Coming to Terms with my First Birth

I didn’t have a birth plan with Bug.  I knew enough to know that nothing goes according to plan, so what’s the point?  I wanted to try natural childbirth but wasn’t opposed to an epidural.  The only thing I didn’t want- a C-Section.  (Guess what I got?)

But I’m jumping ahead of myself.

At the end of the day, I wasn’t nervous about labor until my water broke.  Then I kept waiting for the contractions to start wondering how bad they were going to be.  (I didn’t have any Braxton Hicks with Bug.)  I didn’t have any contractions until we got checked in at the hospital.  They started slowly and we were quickly encouraged to start walking the halls.

Hours later, nothing.

They recommended Pitocin.  I didn’t have to take it, but if I wasn’t progressing within the next few hours, it was going to be STRONGLY suggested.  I figured why wait.

Oh mother.  I very quickly learned what a REAL contraction feels like.

Hours and hours later, still nothing.

My heart started palpitating as I knew what was coming.  The dreaded c-section.
I still don’t know why it makes me SO nervous.  Sure, they are cutting you open, but SO MANY people have had them. (My mother had two.)  But it made me nervous. And scared.  Ok, mostly scared.

I was a nervous wreck.  Ya know those women on the Baby Story that are all calm, cool and collected?  I wasn’t one of them.  Bless my wonderful husband for doing his damndest to distract me while they took my precious WonderBug from me.  It wasn’t cool and it most certainly wasn’t collected.  He had me reciting directions to the mall from our house, how to get from our bedroom to the upstairs bathroom…anything to make me think in steps and avoid thinking about the technicalities of what was taking place at the time.

Then Bug was born.  My husband cried.  I cried.  I didn’t get to see him as he had swallowed the meconium and had to be rushed out before he took his first breath.  But oh, when he cried!  It was breathtakingly beautiful.

And then I sent my husband off to be with the baby.  I felt awful.  I had the typical post-birth shakes and all I wanted to do was vomit.  Not anything I wanted my husband to see.  Then?  Then I freaked out.

I wasn’t in pain.  But I felt way more pressure than I was comfortable with and I literally freaked out.  The anesthesiologist said he would give me a little something…and I woke up an hour or so later.

I don’t remember seeing my son for the first time.  I was groggy and in a daze.  Thank God there are pictures (I look a hot mess but I guess it really doesn’t matter.) I can’t remember when I actually got to hold him.  It wasn’t what I envisioned at all.

I hadn’t realized how unhappy I was with the whole experience until we started talking about baby #2. I suddenly realized I wanted a VBAC.  I wanted it bad.

I want to be able to hold my child immediately afterward and REMEMBER it.  I was robbed of that memory….but I need to let that go.  Bug was healthy…IS healthy. He was safe.  That’s all that mattered.

Whatever happens this time, I know it will be different.  Maybe not better or worse, but it will different.  Again, all that matters is the safe, healthy birth of my baby girl by whatever means are necessary.

But I hope I get my memory.  I’m going to cross my fingers and toes and say a few prayers.

Heck, I might even wish on a falling star.


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  1. Shellie says

    I had a VBAC with Bryson, but because the Epi did not take I was given IV meds and was so foggy, hazzy I don't remember his arrival. I have to rely on DH to tell me what happened & to answer questions for me as we went to have Maison.

    We were again induced, they gave me IV meds before the Epi to help me relax, the Epi wasn't perfect but knocked the edge off. After my water was broke it was no time at all and he was here. I was more alert, and remember his arrival.

    Good luck with her arrival, I hope you get your memory of her arrival.

  2. Matt says


    I too had a c-section with my first baby and was able to VBAC with my second. You will definitely not regret your decision. The VBAC was the easiest thing in the world compared to the c-section. I had Ansley within 15 minutes of pushing. One thing is the won't give you pitocin to get things going. They want your body to do it naturally and on its own. However, they did give me a little bit to make my contractions closer together. It was amazing to be able to experience it the natural way. I wish you the best of luck with your VBAC and pray your experience is as successful and gratifying as mine.


  3. Marty, a.k.a. canape says

    Nothing like crying over your computer first thing Monday morning. It breaks my heart for you.

    I'm so impressed that you can voice this. I think our society doesn't want to hear from women that they were unhappy with a birth experience because your baby was born healthy and happy, right? Just shut up and be thankful.


    I have a wonderful doula I can recommend – and I would highly recommend one. It took both my husband and my doula to keep them from cutting me open with Christopher. I had the same thing – water broken and 14 hours later, no contractions. Then 14 hours of pit and still nothing. You get the picture.

    I'm so rooting for you!!! Make it happen, Erin. You are in charge here. Get the facts. Make sure it's safe for you to do so that you feel confident in your decision. And GO FOR IT!

    Because even though the healthy baby is the most important part of all of this, it doesn't mean that the mamas aren't important too. And having a more natural birth experience is good for both of you.

    At the very least, come out the other side feeling like you were in control this time – however your daughter is born, make sure that you are heard and respected. You deserve that.

    Much love. Much much love coming your way.

  4. The Shopping Mama says

    I'm so sorry that Bug's birth didn't go as you wish. We spend nine months – or our whole lives – waiting for that moment when the baby arrives and I think in many ways it's never all it's cracked up to be.

    I do hope that your second time around is better for you and that you get to do a VBAC. I'll be rooting for you!

  5. Andrea says

    Erin I am right there with you! (if you have an hour you can read my birth story on the blog under popular posts). I just want you to know that I am rooting for you and hoping/praying that you get the birth you want this time around. I'll be trying for a VBAC too. Also, I read a ton of books the first time around. Two that were really helpful were The Big Book of Birth by Erica Lyon (currently re-reading it) and Baby Catcher which is just full of really great and encouraging birth stories about a midwife in Berkeley. Anyway, as you can see I would love to chat any time :-)

  6. Lolli says

    It's funny, but every single time I went into have a baby (I have 5) I said, "This time the birth will be different. This time, it will go my way!" I never had my "perfect labor" but I had 5 perfect babies, and that's more than I ever could have hoped for. :)

  7. @sweetbabboo says

    Oh Erin, I hope you get what you want.

    I admire any woman willing to stand-up and say "I want to try for a VBAC."


  8. Marketing Mama says

    Lolli, I definitely don't expect it to go my way…but I do hope to have a bit more control and also go in with a better understanding of what I can and cannot ask for. I think I was a bit clueless the first time around (as are most of us!) I figure I need to just "let go"

  9. Shell says

    I hope you can get that memory…but if not: a healthy baby is all that matters.

    With my first, I had him SO FAST. I was in the hospital for less than an hour when he was born: fully dialated when I got there. My second was a little less rushed, but not much.

    My third, I was induced so I didn't have him on the side of the road. I never thought I wanted to be induced or have an epidural, but when I did with my third, it was the most relaxed of all the births.

  10. Fiona @banteringblonde says

    All three of my births were very different… I also deliver fast and was induced with all three (the first because my water broke early) and while I do have memories, they are a little hazy…. best wishes for safe and healthy delivery!

  11. all.things.fadra says

    I had a scheduled C-section because my son was breech. I had options but in the end felt it was the best choice for me and for the baby (all other options had a risk of emergency c-section at a much earlier date). I cried. It changed everything that I wanted. But I had time to prepare and come to terms with it. I think many woman have to make the decision during labor while the emotions are flowing. I can't even imagine. Just prepare yourself for whatever may happen as you know you can get through anything.

  12. Calliope says

    I didn't have a birth plan with my son. It took me five years to successfully become pregnant so I had learned that when it came to my body I didn't have much control. Basically my plan was, "give birth". Just a week after my due date my water broke at home and had meconium in it. I was induced and while pushing my son's heart would stop. So I had to stop and we had to do a quasi emergency c-section. I was so afraid, was in so much pain, was crying because I was in a hospital with no NICU and kept being told that my son was going to be taken away and sent to another hospital. Being single- this was just – oh it was so hard. When W was finally born and I heard that he did not need to be moved to another hospital- that all was well- I just rejoiced that he was here. And since I had done lots of laboring before the c-section I had double the healing…ugh.
    I do wonder what it must be like to not have such extra drama surrounding such a huge life event. But I was actually almost born in a helicopter and every birthday my Mother tells the story. And every year I will tell W his story. Doesn't make it easier, but it's what we've got.

    sorry for the long comment!

  13. mamikaze says

    I empathize, I had a similar experience with my first. I was allowed VBAC with my second because she was so much smaller than he sister. Then the hopital changed their VBAC policy because they don't have staff anesthesiologists. 6 weeks before my due date.

