My Almost-Natural, Quite Traumatic Birth Story

As we prepare to welcome our third baby into our family, it seems timely to write about my first labor and birth story. When we got pregnant with Gabriel I never imagined I would live to experience the kind of labor and delivery story I’m about to share with you. It was extremely long, emotional, traumatic, and amazing, all at the same time. It took me a good year to come to terms with the experience, where I learned that labor and delivery is a thing to be respected and can be one of the most deeply emotional, soul-searching events of a woman’s life. I had to allow myself to grieve over what I wanted but didn’t get, and make peace with what did.

My Almost-Natural, Quite Traumatic Birth Story

Holding my precious babe the day after he was born.

Kevin (the hubby) and I spent two years having the times of our lives in France right after we married, but halfway into the second year, we got the baby bug. We moved back to the states to settle down and start a family. Little did we know, we were already pregnant! Unfortunately, the day after I discovered I was pregnant (7 weeks along), I had a miscarriage. I grieved for several months, surprised by the sadness over a baby I had only known about for a day. I am now thankful for that experience because it has allowed me to understand (at least a little) what other parents feel when they miscarry.

No Epidural? Are You Freaking Nuts?

Just a few months later, we got pregnant again! We were very excited. I got busy looking for an OB, getting recommendations from the few people I knew in our new town. I found one with twelve doctors and made an appointment. Just before the first appointment, my boss (I was working at a dance studio) shared with me how she gave birth to her twin boys naturally, with no epidural. I had never in my life heard of natural birth before and didn’t even know it was an option. I was in awe of her story, but also kept thinking, “Well, good for her, but I don’t mind one bit having an epidural! She’s crazy!” To my own surprise, her story sparked my curiosity and I scoured the internet looking for information.

What I found amazed and shocked me – I learned about all the wonderful benefits of natural birth like the quick recovery time, the ability to move around and push in different positions, the connection you develop with your own body’s amazing natural abilities, your own strength to endure the pain, and the powerful and important role the father can play in helping with labor, among others.

To my own shock, I found myself totally hooked and obsessed with natural birth. I read Dr. Bradley’s book, “Husband-Coached Childbirth” cover to cover and shared every bit of it with Kevin. He was behind me one-hundred-percent and just as excited as me.

I Prepared Myself For Natural Birth

I had just come off of two years of intense dancing in France, so I was in the best shape of my life and weighed the least I’d ever had (well, before getting pregnant, that is!), so I felt fully prepared to labor naturally. I bought a prenatal yoga DVD and practiced on a regular basis, staying very physically active as I taught dance. I also watched my diet, although wasn’t perfectly healthy, but ate a balanced diet. And Kevin and I had a doula come to our house to teach us all about natural birth (it wasn’t a true Bradley class, but it was close enough). I also left the OB practice (disgruntled with doctors) and went with a midwife, a decision about which I was so excited since they fully supported natural birth. Basically, I dotted all my T’s and did all the things one is supposed to do to prepare for natural childbirth.

Almost-Natural Birth Story

Laboring at home on the exercise ball while my dad tracked the contractions on the computer, getting through transition labor with my ROCK (Kevin), and preparing to go to the O.R.

D-Day – The Contractions Started

Then, D-Day came. I thought contractions were never going to come, as they didn’t start until Gabe was a week late (although, if you’re into natural birth, you know we don’t put much stock into exact due dates). My sister’s wedding was just six weeks after Gabe’s due date, so I was very anxious to have him so I could make it to the wedding. Plus, I was just freaking miserable – huge, felt fat, and couldn’t sleep any more.

One a.m. Sunday morning, tiny contractions began. By Sunday night they had intensified, but still weren’t regular or very strong. My mom, Kevin and I spent the day walking, walking, and more walking to get labor moving. Monday rolled around and not much was different, so more walking was in order. Finally, by five p.m. the contractions really intensified and became regular. My midwife said to stay at home until they were 3 to 5 minutes apart for 2 hours, so with the help of Kevin and my mom, I breathed and worked through each contraction on my exercise ball for the rest of the night.

Off to the Hospital

Long story short, my water finally broke after I had practically given up hope (still nothing regular for two hours) and we rushed to the hospital as I was in intense pain and what felt like transition labor. When I arrived at 5 a.m. on Tuesday morning (Did you catch that? Labor had started at 1 a.m. Sunday morning and it was now 5 a.m. Tuesday – that’s 51 hours later!!), I received great news – I was 8 c.m. dilated and could start pushing within an hour!

Transition Labor – OMG

That last hour I experienced extremely intense pain that I wouldn’t blame any woman in the entire universe for begging for an epidural – it HURT. My husband deserves a medal of honor for the way he supported me and helped me through each contraction. He was my rock. And as hell-bent as I was on doing it naturally, I crumpled and begged my midwife for an epidural in a vulnerable moment, standing naked in the shower to try and relieve the pain. She suggested I didn’t because I had come this far and it was only a little farther, so I pulled what very little energy I had left together, and trudged on, and started pushing.

And I thought the pain couldn’t be worse. It became unbearable and the worst part was that nothing was happening. An hour passed, two hours. And my midwife started to worry that I would bruise my tailbone from pushing on the bed and she suggested I take a break. She brought in the specialist on-call and he did an ultrasound to see why no progress was being made, but it revealed nothing. Several doctors checked me and determined the only way the baby was coming out was by forceps, vacuum or C-section. I refused to hear the last one, and pushed forward with the other two options. But, by that time, I was suffering from a kind of extreme exhaustion I imagined only POW’s might experience when kept up all night and beaten.

There was no way I could endure more pain, so they gave me a spinal epidural and I’ll never forget the utter happiness I felt as all my pain was relieved. I took a nap, and the doctors came back with what looked like torture devices and tried to get Gabriel out. After an hour, yes, an entire hour of sucking on his tiny little head  with a vacuum and grabbing it with forceps, the specialist stopped, sat down beside me on the bed, and very gently explained that they had tried everything and I had to have an emergency C-section.

Natural Birth Story - Baby's head injured from forceps and vacuum

Here is a picture of Gabe’s head – we couldn’t touch it because it was so sore from the vacuum and forceps.

No Natural Birth, Not Even Vaginal – Emergency C-Section

In the moment, I was dumbfounded, shocked and then completely devastated. I cried the whole way to the OR and cried while on the table. I hated the way I felt – I couldn’t feel anything from the chest down and I felt so out of control and vulnerable. I was scared and exhausted.

After a very long hour surgery, Gabriel was born! Thankfully, he was perfectly healthy and beautiful, but they showed him to me for about 3 seconds, then gave him to Kevin to be taken to the nursery. They finished the surgery and then I had to wait for an hour all by myself in the recovery room. I just laid there and cried. I couldn’t believe that after all I had been through I couldn’t even hold my baby until the spinal wore off. I felt like I’d been tortured.

Now Gabe is a happy, healthy boy.

Gabe has always had the biggest, most beautiful and inquisitive eyes.

Gabe Had Been Stuck

Finally, Gabe, Kevin and my whole family arrived and I was surrounded by love again, and held Gabriel. He was an amazing newborn – he barely cried and just looked around the room with his huge eyes. I was in total love, but also too exhausted to really connect with him yet (first wave of the guilt us mothers are good at giving ourselves!). Turns out, he had gotten stuck in a little pocket of my uterus and the surgery had taken so long because the three hours of pushing had damaged the wall of my uterus and it had to be repaired.The funny part is I ended up adoring the OB specialist who did the surgery because he treated me with such respect and explained every detail before he did it. He knew my wishes and tried his best to make them happen. The midwife? She was in and out during labor as she had three other patients, so it was the nurses I connected with, and they were wonderful. The midwife was just beyond her realm of expertise, and we all think she let me labor and push far too long.

Postpartum – Recovery

The reality of everything that had and had not happened really hit me hard over the next few days and months. It was a year before I could just let it go and make peace with my own body and desires and accept that there was nothing anyone could’ve done, especially me, to change the circumstances. It is what it is.

Family picture after baby #2's birth

Grayson’s birth story is not fraught with obstacles, but was instead the birth I had dreamed about.

