February 2, 2015

They lied…It matters how you birth

It matters how you birth www.bestofbabylady.com

“Well, all that matters is a healthy mom and a healthy baby.”

How many times did I hear that after giving birth? How many times did it drive me deeper into confusion and self-doubt over my son’s reception into this world? If all that mattered was a healthy mom and a healthy baby, then why was I so heart-broken?

The birth of my first child left a marked and profound impact on me. All throughout my pregnancy, I had dreamt about and planned for his arrival. It would be hard, it would be painful, but it would be beautiful and graceful. And I would rejoice. But it wasn’t and I didn’t.

We need to induce you ASAP or your baby is going to be born sick. Ok…if you say so.

We need to crank up the pitocin, or you’re going to have a c-section. Ok…if you say so.

I’m glad you did what we said, because we almost had to cut him out. Ok…if you say so.

I did what they said and in the aftermath, I was left shell-shocked. What had just happened? I didn’t give birth — birth had been done to me.

“Well, all that matters is a healthy mom and a healthy baby.”

For months I mourned his birthday. What was supposed to be one of the most extraordinary days in my life was a day that I couldn’t stop reliving, but only wanted to forget. I felt ashamed of how I’d let things happen and remorseful that I didn’t give my son a more welcoming entrance into society. Would I ever even desire another child? Would I ever willingly repeat the trauma of labor and delivery? I was stuck between a place of swearing I’d never give birth again, and wanting an encore just so I could have a shot at doing it “right”….of fixing what I wrongfully believed I had failed at the first time.

“Well, all that matters is a healthy mom and a healthy baby.”

Baby blues quickly spiraled into full blown postpartum depression. What was wrong with me? I loved my son almost more than my heart could handle and I was so grateful for the gift of being his momma. And I was healthy and had a flourishing little boy. Everyone kept telling me that’s all that matters, especially my friend who had to look into a birth injury attorney in Indianapolis after her pregnancy…so shouldn’t I just be happy?

Then I had another baby and I finally understood. They were wrong — a healthy mom and healthy baby are not all that matters. Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful that my baby was born healthy. I know so many people who have to deal with their child having a birth injury. Some of them even have to get a birth injury attorney, but I’ve realised now that there is so much more to bringing a child into this world then just having a healthy mom and a healthy baby.

Birth matters. How you give birth matters.

The second time around I had a doula who comforted and supported me. Who repeatedly reminded me that birth could be beautiful. Who believed I was designed for this. I had a midwife who encouraged me and trusted my body. Who never once debased or belittled me. Who respected me.

And I was FREE. Free to labor how I wanted…in the tub, on a ball, and even in the hospital parking lot when I needed fresh air. Free to go home even though I was 7cm dilated (only to return 30 minutes later) because emotionally, it’s what I needed. Free to give birth right there in the middle of the hospital room floor, because that’s what my body told me to do.

It was beautiful and graceful. And I rejoiced. It was lucky for me to have that, I know there are some woman who might never have that experience, some even have to use someone like these birth injury lawyers because something went wrong during their labor.

Birth matters. How you give birth matters.

Just ask the thousands of women in this country who have been bullied and coerced into a birth experience they never asked to have. Ask the thousands of women in this country who suffer from actual post traumatic stress disorder after giving birth. Ask the thousands of women who love their children deeply, but hated their birth.

A healthy baby and a healthy mom are undoubtedly the primary goal. OBVIOUSLY. And I could never ever begin to imagine the pain of those who aren’t able to achieve that goal. Their suffering is on a whole other level and incomparable.

But how you give birth matters, and our feelings surrounding the event are valid. To the mom who felt like her birth hopes unraveled and fell apart, it’s ok to mourn your birth experience. It’s ok to feel heartbroken over how you brought your baby into this world — or more pointedly said, how birth was done to you. And it’s ok to fervently pray for something different the next time around.

Because birth matters. How you give birth matters.