    I have come to terms with not meeting the expectations I had created for their births. I have tow great children and that's what I wanted above all.

  14. Jess says

    While I was able to have the labor that I wanted with Lea (no drugs, no IV, bathtub, whatever…), right after she was born, there were complications so I wasn't able to hold Lea right away. I barely got to see her from across the room. In fact, I was screaming and crying from so much pain (and we found out afterwards that I almost bled to death) that I now feel terrible about having my screams be the first thing my baby girl heard! I just try to remind my myself of the good parts… the parts that went the way I wanted. And I figure with my next baby (God willing) I'll be happy if just something goes my way because, like you said, it usually doesn't go as we plan. Good luck w/ your VBAC!

  15. Erin says

    After my very unexpected labor and birth with Hannah, I was devastated. It took me a long time to recover emotionally from that experience. When I got pregnant with Bridget, I knew that I wanted to go natural. I managed to go with no painkillers even though I needed pitocin to move things along. And honestly, it was all because of sheer will and stubborness. I refused to give in even as bad as the contractions got (and FYI – Pitocin contractions are a million times worse than natural ones.)

    Two resources for you: watch the movie The Business of Being Born by Ricki Lake (even though I can't stand that woman it was a great documentary) and check out this website by iCAN (International Caesarean Awareness Network)

    Also, it is not too late to hire a doula. I had one with Hannah and wished I'd had one with Bridget. Good luck honey!

  16. VanderbiltWife says

    I had every intervention except a section with my daughter (and it was threatened). I was in labor for 36 hours. I didn't realize how scarring it was until I got pregnant with my son (who is 3 weeks old). I determined that I would be in CONTROL of my birth this time. What bothered me so much about my birth with her was things were done I didn't even know about.

    So my best advice is to read, take classes, whatever you need to do to feel very educated on the path you want to take. I made all the decisions with my son's birth and despite the fact that is was supremely painful, it was very satisfying! (If they could have gotten me an epidural, I would have taken it … but my little guy was in too much of a hurry to get out.)

  17. notgettinganyyounger says

    Your post really hit home for me, as a mom who had an unexpected c-section the 2nd time around but not the first. They were such vastly different experiences and I felt robbed of so much with my 2nd – especially being able to hold her and bond with her immediately. It's quite an amazing memory.

    I hope this next birth experience gives you more of what you're hoping for – and no matter what, another healthy baby. Good luck!

  18. Jessica R. says

    I had a very similar situation with my first and I have to tell you that a repeat C-section is RADICALLY different than a c-section done after hours of labor.
    With my first I had the shakes. It was midnight. She was taken away. The post-op nurse tried to make her nurse with me lying flat on my back, then took her away and told the nursery to feed her. I kid you not.
    I didn't get my baby back until the next morning.

    With my second, I strolled into the L&D ward, got dressed, enjoyed a leisurely hour until the OR was ready. The surgery was more relaxed and the baby was only taken to be weighed and whatnot while I was sown up. She was brought right back and I nursed her right in the recovery room, skin to skin. It really was an amazing, mind-blowing day. Then she didn't release my boob for the next three months. But that's neither here nor there. :-)

    So, not to tell you what to do, but just so you know that a repeat c-section CAN be a positive experience. Honest.

  19. Melissa says

    I have 2 baby girls (they are 1 and 3). I've never had a csection but both girls passed meconium in utero and had to be immediately taken tot he NICU team. My first daughter was deemed stable rather quickly but my 2nd, it took them 20-25 minutes before they even let me hold her! I am thankful to the drs for their careful work to keep my babies safe but I cant help but feel like I would love to have felt them be placed right on me after they were born. I have never gotten to experience that. So many hands touched my babies before mine did. My husband got to see their little faces before I, their mama did. I pray that if I am ever blessed with a 3rd, he/she WON'T pass meconium so I can have that *dream*

  20. Sue says

    I feel you. I was so disappointed with my first birth; was knocked out and missed it all. I had my hopes built up for my birth with Barrett, but since I had all the pelvic issues that went out the window. I still to this day feel sadness about how my children were born. Strange right? I do though. It was not what I wanted for them or for me. Plus all I ever remember about my c-sections was all the pain I was in. I wish I was able to have a doula and have a more natural and connected birth.

    I will be sending you vibes for an awesome VBAC! You can do it and I know, no matter what happens she is going to be beautiful!


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