It’s Okay To Get Support

If I could do it again, I would’ve joined the hospital breastfeeding support group my midwife recommended, as breastfeeding was very difficult for me and I really could’ve used the friendship and general support. It was very difficult to live so far away from my family and live in a place where I had no friends yet while dealing with postpartum hormones and some depression. I did finally join a mom’s club when Gabe was three months old and found a surprising need to share my birth story (as did many of the other moms). The more I shared it and discussed it, the better I felt and I began to heal.By the time I was pregnant with Grayson, I had decided I wanted to shoot for a VBAC (go ahead, call me crazy!), but there was no way in hades I was going to do it naturally, since for all I knew, I could end up with another C-section. Grayson’s birth lasted 12 hours and progressed quickly and I had a very successful VBAC with a wonderful doctor. I was so very happy I stuck to my guns because it was a magical, magical moment when he was born and I could hold him in my arms right away. Both Kevin and I cried, because we knew how hard it can be, and now know how beautiful it is.

I share this not to scare new moms or other pregnant women, but to share a very powerful, life-changing time in my life that made me stronger and taught me to respect labor and delivery. It is so important to be educated on giving birth and to explore your options. Prepare yourself for what you would like, but I do suggest to go with the flow of your body and to not allow guilt or shame to creep in if you are not able to have the birth experience you so desire. There are just times, like in my story, where we are completely out of control and have to allow the experts to take care of us. Then, get some postpartum support and enjoy every minute with your precious baby, while doing your best to take care of yourself.

And before too long, you’ll be knee-deep in toys, poop, and a toddler with a huge smile and fantastic giggle who won’t stop talking and you couldn’t imagine life without. And you’ll be truly happy that a C-section allowed your baby to be born perfectly healthy, and that really is what matters most in the end.


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About Sara McFall

Sara is the owner and founder of My Merry Messy Life, which started in 2011 as a way to chronicle her journey to a natural, chemical-free lifestyle and to share her passions of mothering, real food, homeschooling and crochet. She is a mama to three precious and energetic little boys and wife to a university professor who loves to sing, dance ballet and ballroom, and live simply and naturally.


  1. Ah, great story, so glad everything worked out well. I made it through the entire post without crying until I read the last line… I didn’t have the birth I wanted and I struggled with breast feeding as well, it was a tough time and he’s now almost two though and you’re right, he “talks” constantly, lol 🙂

    • Love your comment :). I had no idea how hard breastfeeding can be. Before I had Gabe, I thought it was terrible that women would choose not to breastfeed, then I learned from experience and kept my mouth shut! It can be a huge struggle, especially if you don’t have a support group.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I made it through my daughter’s birth with no epidural…I wanted to give in near the end, but like you had someone (a nurse) encourage me that if I had made it this far, I could make it the rest of the way. SO sad that your special day didn’t go as planned, but grateful that you and baby were healthy when all was said and done. I have to believe that some people go through traumatic experiences so that they can be a light when someone else goes through them! Good luck with your upcoming delivery!

    • Thanks for commenting, Brittany! You’re such a good Green Moms Network bloggy friend. Good for you for sticking it out in the end and I’m so happy you got the birth you wanted. You’re so right – good things can come from bad, and I will forever have compassion on moms who have traumatic birth experiences.

  3. Ahh I cried! Your labor sounds so much like my first labor. IT was terrible and it took me a long time to cope with it too. I am still coping with my second and it was much better than my first! I also have some mommy guilt and Im pretty sure some PTSD too. It is an amazing experience though. I am so excited for you with #3!

    • Oh, I’m so sorry to hear you had a rough experience as well. I learned there is just no easy way to get a baby out, even if you get the birth you want. I’m so sorry you have some guilt and depression – I hope you have a support network and a way to cope. Just having that guilt means that you’re a caring, wonderful mother, so I hope you’re not too hard on yourself.

    • I am fine now but WOW did it throw me for a while 🙂 Thankfully I have a very supportive family and husband who helped me through it. And you are right, getting those cute little boogers out is a whole lot of work! But worth it for their cute little selves. That being said we are so done 😉

  4. That was wonderful, thank you for sharing. I had a similar experience with my first born wanting to go natural and ending in an emergency C-Section, I still get a little sad over it and it’s been over 4 years. In Greece they don’t allow you to do a VBAC so I had to have another C-Section at least the 2nd time around I had time to get used to the idea.

    • Wow, thanks for sharing Mara. Great to have a visitor from Greece! I’ve been there and it is a truly magical place. And Greek people are so beautiful! Anyway, I’m surprised they don’t allow you to do VBACs in Greece because so many other European countries are quite advanced when it comes to childbirth. I’m sorry you didn’t get the experience you wanted either. It’s hard, isn’t it?

