When we spotted a beautiful image of a c-section birth in the International Birth Photography Awards winners, we knew we had to find out more, so we tracked the photographer and mum-in-question down.
The image – by Perth photographer Belle Verdiglione – spectacularly captured a gorgeous baby’s first moments out of the womb.
Not only is this baby’s arrival something special to behold, it’s a privilege to witness a c-section birth, even if it is from afar.
These amazing images capture this tiny miracle so beautifully and the mother in question, Em, tells her birth story pretty perfectly too. Catch a glimpse into a c-section birth and prepare to be awe-struck.
Here’s Em’s “gentle C-section” story, in her own words…
I spoke with my obstetrician about my wishes. He respected them all. I wanted a nurturing and supportive environment. This meant we had a playlist of music and there was limited talking and a gentle ambience. As our baby entered the world no one uttered a single word. In that moment the clock stopped, the world stopped spinning and I held my breath. For the first time, I watched in silence and marvelled at this amazing human, this beautiful baby I was birthing right there on the operating table.
I wanted to feel like I was giving birth, not having surgery. This meant I watched our baby’s head being delivered. Our obstetrician agreed to deliver our baby’s head, then stand back so our baby could star to breath on it’s own. This essentially meant we could delay the cord clamping without the baby’s body being cold. I can’t even begin to describe what I felt watching our baby lie on my stomach, seemingly asleep! It was the most beautiful, raw, magical and amazing experience I could have ever imagined. And Belle captured it perfectly.
A fresh perspective
I wanted to own this birth and this long and emotional journey. This meant I wanted to do things differently. For the first time, we opted to not find out the gender of our baby during the pregnancy. It was so special; once the rest of the body was delivered that we were able to discover (Ourselves! As we’d asked for no announcement) that we had a son.
As “natural” as possible
I wanted this birth to feel “natural”. This meant my left hand was cannulated (as I’m right handed) and my chest was free of wires. I bought a baby blanket during my pregnancy and slept with it each night. Once our baby was born, he was immediately placed on my chest for skin on skin contact and covered with the blanket that smelt just like me. It also meant he was able to be in contact with my micro biomes, rather than the hospital’s, or the paediatrician who’d normally be holding him and checking him over.
I wanted my baby to have the benefits of a vaginal birth. This meant that whilst I couldn’t give birth vaginally, we could still have a gentle delivery with no forceps and delayed cord clamping followed by milking the cord. We also opted to ‘seed’ our baby so he had the opportunity to be exposed to greater levels and various types of beneficial bacteria that would more closely mimic the bacteria of a vaginal born baby. For me, the process of seeding began as a scientific and medical decision, however it was also symbolic and I could feel the wounds healing as I watched my husband gently swab my son’s face.
I wanted to have some control of my body and what happened to it. This meant that I chose to have my placenta encapsulated. My placenta was dried, ground into a powder and then placed in capsules. As I took the pills each day I felt my hormones balancing and my oxytocin flowing, and slowly, the injuries my spirit had encountered from my previous births began to heal.
If you’d like to see more beautiful births: