by Jennie McKeon
Heather Hintz wanted a different birthing experience with her third child.
She asked her obstetrician, Dr. Michael Hennessey, about the “soft cesarean section” approach, where the baby is placed on the mother’s chest for skin-to-skin contact as quickly as possible after delivery. She also wanted to be aware of what was going in the operating room.
Dr. Hennessey and Fort Walton Beach Medical Center helped give Heather the experience she wanted using a C-section drape which allows the mother and a significant other to view the procedure through a window. This procedure is now a standard offering at the hospital.
While Heather said all three of her births were special bringing Hawkins, now six weeks old, into the world on Jan. 30 was unique. Not only did Heather and her husband, Jeffrey, watch the birth of their son, but the entire C-section was being photographed and filmed for the Daily News website, Life in the OR.
Dr. Hennessey gave Heather a few days to decide whether she wanted to share her story. Ultimately, she wanted to provide more information to expecting mothers. She’s been sharing the promos on her Facebook page and fielding questions from her friends since the birth.
“It was a lot scarier (with previous births),” she said. “You don’t know what’s going on … this is going to be an eye-opener for other women.”
Watching the experience in real time, Heather said she didn’t feel as if she was having surgery. There was a peaceful feeling in the room. She didn’t think about the cameras, but remembers seeing Hawkins head and shoulders and hearing that first cry before he was cleaned and handed to her.
“It was very zen in the OR,” she said. “And having that skin-to-skin contact was an instant connection. I wish all three of my births had been this way.”
Before she returns to work at her hair salon, C’est La Vie, Heather is enjoying her moments with her full house of kids including 8-year-old Harlan and 3-year-old Hudson. She said there’s often a shame mothers who have C-sections feel — that their birthing story isn’t as legitimate as those who give birth vaginally. She hopes First View will eliminate those feelings.
“It can still be magical, you’re just bringing your baby into the world in a different way,” she said.
“Every woman’s experience is beautiful and different.”
Watch Heather’s C-Section at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at nwfdailynews.com/OR