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Transcript of The Today Show's Live Cesarean Section Episode


Transcript of “Today Goes Live Inside the O.R.” on February 2, 2010.

Meredith: We’re going to go right back to our Chief Medical Editor, Nancy Snyderman, who is at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where our new mom Carrie is about to give birth to her first child. Nancy, good morning again.


Nancy: Good morning, Meredith. Carrie’s abdominal—or abdominal room has been opened and an incision if being made by our two physicians. I’ll just call them by their first names—Tony just cut into the uterus and there’s been a squirt of amniotic fluid. You going to hear some sucking sounds now as that amniotic fluid is suctioned. This is the fluid that is normally as a baby comes through the birth canal is squished out so they’re going to be very careful to suck all that fluid out because they don’t want too much of it to be in the baby’s lungs and in the second and they sort of go ahead and incise the rest of the uterine wall, a hand now goes in to feel that baby and the baby will be literally delivered as it is now. Pushing above, pulling below, I see a baby’s head—


Anonymous: Ohh, we’ve got a big head! [Unintelligble commotion, excitement]


Nancy: The baby, we don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl… Daddy Josh, kaboom! Here’s your baby!


A baby boy! And I should say this is what Mom Carrie suspected all along, that it was going to be a baby boy. The normal suctioning of the mouth just to get that fluid out. This baby is pink and beautiful, umbilical cord just cut and now, showing off, and the baby will now be moved over to mom so Mommy can see. Way to go, Carrie! Mom will see this beautiful baby boy and then as is normal procedure, this baby goes over to an isolette, to a warmer, this baby will be checked for all kinds of things: breathing, color, making sure it’s vital..


I want to underscore one other thing Meredith. This is a cesarean section that was scheduled. This was in no way done for The Today Show. This was orderly, routine and scheduled for this timeframe just the way these are supposed to go and, as happens at countless hospitals all over the country, an extraordinarily healthy birth. That is a robust little baby boy.


[Camera cuts to the mother, who is alone and crying]


Meredith (in New York): And we’re seeing Carrie’s emotion—


[Someone, maybe a nurse, begins wiping Carrie’s eyes with a tissue, Carrie smiles]


Nancy: All is well in Boston!


Meredith: Yeah, Nancy we’re seeing—


Nancy: And Meredith, you’ll be happy, another Red Sox fan is born!


Meredith: [Laughs courteously] Well, we always need another Red Sox fan. I’m seeing the emotion from Carrie, the tears in her eyes. Is there any way we can ask Carrie or Josh at this point if they have a name for the baby? Have they come up wit ha boy’s name?


Nancy: I’m going to come right over here so Carrie can get picked up on my microphone. [Pats Carrie on the head]. Way to go, Mom! [Laughs, Carrie smiles]. You know, it’s very easy to get left behind when the baby gets zoomed over and everyone forgets about Mom. SO first of all, thank you and congratulations.


Carrie: Thank you, thank you very much.


Nancy: And, names.


Carrie: His name is Brody Rock Johnson.


Nancy: Brody Rock Johnson, that is BOY’s name.


Meredith: That is a good name.


Nancy: That is a Red Sox name! Brody Rock Johnson. Well, congratulations and thank you for being such a trooper [rubs Carrie’s head]


Carrie: Thank you!


Nancy [emphatically, places hand on hip]: All is well here, Meredith. Mom healthy, doctors are now sewing up the uterine wall. They’ll sew up the abdomen. Carrie’s not going to have any sensation in her legs for awhile because of that spinal but she’s going to be GREAT and I think the celebration really now begins.


Meredith: As you can hear, some healthy cries across the room—[interrupted]


Nancy: All well here, Meredith.


Meredith: Dr. Azizi, what percentage of deliveries these days are by c-section?


Nancy: Well, let me go ahead and ask Dr. Goldberg. [Walks to surgical field] How many operations, uh, deliveries are done by section as opposed to vaginal?


Dr. Goldberg: It depends a little bit across the country but it can range anywhere from 25 percent to about 30 percent.


Nancy: The indications are baby to big, mom in distress…


Dr. Goldberg: Or baby in distress is a common one, or if a mother has had a cesarean section before.


Nancy: The fact that you’re sewing up the uterus and you’ve made an incision that is crossways instead of vertical, does that mean that if Carrie gets pregnant again and the baby is a normal size, she can have a vaginal delivery?


Dr. Goldberg: Absolutely, absolutely.


Nancy: And what will she have to look for in the next couple of days—what will you look for in the next couple of days when she stays in the hospital?


Dr. Goldberg: Well, I’m looking for to make sure she doesn’t have any surgical complications, such as bleeding or infection, making sure she has adequate pain medication, that she can get up and move around, helping her with breastfeeding if that’s what she chooses to do.


Nancy: And what I’m looking at now which I know is going to be a little too graphic for morning television is really the uterus delivered out of the abdominal incision and going ahead and closing it.


Dr. Goldberg: Yes, we do that so that we can actually see what we’re doing.


Nancy: Terrific! Well, I’m going to leave you for a second and go back over here to the dad.


