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Pulling Back the Curtain

Posted on September 21, 2017 in Patient Stories

“Clear drape” brings baby’s arrival into view for C-section moms

Jessica Mather and familyOphthalmologist Jessica Mather, MD, knew she would have a Cesarean section for the birth of her baby, who was in a breech position. But she also had an opportunity that hasn’t traditionally been part of a C-section birth: the opportunity to see her daughter, Ava, make her debut into the world.

               For families who wish to use it, a “clear drape” is available during C-sections performed at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, which allows the mother to see her baby the moment he or she is born.

               “The clear drape is neat because it lets the mother be more a part of the delivery, which is really special,” says Brooke Foulk, MD, OB/GYN at Fort Sanders Women’s Specialists “I try to offer the clear drape to anyone who might be interested.”

“I think it was definitely a more unique experience,” says Dr. Mather. “A lot of times with C-sections you feel like you’re missing out because you’re separated from what’s going on.”

               The drape has two parts: a clear plastic “wall” and a blue cloth wall. They hang together at the mother’s shoulders, blocking her view.  After the initial incision, the anesthesiologist drops the blue cloth, leaving the see-through plastic drop as a sanitary barrier. 

               “I had never heard of the clear drape before [Dr. Foulk] suggested it,” says Dr. Mather. “I didn’t see her make incisions on me and I didn’t see any bleeding, but you could kind of see what she was doing. I saw Ava as she came out.

               “My husband was there, too, and while they were still working on me, I was able to see through the drape and over to the warmer as they were working on Ava. Then as soon as they did the initial clean-off and assessment, just a few minutes later, they wrapped her and laid her on my chest, so we had a good bonding experience.”

                Dr. Foulk said being able to see their babies’ care right after birth helps mothers who are waiting to greet their new arrivals. “After the surgery, it’s nice for the mother to see the baby in the warmer for a few minutes, and there’s not a big blue drape in the way. Moms are always waiting five to 10 minutes, and that’s a long time when you’re wanting to hold your baby,” she says.

From Medical Student to Patient

               In addition to sharing Dr. Mather’s birth experience, the two women share another connection – one that is related to their medical training.

“When I was in medical school, she was my chief resident,” says Dr. Mather, who trained with Dr. Foulk at East Tennessee State University. “I remember how great she was as a doctor. She was brilliant and she really cared about her patients. So when I had the opportunity to make my care decision, it was easy.”

               “Jessica and her husband Seth were both my medical students,” says Dr. Foulk. “I helped with their education, so it was really special helping to deliver their baby.”

Dr. Mather says she would recommend Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center to any woman expecting a baby.

               “Everything was very personalized and everyone was so kind. The lactation consultants were very accommodating, too,” she says. “I stayed three nights in the hospital, and was glad that I did. It was excellent care at Fort Sanders.”

Fort Sanders Regional delivers more babies than any other facility in the area, including more than 20,000 high-risk babies over the last 20 years. Specialists on staff are available to address a wide range of special needs. You can learn more about options for moms-to-be at