest one views cesarean birth as what it was truly meant to be: An alternative form of birth used when the vaginal birth route is truly not the safer option. Even the World Health Organization recognizes the value of the procedure, suggesting the more realistic need of cesareans to be around 10-15%.
What this also means is pursuing other options in labor to help its natural progression and method of delivery. Patience in doctors, compassion in nurses, knowledgeable support of the doula, non-judgmental support of society of how a woman chooses to birth, and confidence in a woman’s ability to birth all combine with modern medicine and midwifery care to promote these ideal outcomes.
Our society is not yet to the point where this is the case for every birth. Until then, I will continue to do my part as a doula and childbirth educator to make sure there are more nights where the Operating Room can go dark.
Gracious Hands Doula Services
Leah Garner CD(DONA) PCD(DONA) BEC