  5. Thanks for sharing your story. I love birth stories! I had a natural birth as far as no epidural, but had to have pitocin since my water broke but no contractions! I had a traumatic experience after my baby came out…because she wasn’t breathing! 🙁 She went through A LOT (way too much to begin to describe) but praise God He has completely healed her! She is just perfect, of course!! 🙂

    • Oh, Hannah, that would be very traumatic. I’m so glad your little girl is healed now, what a blessing. I think it helps all of us to share our stories, doesn’t it? Even the ones who have good stories enjoy sharing because it’s such a deeply personal, almost magical experience.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your birth story. I now they aren’t always easy to talk about. My first was textbook as far as everything went. But I was 19, unmarried and had no idea that I didn’t have to have drugs. I went into labor at 2:30 am and some time around 6 pm I think they gave me drugs w/o asking if I wanted them. Now I say I think because at first I was given some basic painkillers and then they gave me an epidural. I fell asleep from so much painkilling power. In fact I was told I was asleep when I pushed my daughter out. She was born at 11 pm with fluid in her lungs. I didn’t get to see her until 2:30 am the next day. My second, I knew better I did the research. I had a normal OB and a month before the “due date” my son dropped.. onto my cervix. It made walking very difficult. So a week before the “due date” I went in to be induced since I was already 3cm dilated. At 2:30 am on the day I was to be induced (so funny how that number gives showing up) I started labor. My son was born naturally w/o any drugs at 5:35 am. Two hours BEFORE I was to be induced. I only had to push once. Sadly in between my kids I had a miscarriage and being anemic, died from bloodless as the fetus was stuck in my cervix. I didn’t even know I was pregnant. I was 10 weeks along. I was depressed for about a year, and my best friend told me to read ‘Twilight’. Oddly enough, it got me out of my funk. and Now I look at my kids (6 and 2) and know how special they are and can’t wait to have more!

    • Wow, Krystal, what a story you have! I can’t believe it was Twilight of all things that got you out of your funk. I hope you are able to have as many children as you want, and you and they both continue to be healthy! Thank you for sharing your story. 🙂

  7. You are a little disappointed, i can understand. i will tell you, I am not so courageous like you. You are a real tough cookie to go through all those hours of pain. Glad that you and baby are healthy.

  8. Just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story. It is so important to hear real stories about women’s responses to a traumatic birth, and so vital that awareness is raised, so women can understand what has happened to them, and begin to heal. Just wanted to offer our blog as a resource – it is called “The Truth about Traumatic Birth – what you need to know on the healing journey”, and some of your readers may find some support and understanding there for their own experiences. We are in Australia and run free “Healing From Birth” meetings, after my own traumatic birth 12 years ago. I have also gone on and had two empowering, wonderful births, with much support and healing prior to them. Best wishes as you prepare to meet your new baby, Melissa from

    • Oh, I’m so glad you found my post! I will be happy to share you site with my readers on my Facebook page. What a wonderful thing that you have a support group for traumatic births. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your site with me. Support is always a good thing.

  9. Thank you for sharing! I had something similar…

    I really wanted to have a natural labor, but at 42 weeks I agreed to an induction. I had pre-term labor at 24 weeks so from 24-37 weeks I was on anti-contraction meds. I believe that those meds stayed in my system because after 24 weeks I never felt a contraction (real or BH) until after being maxed out on Pitocin. (The Dr said that’s not really possible, but I disagree entirely. I take very little medicine in general, and when I do it is almost always in half-doses because that seems to be all my body needs.)

    Thursday night I went to the hospital and they hooked me up to the Pitocin. All night and all morning Friday they kept upping the dose. Nothing was happening. I had one nurse comment that she’d never seen someone receive so much. Eventually the Dr declared it maxed out and suggested breaking my water. (Because I was already at 42 weeks–and positive of that–no-one thought it best to wait. And like I said before, because of the previous meds I really doubted that my body was going to start labor on its own.) So around 3 pm (Friday) they broke my water.

    Wow, did the contractions start then! Keep in mind that I had a steady drip of Pitocin running into my arm, so the contractions were intense and non-stop. I literally mean non-stop. I could barely catch my breath in-between them. I really wanted to walk around and stand during this time, and I was allowed to for a little while, but the nurses noticed that my baby’s heartbeat got really crazy when I walked around so they confined me to my bed. That was horrible. My body was screaming to move around and I couldn’t. Obviously, I didn’t want to do anything that might harm my baby so I stayed put.

