Abby Barefoot’s Childbirth Story

Abby Barefoot's c-section

Abby and West Barefoot of Erwin delivered their first child by traditional C-section. Two years later, Abby was pregnant with their second child, and she knew that another C-section was necessary. Wishing for another option that would make the delivery more intimate and personal, Abby went online and researched the subject. She discovered a new method called a “gentle-C.”

Mom Watches the Baby’s Birth

Abby was intrigued. Gentle-C uses a pain-blocking spinal injection procedure, rather than general anesthesia, to allow the mother to remain alert. It also incorporates a clear drape versus the traditional opaque curtain. This would allow her to see her baby being lifted out of the womb, view her husband’s reaction, and watch the nurses tend to her baby. It sounded much more like what a mother would experience with a natural birth.

‘Everything Came Together’

“We chose OB doctors affiliated with Johnston Health, so we could have our delivery close to home, and they were willing to use the gentle-C method,” Abby said. “They told us to contact Johnston Health to see if they would accommodate us on the procedure.”

“When I called the Women’s Center at Johnston Health, I found them very receptive. They took it from there and worked with my doctors and the company who produces the special drapes. Everything came together so smoothly. When the day for my special delivery arrived, everything was in place.

“The only question was if the spinal injection would be successful. If not, I would have to be sedated, and all of our plans would have to change. So I was very anxious.”

A Nurse’s Prayer & Personal Care

“What happened next totally amazed me! The nurse who was holding me for my spinal tap asked if she could pray for me,” Abby said. “I was so thankful! She prayed for me and for the procedure’s success even as it was being it was being done.

“That is the most personal care I can possibly imagine. I felt like God put her there for me. It set the tone for what was to happen from there. The procedure was successful; the delivery went perfectly. I was able to see my baby come into the world and hold her immediately.

“I was overwhelmed with the personal kindness and concern of the nurses with me that day. They seemed as excited as we were. One of them took wonderful photos with our camera so West was free to be part of the experience. They even came around beside us and sang happy birthday to Emmalyn Grace.”

Pioneers in Gentle-C Births

“Ours was the first gentle-C birth at Johnston Health,” Abby said. “Since then, there have been several others. I can’t imagine the experience being any better for West, Emmalyn Grace, or myself. We are so grateful for our doctors and the folks at Johnston Health—especially the delivery team who treated us like family. It was truly a blessing—one we will never forget.”

Abby Barefoot
Erwin, NC

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Call us to register for a tour of:

  • Johnston Health Women’s Center in Clayton: 919-585-8155
  • Johnston Health Women’s Pavilion in Smithfield: 919-938-7800

You and your partner can ask questions, meet members of the maternity care team, and see the labor and delivery suites firsthand.

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