Not everyone can or should have a natural birth. And natural birth, while generally the safer and healthier option, isn’t necessarily the be-all and end-all. Complications arise and thank goodness for medical interventions. But as a woman, you deserve a birth experience you can feel good about. Not necessarily a perfect, natural, peaceful birth (though those are wonderful), but a birth experience where you feel supported, dignified, and respected. How you give birth matters, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

How you give birth matters, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. #birth #birthmatters @BestofBaby http://bit.ly/1DCnxsS Click To Tweet

It matters how you birth www.bestofbabylady.com

UPDATE: Thank you so much for the outpouring of support this piece received. I am humbled by those of you who told me I gave a voice to your experiences. I want to make it clear that obviously, the most important thing is a healthy mom/baby. Obviously. OBVIOUSLY. I’m not trying to claim that anything is more important…or even as important as that. But I am claiming that women have the right to have their feelings respected rather than dismissed.

Also, while I never expect everyone to agree with me, I do appreciate everyone who took the time to thoughtfully comment…whether or not you share my view point. After spending hours reading and replying to comments (thank you to everyone who commented!), I want to clarify a common misconception. This post is NOT about what kind of birth you have (c-section, natural, medicated, home, etc.), but rather about your overall birth experience and having your feelings respected thereafter. I absolutely believe you can have a c-section (and any other type of birth) and still have a positive birth experience.

Last note – Profanity and outright meanness will be deleted. Promptly.


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Iulia is a former educator turned stay-at-home mama of a spunky toddler and a squishy infant. With a touch of sass and a good dose of self-deprecating humor, she has an ever-expanding repertoire of bloopers, insights, stories, and impassioned opinions to share. Iulia likes to think she has this parenting gig figured out, but her littles remind her daily just how far from the truth that is.

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  • imfromqueenz@gmail.com'
    Reply Erica C February 11, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    All of it matters, but personally, after being on hospital bed rest for 3 weeks and still giving birth at 30 weeks, all that mattered to me was that the baby be born healthy. Fortunately my OB is extremely caring and patient. I go to him because I trust and value his opinion on all matters. But at the end of the day, I make the decisions. When you and your baby spend the first 8 weeks of life in a NICU, all that matters is the baby’s health.
    Erica C recently posted…Oops, I Didn’t Mean to Blind Leigh-Allyn Baker When I Was Interviewing Her #BadHairDayMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 14, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      Erica I’m so sorry for your experience. I’m glad you had a good OB and I hope your little one is doing better.

  • rachpayne@gmail.com'
    Reply Rachel February 12, 2015 at 4:19 am

    I disagree. Healthy babe & mom are all that matter. And I’m not talking about psycholgical affects either. There are so many different factors going into labor that we cannot control or predict. Birth plans are good & well, but in reality, unless you can telepathically communicate with the fetus, you don’t know what is going to happen during labor. Therefor, making the labor plan inefficient at best. You can desire to squat on the bed, or have a tub birth, but your babe may have other plans.

    I am super thankful that we have doctors! You won’t ever find a doula in my birthing suite. I know my rights as a mother. I also know my body, it’s thresholds, and I know when it’s time for help. I had a traumatic birth experience with my son. He came out after 24 hours of hard labor, with an emergency c section, blue & floppy, not breathing. We left the hospital 4 days later. I did suffer from ppd BUT that wasn’t just from the birth experience. That’s from the hormone crash after the pregnancy. I’m thankful for everything that happened that November day. My child is alive. I’m alive.

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 14, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      Rachel – I’m not sure I understand the doula comment. That said, I’m very sorry for your birth experience and the subsequent ppd (and yes, hormones can be a bull!). I hope you and your baby are now doing well.

  • thelesleyshow@gmail.com'
    Reply Lesley February 12, 2015 at 10:11 am

    We have the WORST C-section rates in this country, especially around the holidays when doctors have golf and vacation planned. I had such a bad experience with my second child in the hospital that I decided I would do the third birth at home – Best. Choice. Ever. I would do it again in a heartbeat. How you birth matters! You are the one who loves that baby more than anyone else, you have to take charge!

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 14, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      Our c-section rates really are shameful. All you have to do is look at those to know that not all doctors solely have the mom/baby’s well being in mind.

  • sleepingshouldbeeasy@gmail.com'
    Reply Nina February 12, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Yes and no. I think we all have our ideals of how a birth can be, but sometimes things really do come up. Things could get worse if a parent stuck to her birth plan to a T.

    Instead, I think what needs to change is the relationship between patient and doctor. If the doctor were being supportive instead of coercive as a patient might feel, then the patient will probably still have a good experience even if it was different from her ideal situation.
    Nina recently posted…How to Have a Happy Marriage (Even when You’re Busy with Kids)My Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 14, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      Nina, I completely agree with what you said! I’m grateful for medical interventions.