    After 11 hours of non-stop contractions I gave in and asked for an epi. I was very happy that the nurses and drs never pushed for it, and I was the one who made the decision, but I was rather devastated by it. I felt like I failed. But oh, wow, the relief! I had the type where I could control how much medicine it gave me–they said I could push the button once every 15 minutes, so I did it once every 45. Again, my body responded well to that and I wasn’t in pain.

    After having the epi and they check me I was so disheartened to hear that I was only at 5 cm! After 11 hours of excruciating pain I felt like I should have been at least close! Saturday’s wee hours were rough, I wasn’t in the constant pain, thanks to the epi, but I wasn’t progressing either. (I was also starving but they wouldn’t let me eat anything!)

    Finally, at 2:30 Saturday afternoon the dr gently suggested that it was time for a c-section. Since my water had been broken the day before they didn’t want infection to sink in and the baby was starting to show signs of early distress. By 3:30 Catherine was in her Daddy’s arms.

    Recovery was pretty rough. I couldn’t stand up straight for two days. Nothing went as “planned” but I did get a beautiful little girl out it! (And oh my goodness, did she have “cone-head” from being in the birth canal so long!)

    • Wow, Rachel, thank you so much for sharing your story. That is incredible – you endured so much and we totally understand each other’s disappointment, don’t we? You did what was right for you and the baby – especially to be 42 weeks along. I think some women’s bodies are just meant for giving birth, and others aren’t, no matter what we do. I’m sorry recovery was so hard for you. How old is your baby now? I’m so glad she was born healthy. Thanks again for sharing!

  10. Thanks for sharing your story. It is somewhat similar to my experience. I didn’t have a midwife but I did go into the labor process thinking I would pass on the epidural & my labor would take no longer than 1 day. I was either too optimistic or in total denial. After days in labor (the last day or so I don’t even remember) my mom begged me to get the epidural. More laboring after the epidural & like you, I ended up going into an emergency c-section. Which I was totally unprepared for since the possibility hadn’t even crossed my mind. Well, my ten & a half pound daughter had been stuck the entire time. I’m glad it all worked out for you, the first & second & soon to be third time 🙂

    • Hi Nicole! Thanks for stopping by to share your story. Emergency c-sections are so hard, aren’t they? But my gosh! 10 1/2 pounds? No wonder she couldn’t come out! You’d have to be a giant for that to happen. How old is your baby now?

    • Yeah, having a newborn is hard enough but especially hard when you can’t leave your bed for a week. Everyone including the doctors were astonished at her size (especially since I’m a whopping 5’3). She is now 2 & a half … & still a Giant 🙂

  11. I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog today 🙂 I love hearing birthstories!
    My first 2 births were unplanned c-sections. With my daughter, I was induced a week early, my doc feared she was going to be big and my blood pressure had started to creep up. I had a reaction to the induction meds & had contractions that were lasting 15 min or longer, & didn’t dilate at all. She was 8lbs 14oz.
    With my first son, I was induced again, using different meds (over due), laboured for 10 hours, made it to 1cm, my doc said he was too big and time for c-section. He was 9lbs 5oz.
    I too was depressed after. People would comment about how EASY c-sections were, like somehow it is a pain-free procedure! They had no idea that I was considering myself a failure, add on top of that the trouble I had breastfeeding, I couldn’t make it past 6wks. Someone even said that this was probably for the best, as it must mean that I couldn’t handle the pain of natural childbirth. I stopped talking about it with anyone other than my husband, they just didn’t understand.
    Then, surprise! #3 was on his way. I was determined not to have a 3rd section. After a lot of research on VBACs, I found an amazing doctor in our area. He was very positive and encouraging that I could do it. I tried to maintain a stress free pregnancy, ate very healthy, walked daily. I went past my due date (my doc was not big on induction) and finally contractions started on their own. 4 hrs later my water broke(first time for me) and we were on our way to the hospital! I laboured 8 more hrs and started becoming very stressed. I was so worried that things were not progressing well, even though by this time I was 5cm (furthest I ever got). My doc finally suggested getting an epidural to help me relax, my anxiety was making me stall. So, exhausted, I gave in and got the epidural. I slept on and off for 7 hrs and when I woke, I was at 8cm! Another hour and I was at 10cm!!! I couldn’t believe I had made it. My doc let me rest for about an hour before pushing, me and baby were doing great, so no rush. After 20hrs of labour and an hour of pushing, I had my 8lb 10oz baby boy in my arms and a successful VBA2C! I couldn’t believe how good I felt after! I still had difficulty breastfeeding but I’m coming to terms with that.

