A woman who partly delivered her own twins during a caesarean has encouraged other women to take control of their birthing experience.
Gerri Wolfe gave birth to Matilda and Violet through a “maternal-assisted caesarean” at Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital on December 22.
Ms Wolfe described the moment she blindly reached her hand out to connect with the babies still partially inside her as “awesome”.
“They delivered Matilda up to her shoulders and I reached down and grabbed her,” Ms Wolfe said.
“I couldn’t see anything because I had a big belly in front of me so I was blind and just reaching out … it was really cool.
“With Violet I needed a bit of a helping hand because she was upside down and I only had one hand free.”
Ms Wolfe, who now has 11 children, was driving to Sydney for an evening cricket match with the month-old twins and four of their siblings as she recalled the experience.
After several caesars that were “not good births” the 41-year-old from Umina Beach on the Central Coast was determined to deliver the twins naturally.
But when a complication arose that meant she would have to have a C-section after all Ms Wolfe told the “initially reluctant” obstetrician at the John Hunter about the delivery method she had read about online.
“I thought about what was important to me to make a surgical procedure more like a birth,” Ms Wolfe said. “I told the [obstetrician] if we’re going to do it we need to do it like this.”
Ms Wolfe doesn’t want to glamorise the delivery as a quirky trend, but said information on it should be available for women who wanted more involvement in their births.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists vice-president Steve Robson said in his experience the delivery method was rare.
“It was in the women’s magazines 12 to 13 years ago then went out of vogue,” Mr Robson said. “It never really took off but maybe something like this could lead to a bit of a resurgence.”
Mr Robson said introducing an extra pair of arms to the sterile operating space created some logistic complexities but nothing that was insurmountable.
“If someone wanted to do that I’d have no problem providing the operating team were OK with it, and I suspect a lot of obstetricians wouldn’t mind,” Mr Robson said.
A spokesperson for John Hunter Hospital said it was not the first time it had performed this type of delivery.