  • crystal@cultivateyourhealth.com'
    Reply Crystal - Prenatal Coach February 12, 2015 at 11:43 am

    YES!!!!! This is the message that I am screaming from the roof tops!! I’m so sorry this was your experience and thank you so much for sharing so other moms don’t feel so alone. I am so passionate about helping women who have had an unexpected, unwanted or traumatic birth experience heal deeply so they can find peace and resolution <3 http://prenatalcoach.com
    Crystal – Prenatal Coach recently posted…The Conscious Birth of Madison Rose – Intervention-Free Home Water Birth | PART THREE | A Father’s PerspectiveMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 14, 2015 at 9:51 pm

      Crystal – how wonderful that you are a prenatal coach! I’m sure you are really able to have an impact on other women’s lives!

  • triciais@gmail.com'
    Reply Mom of 3 February 12, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    This discussion is kind of fascinating to me – it’s very polarizing. I too am in the camp “it doesn’t matter how they were born” and I struggle to understand the guilt and depression mama’s feel about not having the birth they want. I understand and accept that for some people, birthing is a rite of passage and you have dreams, hopes and desires about how it plays out. However, the realist in me screams “be happy your baby in healthy – you’re one of the lucky ones.” I guess this debate really feels like another way to judge moms. “Oh, you had a c-section? That might alright for YOUR baby/birth. For me, I want better than that.” It always seems to be about c-sections too, I guess that’s what gets me. I am all for women why try for VBAC’s but, there is often this sense of “the only way I will be happy is if I have a vaginal birth.” I must admit, I don’t get that one at all. Having the birth you want sort of smacks of a sense of entitlement. Births are tricky and can be complicated and messy and chaotic. But, when you say it matters how you birth, it seems to suggest you are entitled for it to go the way you planned. I don’t see it that way at all. I’m not saying you can’t mourn it not going the way you want, I just don’t agree that it matters how they came into this world.

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 14, 2015 at 9:53 pm

      But my point wasn’t necessarily c-section vs. natural birth (or any other birth variation), but more so your overall experience (feeling supported, respected, etc.) That, and having your feelings valued post birth.

  • crysandlg@gmail.com'
    Reply Jen February 12, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    This post made me laugh. PTSD from giving birth which no matter what anyone says is not all puppy dogs and rainbows in the first place. If you’re going to have a baby then be prepared for pain, limited breathing, sweating and yelling curse words. Like really??? Surround yourself with loved ones, flowers and candles if you want but in those moments when contractions hit or you start to push non of that stuff is even a thought, if it is, you need help. I gave birth twice (will again soon) and I did everything the Doctors told me to do and had two healthy babies. Was everuthing they did fun? No, did I want to do it all? No, but did that traumatize me? Hell no. I went into it expecting pain and suffering in order to have a healthy baby, maybe your focus should be that and only that. Not a beautiful experience because its not beautiful until the very end when they hand you that baby the rest is gross and painful. Good lord get over yourself and be happy your baby is healthy. Natural birth, C-section, squatting over a friggin’ ball whatever as long as the baby is healthy. If you’ve suffered PTSD from giving birth then you’re weak and need a shrink yo analyze why you’re so selfish and why you set your expectations for something so painful and gross to be beautiful.

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 14, 2015 at 10:00 pm

      I don’t even know where to start with this comment. First, I never said that birth was easy. I had a natural birth with my second child and I screamed my head off. Transition was probably the worst thing I’ve ever experienced, but I still considered my birth beautiful. But that’s not the point. PTSD comes in a variety of different forms and you ABSOLUTELY can get it from a traumatic birth experience. And I’m not talking about “ooh contractions hurt” birth, that’s a given. I know people who felt the doctors cut into them during a c-section because the epidural didn’t work. That’s akin to torture…and it’s downright traumatizing. And it doesn’t stop there…there are so many horrifying labor stories (whether through medical abuse or medical necessity) and women absolutely have a right to be affected by it. It’s incredibly disrespectful to dismiss the feelings of a woman who has experienced something like just because she still came out of it with a healthy baby.

