Birth Stories

One of my favorite things to share with other moms is birth stories. I truly love them– the more detail the better as far as I am concerned.  I want it all: the fate of the mucus plugs, the harried spouses passing out, the intrusive in-laws.  I can’t imagine ever getting tired of hearing how other women brought children into the world.

And, every time I hear a story, I hold my breath: Did she or didn’t she?  While I hope that other mothers have the births of their dreams (even though I don’t know anyone who did, especially the first time), I hold my breath with each new story because there’s the potential of finding someone else who had a C-Section.  I find myself still longing for other mothers to commiserate with over unplanned C-Sections.

No, I don’t want to dwell on it, but I still feel pangs of disappointment and unexplained (and ungrieved) sadness about how scary, unexpected, and hard-to-recover-from my C-Sections were. Every now and I think I find a mother whose story sounds like mine— “We waited as long as we could, but then they handed me the papers to sign and gave me a spinal and I had a C-Section.”

Check out my new post here at wherein I give in to mourning about the C-Sections that resulted in two beautiful healthy children.

Scar garden  Image by

Scar garden– not my stomach, but it’s pretty flat so I kind of wish it was.
Image by

Funny, I don’t mind the scar at all, though I am digging the idea of C-Section tattoos (if only I weren’t afraid of needles and permanent ink).  My kids love to touch my scar and ask me about it. When they do, we talk about how they came into the world and I am in touch with every ounce of joy I am capable of feeling.  But to you, people whom I didn’t give birth to, I can say–“Man, it was a bummer to have C-Sections, and I still don’t understand why that disappointment/pain/sadness runs so deep.”


40 thoughts on “Birth Stories

  1. Did you ever read Katie Hurley’s piece on Huff Po patents about her elective C-section? Almost as beautiful and honest as yours on I had no idea there were feelings out there like this. A lot of people dont talk about their birth stories, or if they do it is all factual and less emotional. I just assumed everyone who had sections, planned or not, looked down on us vag birthers with disgust, like we were ruined and they were still as perfect as before. Thank you for sharing.

    • NO, it’s a deep sorrow of mine (I can’t just imagine someone telling me to go get a real sorrow, but it’s real to me) that I didn’t get to have that experience. I dreamed of the pushing and the bringing forth of my babies. both of them. It’s a weird sorrow. I am going to see Katie’s piece now.

  2. Birth plans…Let Go and Let God…
    I went on bedrest at 22 weeks and delivered at 30 weeks, a mere 62 days in the hospital on bedrest. Of those 8 weeks, I spent 3 weeks in the Trendelenburg position with my legs a good 10% higher than my head and couldn’t leave my bed (yes, I used a bed pan and my husband washed and brushed out my hair). My birth plan was left in my car that I used to check myself in by way of OnStar as I forgot my cell phone and had to be guided to a hospita, asl I had yet to tour for my upcoming birth. My babies are medical miracles in today’s standards and am blessed! That being said, I await the blogs about handling sassiness from your children. 🙂

    • I’m loving this story and it sounds agonizing. Bed pans? I wish I knew you then. Ida bought you a nightgown and wiped your brow.

      And my kids won’t be sassy. Will they?

  3. I know many women who have had unexpected C-sections, and usually there is quite a bit of grief involved, even though of course they know they did what they had to do. One friend in particular wished for homebirths and had three C-sections instead, one of which was a dire emergency because her uterus had ruptured along the previous scar. It’s hard. Love to you.

    I collect birth stories… if you’re interested, click on and find the c-section tag.

  4. I do like the fact that your children are interested in your scar, and that it brings up the topic of how they each came into the world. It’s a nice visual for them, I think. That was my first thought… guess I must be in an optimistic mood… 🙂 Kat

  5. I think that every mom has sorrow over something — for me, it is that I only successfully nursed my second child. My first was a lazy eater who injured me to the point that my boobs would run away screaming when they saw him, hoarding all the milk for no good reason. With the twins, I tried for weeks, but one was losing weight too fast and the other was jaundiced, so I had to supplement. I sucked at pumping and feeding and finally quit that when I was pumping three times to make one bottle per baby. In reality, I’m mad at myself and my body for not meeting the expectations of my heart. My brain knows my kids are fine and perfect even though they weren’t all nursed for 29 months like child #2. But my heart still thinks I should have done better.

  6. I had a C-section and, although I occasionally have pangs of disappointment, I really don’t regret it all that much. I feel strongly that I “tried” (whatever THAT means, after 20 hours of labor), but I also feel that I actually could have done thing naturally if it weren’t for all that effing Pitocin I was given. And going into labor, I KNEW I didn’t want Pitocin… but I still okay-ed it eventually because, at that point, it seemed relatively harmless. Clearly my judgment was off.