[Baby crying while getting oxygen]


Nancy: You know, this little bit of oxygen that you see going on is very normal. Babies sometimes get a little blue, get a little waffly and a lot of times, Meredith, when babies don’t come through the birth canal, that squeezing and those contractions can push fluid out of babies’ lungs and even in the best cesarean section, there can still be a little bit of fluid in babies’ lungs. So suctioning as you’re seeing now, a little bit of oxygen, is very much status quo for a post-section baby.


Meredith: Nancy, I didn’t hear a thud so I’m sure Josh didn’t faint, so can we ask him how he is doing?


Nancy: Josh, I’m going to lean over you with my microphone. Everyone’s now focused on Mommy and Baby and YOU’RE  left out in the cold.


Josh: [Shakes head] No I’m not.


Nancy: Meredith wants to know how you’re doing.


Josh: I’m doing great. I couldn’t be happier.


Nancy: Good. And how did you pick this name?


Josh: [Wells up] Very… very carefully.


Meredith: [Takes Josh’s hand] And now he’s crying, Meredith! Now he’s crying.


Josh: Very carefully.


Nancy: Your wife said she knew it was a boy all along.


Josh: Yeah, and I did, I did.


Nancy: Well, from all of us at Today, congratulations.


Josh: Thank you very much.


Nancy: Thank you for being so gracious and letting us be in with you.


Josh: Yeah, we’ll always remember this. Not that I would know.


Nancy: [Laughs] Alright, a beautiful, beautiful baby boy, Meredith.


Meredith: Thank you so much. Brody, right? Brody Rock Johnson. Nancy, thanks. Thanks to all of the doctors and nurses involved in this delivery. And especially to Carrie and Josh for letting us share in such a special event.


Nurse: Let’s see how much he weighs!


Someone in background: Let’s get it on the camera!


Nancy: [Loudly] He’s got a good set of lung, this guy! Look at him! Isn’t he gorgeous?!


Meredith: He’s gorgeous. I sense, I don’t know, maybe an outfielder there? I don’t know, we’ll figure it out.


Nancy: As you know, Meredith, mother always wonder if they’re going to do this again and they get amnesia for all the little hiccups, and boy, all those good endorphins click in.


Meredith: How much does he weigh?




Meredith: He’s not going to appreciate that shot when he’s older, though. [Joking about camera angle]. He’s going to say, Mo-om! Da-ad! For Pete’s sakes!”


Nancy: Yeah, ten pounds even, what a robust little baby.


Meredith: They chose the right way to deliver, that’s sure… by c-section.

Nancy: They sure did!


Meredith: Thank you so much, Dr. Nancy.


Nancy: You bet, Meredith. [Exchange goodbyes]


Meredith: And having had, my first baby was a section as well and I can tell Carrie it will all work out, she’ll be back up on her feet in no time.


And tomorrow we’re going to take you inside the operating room for live brain surgery. But again, our congratulations to Carrie and Josh and their new son, Brody. He’s a keeper. We’ll be back right after this.



Segment continues after break


This morning, Today’s going inside the O.R. More than four million babies are born in the U.S. every year and this morning one was born RIGHT in front of our cameras here on The Today Show. We took you inside the operating room at Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston, where Carrie Johnson gave birth to Brody Rock Johnson. He came in at a whopping ten pounds and was 20 and ¾ inches long. NBC’s Chief Medical Editor Nancy Snyderman was there with the parents to witness it all and welcome the new bundle into the world. Look at how adorable, wearing her little Today Show logo already. Good morning, Nancy.


Nancy: Yes, he is. Hey, Natalie. He is, he is—they are doing very well. I’m here with Daddy Josh, all doing well. I want to underscore again that while Carrie has been a phenomenal trooper, she was scheduled to have a cesarean section this morning because in both of their families, babies run big and she was past her due date and those are two indications that a cesarean section is a lot safer than having a vaginal delivery. This little baby was born without a hitch, weighing in at ten pounds. At this hospital, it’s busy most days and in fact, they have about 5,000 deliveries a year.


Nancy Snyderman narrating:


[Footage of crying baby]


If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, you’ve come to the wrong place. Here at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, delivering babies is a full-time job.


Dr. Toni Golen: This is a very busy labor and delivery unit, we do about 5,000 deliveries a year, which is roughly 12 to 15 deliveries a day, but that’s a little bit unpredictable.


Nancy: It’s 24-7 operation from the delivery rooms to the postpartum unit, where parents learn basic baby skills from nursing to changing diapers.


Deirdre Woolley, R.N.: It’s a joy for all of us who work here to everyday show moms and dads how to take care of new babies.


Nancy: Amidst the activity, we found new moms and new dads beaming with pride.


New Mother: She arrived at 9:09 a.m. She’s been great! It’s funny to finally meet her. You carry somebody in your body for nine months and all of a sudden they arrive and your world changes and all for the better, but it was great. We feel really lucky.


New Dad: It’s amazing, scary awesome, frightening all at the same time, if that makes sense.


Nancy: And like many Boston babies, this new mom has certain expectations [Take Me Out to the Ball Game plays in background].


New Mother: He’s going to be a huge Red Sox fan, for sure.



[Cut back to Johnson family]


Nancy introduces Brody to extended family.