  12. I’m new to your site and just read your birth story. I, too, had a traumatic birth story very similar to yours. I had decided to go the natural route with our son (only child who is now 2 yrs), using a midwife and birthing center. A few days before my due date, my water broke unexpectedly and very painful contractions began immediately. I labored at home 2 days before the midwife said I was ready to go to the birth center. Got to the birth center and spent about 15 hrs in labor there. I just couldn’t push him out and ended up exhausting myself into delirium. I had to ride in the car to the hospital, sitting on my son’s head that was stuck right in the birth canal. After that agony, I was wheeled into a labor room and my midwife, who was somewhat afraid of doctors, pretty much bailed on me. She didn’t step up to help or comfort me. The only assistance we got was from her student assistant. She stayed with my husband and actually cried with him as they wheeled me off alone to an emergency c-section. I spent a total of 60 hours in unmedicated labor. I was knocked out during the c-section and therefore, did not experience my son being born and didn’t get to see him until he was about 4 or 5 hours old. It turns out my pelvic girdle was too narrow and he was stuck for hours. My midwife told me after the fact that she was afraid this might happen b/c my hips are narrow, but she never told me of this before during the pregnancy. His head was badly injured but he healed well from it. I was severely dehydrated and exhausted. I ended up struggling with post-partum anxiety due in large part to the trauma I experienced. Plus, we live 800 miles away from our families and I had no help whatsoever and a very hard time recovering physically from the surgery. My son is 2 years old now and I am still dealing with emotionally recovery from this. I feel like my midwife abandoned me in a way. She never told me there might be a problem with delivery, she never talked to me about what to expect if something didn’t go right, and she froze up in the hospital instead of advocating for me. She is an elderly lady who has been a midwife for decades and considered an expert in this area. I just don’t understand. I wanted to write and thank you for sharing your story as it is so similar to mine. I’m surrounded by mamas who have easy midwife assisted births and it is so hard to feel like an outcast; like I did something wrong. Your story made me feel like I’m not so alone.

    • Hi Beth, wow. Just wow. Thank you for being willing to pour out your heart here on my blog. I know your story will help many more moms, like mine helped you. I can’t believe how similar our stories are! You had such a traumatic experience, so I’m not surprised that even two years later you’re still working through it. My heart truly goes out to you. What really helped me to move on was to have another baby, which sounds funny. And like I share in the article, it was a successful V-BAC! Who wouldn’t thought. Now I’m due in just three weeks with baby #3 and I’m totally at peace with labor – I will let it take it’s course and do not have strong expectations. I realize I am just not in control. Blessings to you, friend. I hope you can find some support and listening ear to help you heal.

  13. It’s weird reading your experience because I had something similar. Went in the hospital on Friday and my son wasn’t born until early Sunday morning. Had planned a normal delivery – pushed for 4 hours and they used everything they could find to try to get him out but he kept popping back in. They went ahead and gave me an episiotomy and after all that had to have an emergency C-section.

    I had a reunion with my birthing classmates and we met up to talk with a class of expectant parents to share our experiences with them. I told the RN that was teaching the class that she did not want me to scare them but she told me to tell my story anyway. She was shocked and said that she had helped deliver over 10,000 babies and I was like only the 3rd person that she had heard of, that had that happen. Needless to say, my 2nd delivery went fine – had another C-section but it was planned and there was no surprise this time around. Good luck with this delivery!

  14. I had planned on a completely natural childbirth with my first, but that evidently wasn’t what God had in mind. Somehow, we survive; thankful to be finally holding our precious little ones, despite the trauma we just endured. If you ever have a moment, you can read about my birthing experience with my first here:

    My second went a LOT more smoothly. Knowing that I was unable to dilate or be induced successfully (and considering my high blood pressure), he was a planned C-section. MUCH more pleasant experience!

    But then I had issues breastfeeding (I’m just not “wired” that way, evidently) and I caught a lot of flack for bottle feeding. (If it’s not one thing, it’s another, right?) Thankfully, I received more support when I had #2 from other moms in our new church during that time. Support is CRUCIAL.