    But what’s done is done, I did my best with the knowledge and decision-making capabilities I had at the time, and I have a beautiful daughter. At this point, it’s more important to me to focus on her future than my past.

    That being said, I’ll probably feel differently when I’m pregnant again and thinking about my next birthing experience…

  7. I had three inductions so I can’t say I’ve had the stories the other women have had. I actually like it planned myself.

  8. I didn’t have a C section. I know they are awful recoveries. And I’m sorry you didn’t get the births you wanted. What I love is that your children love to touch and ask about your scar then you can tell “their” story.

    I was a pro-drug girl 23 years ago when everyone else wanted to do it au naturale. Nope. Not me! I wanted everything they could give me. But Elmhurst Hospital, back then, shared their anesthesiologist (yes, only one on call) with the ER. Damn it if a car accident victim didn’t come in and cause me to birth without anything. The next time around, I made sure I took everything they offered and they thought I was nuts for obsessing over a spinal but I was a little psycho.

  9. I soooooooo feel your pain! There will always and forever be a part of me that feels let down that my body somehow didn’t ‘work’ right. And, what I didn’t tell you when you asked me about my VBAC before Simon was born is that that was also a huge disappointment. Labor failed to progress (after 60 hours of labor I was at 4 cm, and still there 6 hours later), and ended up having pitocin, an epidural (which only worked on 1/2 my body–I think not having one at all might have been better) and the vacuum extractor. AND, the recovery from that was WORSE than my c-section recovery. So even though son #2 came out (sort of) the old-fashioned way, I don’t feel like his birth was in any way more natural than the c-section with son #1.

    Maybe sometime we should get together and share our birth stories, and then we can be sad together, despite our healthy children.

    • Yes. This is exactly what I’m talking about. It’s about my body failing me and the deep sorrow about that. I had no idea it was so intense with your second. Let’s definitely get together some day. You were so inspiring as I headed into my vbac! Still are!

  10. I fear a c section and would never elect to have one…only if necessary. I know I would be scarred, more than just on my belly. I do find birth stories amazing though and will gladly share mine….I will have a new story come July! Birth was the most life chsnging event, I must say.

  11. Beautiful piece, C. I support you in taking as long as you need to grieve and make room for more joy, especially as you are birthing a new kind of baby now. Joy. Has a nice ring to it!

  12. Thank you for the opportunity to hear these birth stories :). My family was built through adoption and mine was like a Lifetimr Movie! The first part was fantastic and then 18 months later it went to hell. You might find my story interesting and I’m sharing it at Bonbon Break next week . Emotional for sure 🙂

  13. Do you want to punch me if I tell you after both of my c’s that my scar is gone? It’s actually pretty strange. Like if the weird stretch marks due to the twins (thanks again, guys) weren’t there- it’d be like pregnancy never happened at all. Bizarre thought.

  14. I had the exact birth experience I wanted, and even faster than I planned for (all natural, 4 hours start to finish for my 1st child- yes, I’m an alien)- I always cringe telling other mothers that though because most do not have that experience. However, I then remember that we had to undergo IUI to become pregnant in the first place and I wonder how I will tell our daughter that while her birth was “natural” her conception was not. I like to think it makes your story unique 😉

    • I love the stories like yours too. I like to know it’s possible. Like when I meet people whose children are “great sleepers.” It gives me hope even though it may never be my experience. 4 hours…that’s amazing.

      On Mon, Mar 11, 2013 at 10:27 AM, Outlaw Mama

  15. My friend Shalini was just posting about birth stories here:
    And lots of people linked to birth stories in the comments. Mine are there too- I had an emergent c-section with my first (both baby’s lungs were collapsed) and I’ve had 2 VBACs since then.
    (I’m totally addicted to birth stories, by the way. I just love them.)

  16. My first was so breech (one foot by his face, crammed in my ribs, another foot on my cervix) that even Ina Mae herself wouldn’t deliver him. So scheduled C. Disappointing but surmountable. Healing from a C was easy compared with the VBAC a few years later. After 41 hours of labor, pulled a muscle in my back at 10cm and caved, sobbing, to epidural because I couldn’t concentrate on the contractions past the pulled muscle. 47 hours before the stitching. Tore so badly the stitching took almost an hour and I couldn’t walk without pain for 18 weeks. No joke. I still consider that VBAC a huge failure because I caved on the drugs which led to interventions which led to the tearing. It’s my fault because I failed.
    Nice baggage, eh? You should see *that* scar.

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