Warning: This post contains graphic images.
Sarah Toyer, 24, a stay-at-home mom from Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, is one determined mama. Not only did she recently give birth to her fourth baby, Spencer, but she delivered him herself! The incredible moment was captured on camera by her husband, Joseph, and it’s something you truly have to see to believe.
Toyer explains that all of her other children — Jay, 4, Ruby, 3, and Wyatt, 2 — were born via C-section as well, but that for this baby, she wanted to be more involved in the birth. With her first pregnancy, a non-progressing labor led to an emergency C-section, which she says was very emotional for her. “I felt like my body failed at giving birth and felt so robbed after going through so much just to end up having a C-section,” Toyer told Babble.
Both her second and third births were elective C-sections, recommended by her doctors for safety. She incorporated methods that were important to her, such as performing skin-to-skin with her daughter while they finished the C-section. With her third baby, she asked her doctor if she could watch her son be born. After his head was out, they dropped the surgical sheet, allowing the proud mother to finally see one of her children being born. This made a world of difference to the mom and helped her feel “so much more connected to the birth” than with her other two children.
Pregnant for the fourth time, Toyer decided that this time around she would be taking matters into her own hands — literally. After reading an article about maternal-assisted C-sections, she realized that this type of delivery was exactly what she had been hoping for; it provided her a way to be as involved as possible during the birth as well as skin-to-skin directly after.
“It was important to me,” Toyer explains, “Because I had never been able to push my baby out and experience a normal labor and birth and thought this would be the closest thing to a natural birth, which I knew I could never have.”
Luckily, Toyer’s birthing team (including her midwife and husband) were extremely supportive of the idea. The only problem? No one could guarantee that the surgeon on call the day of her baby’s birth would also be on board with the idea of the woman giving birth scrubbing in like her very own surgical assistant.
On December 16, 2016 Toyer arrived at the hospital only to have her surgery pushed back eight hours. She and her husband grew tense wondering if their scheduled surgeon would agree to their hands-on plan. Fortunately, Toyer’s surgeon turned out to be “absolutely amazing.” Toyer described her as “bubbly” and “excited” to be a part of this special delivery. “She was genuinely excited for me to experience birthing my child.”
Before she knew it, Toyer found herself standing next to the surgeon while they scrubbed up and chatted casually — like a scene straight out of Grey’s Anatomy.
“It was surreal,” says Toyer. The mood in the surgical suite was filled with anticipation, as the entire team was excited to be part of the hospital’s first maternal-assisted C-section, something many of the medical staff present had never even heard of before.
After she had scrubbed in and was properly gowned and gloved, Toyer was required to keep her hands to her chest to remain sterile, even while the anesthesiologist administered her spinal.
Within 15 minutes, the team lowered the screen to allow Toyer to watch as the surgeon pulled the baby’s head, shoulders, and arms out. Then, the excited mother was able to reach down under her son’s arms and deliver him into her own waiting arms. That moment, says Toyer, was “absolutely amazing” and moved her to tears.
“I never actually thought I would be allowed to do it as it is not well known,” says Toyer. “To be the first one (other than the surgeon) to touch and hold my baby was amazing. To finally see that baby you’ve been growing for so long is definitely worth it. I wish I could relive that moment all the time — it’s so hard to put into words how incredible it felt!”
The baby did swallow quite a bit of fluid during the surgery (which is pretty normal for C-section babies), so he needed a little extra oxygen from the nurses before he was able to enjoy some skin-to-skin time with his mama. But overall, Toyer says she is very happy and thankful that she got to experience the C-section that she had wanted. The surgeon even gave Toyer’s husband her blessing to take video of the surgery, so it’s a moment that they will never forget.
Now home and recovering, Toyer is thrilled that her story and picture have been shared online.
“I decided to share [the picture] because I knew so many mothers didn’t know about a maternal-assisted C-section. And I like to think that someone else may get to experience a birth just like mine, because they had the opportunity to hear about it.”
Toyer’s birth experience truly does give new meaning to the term, “special delivery.” Congratulations on your new bundle of joy!