    Congratulations on baby #3! I pray everything goes smoothly for you on that very special day.
    Jenn M. recently posted..Working With DaddyMy Profile

  15. My son was breech, so even though we hired a doula and made a birth plan, and I did everything to try to turn him around, we ended up with a C-sec. It took a good week to cry myself to that conclusion, and I also had issues postpartum with breastfeeding and guilt and bonding. Looking at my perfect loud, crazy toddler now, I feel like I want to do better with my issues next time, but I’m not sure what that is. Is that a VBAC with risk of trauma, or a c-sec, knowing my doctors are amazing? Thanks for your story. It’s pretty amazing how many women have such war stories for every wonderful miraculous birth!
    ChiWei recently posted..CAL: Pick a ProjectMy Profile

  16. Thank you for letting me feature you in a First Born Birth Story Collection!
    Nicolette Roux @ Powerful Mothering recently posted..First Born Birth Story CollectionMy Profile

  17. I just discovered your website, and I love it. Just referred a client here for the Gripe/Fennel water recipe:)
    Enjoyed reading this birth story. Sad to say I see some births take a wrong turn and it’s so hard on the mother, and the family. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Reading this made me tear up as I went through a similar birthing experience and am still attempting to come to terms with it (4 months later). I have thought about VBAC but am simply terrified. You have given me hope and made me feel quite normal for feeling so discouraged about my failure to have the birth I truly wanted. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Hi Katrina! I’m so glad my story could help you. That makes it so worthwhile. In time, I was able to come to terms with it and I’m sure you will, too. It feels similar to grieving – you have to grieve for what you didn’t get, for what didn’t happen. My heart goes out to you!

  19. Thanks for sharing! Loved reading that your second birth was so much easier. After having a fairly traumatic experience myself, I sometimes fear another baby. It’s good to be reminded that every birth is different. Postpartum was VERY difficult for me…mentally, emotionally, physically. I agree that going through hard times helps us to encourage others who have similar experiences. I feel more empowered now to help other women going through difficult postpartum healing. Thanks for the encouragement!

  20. Wow! Thanks for sharing your birth story. It’s so refreshing and honest! I can’t believe what you endured! And that photo of your babe’s poor head from the delivery, ouch! I came to your site to find information about essential oils and have found myself getting sucked in. I can’t resist a good birth story 🙂

  21. Jessysage says:

    I think your story can help people look at realities. I went into my first delivery wanting as close to natural as I could get i was induced due to gestational diabetes ( I was aware that induction reduces ones chances for natural delivery, but I had follow the policies of my hospital, and had chose my doctor who allowed my to actually drink liquids during labor…something they won’t all do and something that helps natural delivery, and worked with me. So I planed to do what I could to make sure we went through labor, my doctor discussed decisions with me and we worked well together. So I had a great doctor who used some balloon think to kick start labor 12 hours before giving me pitocin. (I was actually in labor when I got to the hospital, before the balloon thing but still went through the procedure and pitocin to keep things moving and it did well I did not need medication pain came on gradually as it is supposed to do and progressed slowly unfortunately I hit 7 cm and barely effaced and sat that way for several hours, baby wasn’t even coming down. I moved walked, and nothing was improving or moving things along. I was doing everything I could to move things along and nothing was happening.

    I had had my own cautionary tale in the shape of my sister in law who nearly killed herself refusing a c section and in the process almost lost her daughter. in fairness to her husband was sleeping in the hall a fact she is still un aware of because of pain and perhaps just denial. I do not believe her medical team ever should have let it get so far that they almost lost both mother and child. She couldn’t deliver naturally, I don’t know if it was because of having had a broken pelvis years before, or perhaps because my niece was all head, or maybe a combination but she was stuck and not coming out.

