Lyz Evans delivered her third child via a maternal-assisted cesarean section (MAC).
MACs are the same as a typical C-section, except moms lift their baby out of their womb themselves.
Evans said her experience was empowering, and hopes other mothers can soon have this option.
Lyz Evans first heard of a maternal-assisted cesarean years ago, on social media.
The post "stuck in the back of my mind as something really interesting," Evans told Insider.
Maternal-assisted cesareans (MAC), are like typical cesarean deliveries, with one notable difference: Instead of a doctor lifting the baby out, the pregnant person lifts their baby out of their womb, and then places the baby onto their chest for immediate skin-to-skin contact.
So when Evans, a pelvic health physiotherapist in Sydney, Australia, became pregnant with her third child in 2021, she petitioned to have a maternal-assisted C-section herself.
Evans previously had a vaginal delivery with her first child, and a regular cesarean section with her second child. For her third pregnancy, Evans loved the idea of being the first person to hold her newborn. "I thought, you know, why can't I have this?" Evans told Insider.
Maternal-assisted cesareans may create a more intimate birthing experience
While MACs are gaining traction in Australia, according to The Guardian, some new parents are opting for the procedure in the US as well.
One mother in Lakeville, Minnesota, had a MAC in May 2022, according to Fox 9. The mother, Elizabeth Andreyevskiy, was the first person to do the procedure at St. Paul's Mother-Baby Center.
According to The Guardian, benefits of MACs can include delayed cord clamping, which can help prevent anemia in babies, and exposing the newborn to their mother's microbiome, which some researchers think may improve early childhood development.
It can also be an empowering experience for mothers, said Evans.
Regular C-sections can feel "like your body's not yours," Evans said. Between the epidural, which numbs the lower half of your body, and the privacy drape, which obscures your view of the surgery "it's just like, that is my body, but I can't even see what they're doing to it," Evans told Insider.
Meanwhile, a MAC allows mothers "to go into a birth feeling like they're more a part of the process — that they actually have a say," Evans said.
But there are risks too — most critically, bacteria getting into the open cavity of the body when the mother reaches down to pull up her newborn, according to The Guardian. Accidental contamination could result in an infection.
In 2021, the Government of Western Australia released a memo stating that although hospitals were getting increased requests for the procedure, the government health service was not recommending it because local hospitals had difficulty keeping the mother's hands sterile.
On the day of delivery, Evans felt "incredibly excited"
During Evans' first cesarean section, Evans said she was surprised by how "cold and clinical it felt."
But this time, Evans felt prepared and "incredibly excited" for the MAC. "The whole vibe in the room was just this incredible one of complete excitement and anticipation."
Just like her first cesarean section, Evans asked doctors to remove the drape that would normally obscure the view of the surgery. She also asked doctors to tilt the light that hung above her so she could watch them as they cut through her lower abdomen.
Very quickly, it was time for Evans to reach down and pull up her daughter. She cupped her hands under her daughter's armpits, gently lifting her out and onto her chest.
"That moment of reaching down to pull my daughter out was one of the most incredible moments and made it all worth it," Evans said. "I was really the first one to touch my daughter, to pull her out into the world."
Evans hopes other mothers have the same option one day
Evans said that her MAC was, in some ways, even more intimate than her first vaginal delivery. During her first delivery, an obstetrician lifted her firstborn out. But during her MAC, Evans got to do it herself.
But Evans noted that her MAC still felt like a cesarean, and nothing like a vaginal birth. Unlike a vaginal birth, there's no laboring or the "rollercoaster" of emotions that comes with it, she said.
Her MAC, like her first cesarean section, still felt "surgical."
But Evans left completely satisfied with her MAC. "I just feel so grateful that I was able to have that really positive birth experience that completed my birthing journey as a mother," Evans said. "I feel like it really did propel me into that postnatal period so happy and fulfilled."
Read the original article on Insider