treated a baby (and Mom) who was born via C-section today

I have permission from my friend to share a little about her experience today.  No names so her identity will remain anonymous.  [And by the way, I am not a doctor.  I do not claim to be able to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any disease or conditions!  If you have medical questions, you should speak with a licensed practitioner.  And doctors have phenomenal training in the biomedical model and treating pathophysiology issues and delivering babies.  And there might be room for improvement as well.]

I learned a lot in Canada during the PPN (pre- and perinatal psychology / birth process) training.  And of course I realized that I have a lot more to learn as well.  Sometimes though it is funny how my brain works – it is as if I have a little super-man sitting on my shoulder saying, “Hey – you have discovered all 8 steps to treating babies.  You can name them all.  You obviously know what you are doing!”  {by the way, 8 is an arbitrary number there – just using it as an example.}

And then I get in there and give a treatment and have to call my teachers because 10x more questions arose than I could answer!  And I desperately need a debrief!  Minds are funny sometimes.  So no I don’t fully know what I’m doing.  But yes my intuition is extremely sharp and yes I have learned many tools for treating adults and kids and babies.  And I have some knowledge.  But I have a ton more to learn!

I honestly cannot believe how cold and distant and harsh and ignorant hospitals can be.  Not all hospitals.  (And yes, this is a nursing student saying this.  However I am an extremely well-educated nursing student when it comes to Emotional Quotient – I have done more than a decade of work around educating my heart to be more kind to self and other, to have more clarity, to have authentic compassion for self and other and to speak my truth to power.  And I have done a great deal of birth process work on myself with authentic mentors and coaches and teachers.)

In treating my friend, who recently gave birth via C-section, I got to see how little some doctors know about trauma and how to prevent trauma and how to resolve trauma if it occurs.  We have to educate them!  I feel like I am almost ready to be that person to provide trainings for them, but I don’t have enough credentials after my name.

I intend to go through my treatment of my friend and what she said about how the birth was and where I feel like it, I will say, the doctors did well and here’s where they could improve.

She went in for a check up because her due date was the following day – she was huge and she was ready for the contractions to start and she wanted to have a natural birth.  Vaginal birth.  During the check up, of course they did an ultrasound (which may not be necessary by the way – a good mid wife can determine which way the baby is oriented without the high pitch ultrasound which has been shown to hurt baby’s ears).  And the baby had turned breech – feet down.  So they basically did not give her an option.  They said they needed to do a C-section within the next few hours.  She did not have a doula.  She did not have a midwife.  She had not done any research about her options.

Yes, breech birth can be dangerous.  But some midwives specialize in doing breech births and those births are successful.  And more importantly perhaps, is that some midwives (or even some OBGYN’s) have learned how to work with the baby to turn.  It might have an hour or two, but they could tried!  [Full disclosure, I don’t know if there were any other reasons for her having a C-section.  Her primary language is Spanish, so her husband was translating some of our conversation.]

Let me call a pause right there and let that sink in.  Here was my friend, excited about and anticipating having a natural vaginal birth and suddenly she has just an hour or two before she will be drugged (epidural – needle in her spine) and cut open, having the baby pulled right out of her.  That is scary shit.  And if you unpack all the layers, there might even be some anger deep down there towards the medical system for letting you down.  And if not anger, then guilt might arise because she was so attached to the idea of pushing and having a natural labor and delivery.  So, we might want to pause for a long time and unpack all these layers…  But she didn’t have that option.

So she had one to two hours to prepare for a major surgery that she did not expect to need to have.  Let me just repeat, that is scary shit.  And it has also been shown that fear closes down the pelvis – meaning that even if a good midwife had been with her, after the doctors told her about needing a section, there would be even less of a chance of having a successful breech birth.

They did not give her a choice.  Her English is not good so I don’t think she asked any questions or expressed her needs.  She needed a birth advocate.  Really.

Therefore, instead of trying to work with the baby first, knowing that she had a C-section.  I asked if I could work with her first.  She asked me if that was really necessary, saying that she was pretty much fine.  And I said, let me just put my hands on your arm and listen for a few minutes.

So she lay down.  I have a bit of training with Kathy Kaine’s Touch Skills for Therapists (Trauma Resolution).  I also have a lot of training doing emotional process oriented bodywork via Craniosacral Therapy, Zapchen Somatics and Process Buddhism.  So if you ask me exactly what modality I was using, I would say primarily the trauma resolution piece and it was also informed by the different layers of primary respiration (what tides of cerebrospinal fluid movement was she in?).

It did not take long to start “working.”  I was holding her forearm, and after checking on the contact – was it comfortable, etc, I started listening to her skin with the proprioceptors in my hands and fingers.

Within about 3 to 5 minutes, there was a definite sensation that I felt as outside person – it was gritty and big and scary and rough and it was almost like she was being bullied by something.  I asked her if she noticed anything.

She said yes!  She wondered if I was pulling something out of her.  I said it was mainly her body doing the healing.  In truth, I definitely wasn’t pulling anything out of her into me!  I was just a coach and a container and a compassionate, unconditionally caring witness.

She said it felt weird and scary.  I said that sounded about right.  She said (that in spite of my only holding her forearm) that it felt like something was being pulled out of the wound in her pelvis.  I felt that too.

That strange sensation lasted about 2 – 3 minutes.  Then I felt cold.  There was cold energy coming off of her skin.  I asked her about that.  And yes she said, why is it cold?

I asked, was it cold in the operating room and her husband said yes!  She was shivering a bit at times.  I think she was kept cold to keep the blood flow down.  I also said that terror and fear can lead to frozen tissue and that it was good that the cold energy was releasing.

After about 5 minutes of her releasing the cold energy, a new sensation arose.  The time numbness.  Again I asked her about this.  And yes, she said she noticed it.  I asked her how it was to be drugged.  She said that she couldn’t move properly for about 6 – 8 hours after the surgery.  I said the numbness might be the memory (or the actual) of the drug moving out of her system.

Then she finally relaxed more and said she felt warmth.  I let her sit with that for a few minutes (I wanted to purposely go slow.  To slow things down.  Because the surgery and the birth were probably way too fast).

Then I asked her how her digestion was.  She said not good.  I asked if I could put my hands on her belly.  Sure she said.

I listened for a few minutes and felt a few slow, sluggish spots in her digestion.  Then I remembered that Balancing the Sphincters – a quick technique I learned in Visceral Manipulation classes – might be good.

Checking her sphincters, I found that the second one – the Pyloric sphincter (from the stomach to the duodenum) was basically not moving.  Often times the digestion will be sluggish resulting in a sluggish sphincter, but I listened for a minute or two and no movement!  So I did the rebounding technique to reset it and sure enough.  A couple minutes later it was moving on its own again.  Yay!  Of course, due to the pain killing medication which probably had some narcotics (opioids) in it, that is a part of the reason her digestion would be disrupted.

She started to fall asleep during the treatment, so I figured that she had had enough.

In just 30 minutes of listening to her system, providing a safe space (container) for her body to release that traumatic memory, and occasionally explaining what I was doing, she released a lot!  But honestly we probably only went through 3 or 4 layers of trauma.  I’m sure there is more.

I must say that her surgery went splendidly.  I did not see the wound but hopefully it is healing well and hopefully the surgeon did a great job of stitching her up.  The doctors did a great job of assisting the baby be born.  And her husband was right there with her the entire time, so that was good for her to have an ally and friend in the room.

If the doctors had some training in trauma prevention or resolution (and if they had a well-trained midwife on premise) most of this work might not be necessary.

And of course I am looking forward to doing a debrief with my teachers about what I could have done better and how I can treat the baby for shock – treating mommy was relatively easy (because I am used to working with adults).  I am probably heading back over there to work with the baby in a week or two.

Thanks for reading!

~KM

Published by Kirby Moore

Kirby Moore is a healing facilitator based in the beautiful rolling hills of Charlottesville, Virginia. He does sessions in-person and long distance via Skype and Zoom, working with Spiritual Astrology, Somatic Experiencing, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy and Birth Process Work. His healing work is informed by fifteen years of meditation and Qigong practice. He works with client's intentions and deepest longings to attain clear, tangible results. Contact him for more info at (email): kirby [at] mkirbymoore [dot] com

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