    So when the doctor suggested we try an epidural occasionally women are so tense that they relax and a baby will come right out with this, ( I had read this and was aware of it) I agreed. My doctor made it clear that she did not think I was this patient…she thought it was likely we were headed into a c-section, but we would give the epidural a chance, usually the women this works on are not moving and actively doing much. So we tried it nothing happened other than the pain went away. So after a little over 24 hours of labor my little guy was born in the operating room via c-section…he was wrapped up in the cord several times so all he could do was move side to side… he just couldn’t drop.
    The grieving I had to do was over trying a VBAC with my second child…I wanted one badly but you have to have 18 months between them. My boys are only 15 months apart, and once you have 2 C-sections they take that option away. I could have looked into going to a big city high risk facility and tried to see if there were any doctors that would do it for me, but the truth was I love my doctor…a place has to fit into our insurance and based on my other sister-in-laws experiences in big city high risk facilities I just didn’t think that option would work for me either. We had known that we needed 18 months to have a V Bac but it had taken us so long to get pregnant the first time that I had really thought I would be okay with a c-section if we got pregnant right away…turns out It was hard to accept.
    Any way open minded is the only way to go into delivery, plan natural all the way and know options and consequences of your choices.

    • Thank you for sharing your story! I so agree with your perspective – there are many mamas who do delivery naturally, whether well prepared or not. I think it has a lot to do with your bone structure and health, but at the end of the day, safety is so important!

  22. California Dreaming says:

    I planned a drug-free birthing center birth. I wanted to have a home birth, and my husband wanted me to give birth in a hospital, so we compromised on a birthing center across from the local hospital. However, when my water broke and I was not having any contractions three days later, I mentally prepared myself to lose my intervention-free birthing center birth. I called the birthing center midwives and they said that it was best to head into the hospital, likely to be induced. When I called the hospital, they said to come in and let’s see what we can do. I packed a small hospital bag and my husband drove us to the hospital. When I headed into triage, they said that I was 1cm dilated. I asked them if I could still have my natural, intervention-free birth. They said no. I was hooked up to an IV and fetal monitors, but they gave me Cervidil first. When that didn’t work, they inserted a Foley balloon, which also failed. Finally, they put Pitocin in my IV and said that they would break the “rest” of my water. I asked, “Wasn’t that everything?” They replied no. Around hour seven of Pitocin, by which time I was four centimeters dilated, and in active labor, my baby started having late decelerations during contractions. Her heart was barely coming up again after contractions. My OB decided on a C-section. By then it was a pure emergency. The anesthesiologist came in and asked my OB if there was time for an epidural. The OB shook her head. I was put under general anesthesia and when baby was born she was just as sedated as I was! She had to be taken to the NICU and stayed there four days, which was how long I was in the hospital after my C-section.
    Until twenty months postpartum, I was sure I would never have another baby. I warmed up to the idea, and two years postpartum, I was pregnant with my second baby. I was sure I wanted a repeat C-section, but my same OB said that if I wanted to have a big family (until my first birth, I wanted to have ten kids), I should attempt a VBAC. I ended up choosing to have a hospital VBAC with an epidural. I was successful! My baby boy was born after thirteen hours of labor
    Pregnant with my third child, I was open to natural birth. I had a natural birthing center birth, what I had planned with my firstborn. All went well, and my second baby girl was born after ten hours of labor and a successful 2VBAC.
    With my fourth child, I finally convinced my husband to let me attempt an HBAC. I finally had a homebirth with eight hours of labor. It was my second baby boy.
    My last child (so far!), my fifth baby, was also going to be a 2HBAC, a 4VBAC, but I was experiencing stalled labor and around hour twenty-five, baby turned breech when I was 6cm dilated. I could feel kicks on my lower uterus, and I told my midwife, who said the baby was likely breech and that we would have to transfer to the hospital. At the hospital, my suspicions were confirmed. I was given spinal anesthesia for my CBA3VBAC. I asked for a clear drape instead of a solid one. I saw my third baby born. After surgery, my OB revealed that my uterus had started to open along my cesarean scar, an early-stage uterine rupture. She said that if I would like to have more children, I would have to have repeat cesareans.
    Knowing that each cesarean increases your risk of placenta issues, I have decided not to have any more children. I was not traumatized by my last birth even though it was not what I planned. I got to see my baby born through a clear drape. I have also made peace with not being conscious for my firstborn’s birth. She is now ten years old and I am two years postpartum from my last baby.

    • Wow, thanks for sharing your birthing stories with us! You experienced every type of birth there is! I’m glad you were able to have the home birth you so longed for :). But also happy that even though you had to have 2 c-sections, both you and the babies were healthy and did well. It’s so nice to have the option to choose a home birth or VBAC, but also great to have medical intervention when necessary. Blessings to you and your large brood!

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