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Necie Green
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Births at San Jacinto Methodist keep families together

Baytown, TX - 6/20/2013

When Colt McWhorter bounced into the world at 8 pounds, 15 ounces, there was something unique about his birth. Everything went according to plan and it was “textbook” as far as cesarean sections go. But the book is being rewritten at San Jacinto Methodist Hospital, as the maternal-child unit shifts its focus to family-centered care, starting with Colt’s delivery.

Colt is the first child together for Crosby residents Tina and Jason McWhorter. The couple tried to conceive for nearly two years, even enlisting the help of fertility doctors. After finally achieving their goal of having a child, it was very important to Tina – as with most expectant mothers – that everything went perfectly with this pregnancy.

“Because of her age and the amount of time since her last pregnancy, we opted for a c-section for this birth,” said Dr. Alfred Lucius, Tina’s obstetrician.

Lucius not only delivered Tina’s daughter Kayla 17 years ago, he also delivered Tina, age 37. Her personal connection to Lucius was the deciding factor in choosing to deliver at San Jacinto Methodist. However, she’d heard of a new method taking place at other hospitals, which led to her request that her c-section be slightly different.

She wanted skin-to-skin contact, or having the naked infant placed directly on the bare chest of the mother, in the operating room. This is a growing trend in c-section deliveries.

Through a childbirth education class, Tina discovered that San Jacinto Methodist was planning to start skin-to-skin contact deliveries. After learning more from Carrie Halsey, RN, SJMH childbirth educator, Tina discussed the possibility with her doctor and was excited that he was willing to make this birth special. “I didn’t even have to convince him,” she said. “He said he heard it was going to be starting sometime soon, so he was excited about it.”

Tina and Jason McWhorter begin bonding with baby Colt in the operating room, while Tina’s procedure is completed. Skin-to-skin contact for c-section deliveries is a birthing option now available at San Jacinto Methodist Hospital.

For Tina, the decision simply came down to not wanting to be without her newborn and husband during the operation and recovery.

“That’s just so sad for moms because we work so hard to get this little bundle of joy and then we go through it for the nine months and we just have to lay there for an hour by ourselves. We kind of feel left out,” she said.

A skin-to-skin delivery also meant that Jason, 33, didn’t have to choose between staying with his wife or his son.

“You don’t want to have to choose, after your wife just finished with surgery, leaving her alone to go see your kid for the first time. You’d rather be together,” said the small-business owner. “I think it takes a lot of pressure off of everybody.”

In a typical cesarean section, the baby is swaddled and briefly shown to the mother before being sent to the nursery for further examination. In the case of Colt, after immediately checking his vital signs in the operating room, he was returned to his mother’s chest and swaddled in her arms for the duration of her surgery. Research in the American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing has shown benefits of skin-to-skin contact include reduced anxiety in both mother and baby, regulation of the baby’s body temperature and a decrease in symptoms of postpartum depression.

Another advantage of skin-to-skin contact is successful breastfeeding, which proved true in this case. While in the recovery room, Colt was able to begin feeding within the first hour of life. His father credits the accomplishment to being introduced to the concept so quickly.

Because Colt didn’t have to go to the nursery, it allowed for extra bonding time between the three, giving them an additional hour to themselves. The remaining family members waited anxiously outside the operating room to catch a glimpse of the newest family member.

To mark this significant occasion for the maternal child unit, the team held balloons and lined the hallway to cheer on the family as Tina was wheeled to recovery with Colt comfortably in her arms. The only time Colt was not held by his mom was when she moved from the operating table to a stretcher to be transported to recovery. After the experience, the McWhorters were excited and grateful for the opportunity to have the skin-to-skin option for their son’s birth.

San Jacinto Methodist offers a free Saturday childbirth class on topics such as labor and delivery, relaxation and breathing techniques, epidurals, postpartum adjustment and more, plus a hospital tour. Classes are also available in Spanish. For specific class dates or to register, please call 281-420-7353.

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