Nurse reveals why she delivered her own baby daughter via c-section
There's no question about it that mothers do all the hard work when it comes to giving birth. But what if you could give birth to your child and deliver it via caesarean yourself?
Amazingly, that's exactly what Carley Valkoula did last year. The 36-year-old literally pulled her own baby from her womb during what has been named a "revolutionary" new form of caesarean.
Carley, a mother-of-three, had always wanted to give birth naturally, but her body had not allowed it, leading her to have emergency C-sections for her two eldest children, Thomas, now eight, and Jacob, now five.
The nurse, who lives in Karratha, Australia, had read about maternal assisted caesarean sections – where the mum pulls the baby out herself – online during her second pregnancy but, as her procedure had been an emergency, it had not been possible.
So, when she fell pregnant with her third child, Leilani, she decided to take things into her own hands.
“I decided this time, I wouldn’t try for a vaginal birth,” she said. “I just wanted my pregnancy to be a nice experience and to know what I was expecting.
“I was worried that my waters would break early and I’d need another emergency caesarean – meaning it couldn’t be maternal assisted – so, in the end, I opted for an elective caesarean instead."
In March 2017, at 39 weeks pregnant, Carley arrived at a private obstetrician with her husband John Valikoula, 44, to welcome Leilani into the world.
As they made their first incision, doctors put up a screen and then around five minutes later, they lowered it to enable Carley to deliver her daughter.
She recalled: “I’d had an epidural, so I couldn’t feel any pain – more just pressure and a tugging feeling.
“I had surgical gloves on, and the doctors guided my hands down, then I put them under Leilani’s arms and lifted them above my head. It was amazing pulling her out myself. I was smiling away and John was crying. It was incredibly emotional."
After delivering her baby daughter, Carley finally got to experience the thrill of being the very first person to hold her child.
“I wanted her on my chest right away, but there was a blanket there as the theatre was so cold. Luckily, someone quickly whipped it out of the way, so we could get that skin to skin contact," she said, adding that John was also able to cut the cord for the very first time, something that "meant the world to him".
So, how would the mother-of-three rate the experience? Very highly it seems with Carley - who brought along a photographer to capture the experience - admitting she would "100 per cent do it again.”
“Delivering my daughter was an absolutely amazing moment and I’m so glad I did it," the 36-year-old said.
She added that she wanted women to "understand their birth rights", saying: “A caesarean section is definitely not the easy way out. It’s very hard to do, and I’d never judge someone for having one. I’ve had three, but it was always really important to me to try for a vaginal birth... I want other women to understand their birth rights, and feel empowered to ask for exactly what they want. It can be hard to do but remember that any choice throughout birth is completely yours. Find that right person to help and be steadfast in what you want.”