  • Reply Burns February 12, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    I am so sorry to hear of hot come hold your first birth was for you. I feel for you and what you must’ve gone through. It could not have been easy and must’ve been very painful for you thankfully God gave you a second chance to so you could see what it was supposed to be like and for that I’m grateful. But what about the situations were sincere and really is the only solution? I was 40 years old and pregnant with my first child. Unfortunately, I had a small body and he was a large child. He never turned and he never dropped. He was stuck in my rib cage. Despite all my efforts…walking, massage, chiropractor, Doulas, All kinds of unconventional methods to get the baby to turn, nothing worked. Short of having doctors go into my cervix and manipulate him manually to drop and turn, my only other recourse was to have a cesaerian. Granted, my cesaerian was planned and I met with the anesthesiologist prior to any procedure to ensure the absolute minimal amount of drugs were used. When the time came, it took three people and six hands to pull him out of my rib cage. Four hands inside my belly trying to gently prod him out and one person pushing on my chest to try to help dislodge him from my rib cage. I was unaware of all of this until after he was born. Thankfully he was born exceptionally healthy and his Apgars were excellent. In this scenario, I truly believe, had it not been for the surgery, we may have both died. I never dilated even 1 cm and I was only about 30% effaced in my 40th week.

    But what I described, it was the most beautiful, wonders, and exceptional moment in my life, short of the birth of my second child. It may not be the answer for everyone, but this option can still provide hope and peaceful resolution. It’s not all bad.

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 14, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Burns – I’m so grateful for medical interventions in situations like yours. Thank goodness for medicine and knowledgeable doctors! Also, you prove my point that it’s not necessarily about what kind of birth you have but rather your overall perception of the experience. You still describe it as a fantastic birth, which is perfect.

  • Williampearson33@yahoo.com'
    Reply Jane Pearson February 12, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    I am the mother of4 grown children. I absolutely do not know what this conversation is all about. I guess I am a dummy because I am confused. Please tell me what you are trying to say.

  • tiresatcost@windstream.net'
    Reply lee Ann Harris February 12, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    I ask for both of my c – sections and I never regretted it ! I would never want to give birth !

  • jaclyn@beautyandthebinky.com'
    Reply Jaclyn Kent February 12, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Julia, thank you SO much for this post. I am so glad that another mama can relate. I had a very similar birth, it sounds like. I was given an anxiety drug when I asked why they had to give my son oxygen and I don’t remember anything for the next 24 hours. I don’t remember holding my son for the first time. I don’t remember nursing him all night. I do remember the next 24 hours, because I was told that my son had to go to the NICU due to an infected placenta due to a long birth due to being induced/unnatural labor. I sincerely appreciate this post and your courage in posting it.

    • jaclyn@beautyandthebinky.com'
      Reply Jaclyn Kent February 12, 2015 at 9:47 pm


      • Reply Bestofbaby February 14, 2015 at 10:05 pm

        Jaclyn – first, people misspell my name all the time, so no worries 🙂 Second, I’m so very sorry for your experience. It’s stories like this that made me want to write this post in the first place. I hope that you are doing well now and that if you have any future children you can have a positive and healing birth experience!

  • daniellesny71@gmail.com'
    Reply Danielle February 12, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    I feel like some people just need to get over themselves. Babies are born. In life, some things are pleasant and some aren’t. Part of life is just dealing with things as they come. As long as everyone turns out OK there was no tragedy except whatever exists in your mind. If your entire life can be derailed simply because the birth of your child (who turned out fine) was “disappointing” to you, your priorities are screwed up and you probably need professional help. Get the professional help and stop involving everyone else in your pity party.

  • Kellymcbrummer@yahoo.com'
    Reply Kelly February 13, 2015 at 6:46 am

    Wow! This could have been plucked out of my heart, soul, and experiences. Thanks for writing this.

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 14, 2015 at 10:06 pm

      Kelly – Your welcome! I’m glad you could resonate with the piece!

  • allison_adema@hotmail.com'
    Reply Allison February 13, 2015 at 8:45 am

    I believe that you were put through a horrible experience, and that you felt victimized by modern medicine. You must not realize how much worse it is to enter the hospital expecting to have a normal, healthy baby, and to leave the hospital the next day with no baby. For us, it was because our sweet girl died. For others its because their little ones are too sick to come home. I pray that you will one day have the perspective that having a healthy mom and a healthy baby IS the most important thing.

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 14, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      Allison – I absolutely agree…as I wrote in my post, a healthy mom and healthy baby is the most important thing. I’m SO very sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine the grief you must have experienced. My heart breaks for you.