Nancy: Natalie, it just couldn’t get much better than this. A healthy baby, loving parents, grandparents, great-grandma all… and this is… these are the days that are worth celebrating. Now back to you guys in New York.


Natalie: Aww, absolutely Nancy. Great job, there. And what a great job you have there to be able to be there and be a part of it. Dr. Nancy Snyderman, thanks to Carrie and Josh for letting us enjoy the moment with them because it always takes us back to the time when our own children were born. Thank you.



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Reader Comments (27)

Its the same fallacy about baby's size being regurgitated. FYI docs/ACOG/NBC, you don't need to be counseling women with 10 pound babies to have C-sections! Women are capable of giving birth to babies of that size, and bigger! At least give them a chance before you get them open...

February 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjenne

A few things I noticed:

1) I was very pleased with the mention of a VBAC and the mom "absolutely" being a candidate, although I wonder how accurate the statement is for her particularly, given she apparently had a scheduled section for macrosomia (although I will say that there wasn't a clear indication given so there could be another issue at hand I suppose).

2) When I was watching, I was a little upset because when talking about timely and orderly births, and needing oxygen, it didn't seem like they distinguished enough between normal, vaginal births and sections, although on the transcript they did. I'll have to re-watch to see how exactly they said things because I'd had to "normal births are timely and scheduled" and "babies normally need oxygen" to be generalized.

3) Ugggggh regarding the "right way to give birth." It's so interesting the changes in mindset. Personally, we're aiming for a 10 lber at our homebirth (we joke that we had one in the 8 lb range, and one in the 9 lb range, now it's time for 10) which, of course, would not involve a section. This looked to be a larger mom also; I wonder what role that played in it.

4) I'm annoyed that there wasn't more information about the risks of the surgery, especially more long-term. I get "surgical complications" and "bleeding or infection," but what about many of the other issues that she might face, including even those when attempting a VBAC?

February 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterANaturalAdvocate

There are so many things wrong with this. I don't know how parents could consent to this. The scheduled C for a large baby, treating surgery as if it's just ho-hum nothing to worry about, all the talk about baseball (if it had been a girl they probably would have just said she'll be a pretty princess). The doc say "absolutely" about a VBAC was probably just for the camera, because we all know how many hospitals say it's possible, but don't actually allow it. I'm really appalled the Today Show did this at all.

February 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

The fallacy about VBAC was exposed right there, they don't even see they've contradicted themselves.

Nancy: The fact that you’re sewing up the uterus and you’ve made an incision that is crossways instead of vertical, does that mean that if Carrie gets pregnant again and the baby is a normal size, she can have a vaginal delivery?
Dr. Goldberg: Absolutely, absolutely.

BUT in truth:

Nancy: The indications are baby too big, mom in distress…
Dr. Goldberg: Or baby in distress is a common one, or if a mother has had a cesarean section before.

February 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Ugg, I just feel so dejected.

February 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

Interesting; I wonder what was the impetus for this segment? Any ACOG members have friends at NBC?

Morning shows are really bad purveyors of so much health information, though; they have to make everything upbeat and unthreatening, so they don't ask hard questions, even about things like cosmetic procedures, and any doctor they talk to is treated like God Almighty. It doesn't really surprise me that they were all gung-ho about c/sections and that Jill caught them on the c/sec rate stats. They don't do anything remotely close to investigative journalism.

Lots of women have had successful vaginal births with 10 pound babies, but then most of us here probably know that. Scheduled c/sec for "macrosomia" has not been backed up by any studies (I believe) so what we're watching is actually a woman who quite likely had an unnecessary surgery. Here's hoping she doesn't also have to put up with post operative complications and difficulty breastfeeding like so many other c/sec patients...

February 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteremjaybee

There was a couple of things that bothered me. 1 - when they were discussing reasons for c/s they didn't give some absolute reasons for c/s like Previa. 2 - they showed everyone the baby before the mom got to see. 3 - saying she was past her due date it was safer to have a c/s says nothing to the dating. That baby had so much vernix. I have had 8 post dates babies and only 1 even had some vernix. He didn't look too far past his due date. What was she a day late? Of course I take offense easily about dates, like we have expired or something.

February 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I'm small framed and had a surprise 10-pounder who had shoulder dystocia at HOME. SOOOOOO glad I did in retrospect because I'm sure they would have sectioned me in a heartbeat (or probably horribly botched SD management). Blah.

You know, I was pre-med in college and I shadowed this perinatologist. I even got to watch (up close and personal) two cesareans. The doctor told me, "The thing about cesareans is that your body doesn't know it's surgery. It just responds as if it has been attacked by a bear. It doesn't care that the bleeding is controlled and you have nice neat incisions. All it knows is that it's like it has just been attacked by a bear."

Those words always stuck with me, especially once I saw the c-sections for myself. How much good is the Today Show doing by panning away from the true images of cesarean births and then acting as if it's nothing?

February 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAugusta

That was awful...from the unnecesarean done so cavalierly to the institutionalization of "teaching new parents" how to be parents. So Brave New World...eat your heart out Aldous Huxley.

February 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne


February 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJill
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