  • ali.eldridge@gmail.com'
    Reply ali February 13, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    As someone whose “birth plan” was totally smashed to pieces, I can get behind this–but not in the same way. I knew full well that birth would be “done” to me, that I wouldn’t be having a “healthy” baby. When I was first pregnant I wanted to have a natural birth, with a doula present. I had it all planned out. But then we found out our baby had a serious health issue and all of my plans evaporated. I was induced, for the good of my child. I spent 34 hours in labor, for the good of my child. I requested the epidural, for my own piece of mind. Eventually I had an emergency c-section to protect us both. And I patted her cheek and she went to the NICU to wait for life-saving surgery. But despite all of the intervention and nothing going the way I’d initially imagined, I had a birth experience where I felt “supported, dignified, and in control.” I knew what was going to happen, and why I had chosen it–in conjunction with my doctors, my family, and yes even my doula, who still came even though everything was different. I felt like I had a choice, even if the other option was dismal, and I owned it. My birth experience was not beautiful, not ideal. But it was mine, and in a way I’ll cherish it forever.

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 14, 2015 at 10:09 pm

      Ali I very much admire your strength. Your perspective regarding your birth experience is beautiful! I hope your daughter is doing well now.

  • farmprincess14@gmail.com'
    Reply Faith February 14, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    LOVE this post! And it is SO true. First time mamas go in to labor and have no idea that all of these procedures are going to be pushed. If I hadn’t educated myself and been confident in what I wanted for myself and my baby, the same thing would have happened for me. The moment I arrived in the hospital, my doctor said to give me Pitocin. I stood my ground for 12 hours in spite of them pushing the pit. I was able to have a natural birth and have no regrets taking charge of my own body and birthing experience. Education is KEY!

    Not that this post needs anymore love, but it was the top viewed link at Mommy Moments last week and will be featured in this week’s link up! Congrats mama!

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 14, 2015 at 10:10 pm

      Faith! Thanks so much for reading this and commenting. Good for you for educating yourself and standing your ground! I agree, education is key.

      And I’m super excited to be featured on one of my favorite linkups 🙂

  • Reply Bestofbaby February 14, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    Thank you for everyone who commented on this piece. I’m both floored and honored that so many of you have reached out to me. It means a lot that you would take the time to share your stories.

    I want to add, please keep comments respectful. I most certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with this piece, but there is no place for name-calling and other general rudeness. I have had to start moderating some comments for these reasons. If you disagree with what I (or another poster) wrote, please feel free to express that, but do so in a mature and respectful manner.

  • dthomsonmenard@yahoo.com'
    Reply Boymommyfirst February 15, 2015 at 1:40 am

    Birth matters unless there are complications and dangers or worse death. Then healthy mom and healthy baby matter most. Ask any mother who has lost a child from complicated birth or the child was born with complications that had lasting effects… or the mother had lasting effects happen to her… like death.

    Just like parenting in the years to come, birth doesn’t always go as planned. If the birth is not the picture perfect birth you expected but you still end up with a healthy baby, don’t sulk about it, rejoice and take it as the first in many lesson in raising that child… it doesnt’ always go as planned, but in the end all that matters is they are healthy and you are too so you can raise them and experience the rest of what parenting that child has to offer. (And there is so much more to experience good and bad than just the birth) Health of mother and child will ALWAYS trump. It isn’t a lie. Its reality. Life always trumpts. Think Logic here, not endulgence because things didnt’ go your way Think Logic. Life doesn’t always go as you plan, and you better be able to deal with it specially if you are going to raise another human being with a mind of it’s own, in a world -nature that could careless about your plans. Because when you mourn the birth you didn’t plan and envision like it was some kind of big social event… then how the heck are you going to manage the big stuff… the stuff that has nothing to do with you but with your child as they grow??? The stuff that has to do with them only and has have nothing to do with what you want or need??? Because that is parenting. When time passes and you are pass the magic and miracle of birth, the doulas and midwifes of your pass and even the grand event for all to see your perfect birth will fall to the way side.. forgotten with each passing year… all that will stay is… your child, and his health, and his constant needs. It doesn`t even end with adulthood. So get over that you didn`t have the birth you wanted. Health of mother and child always is the most important. So your birth didn`t go as planned. Parenting never does. Get use to it and adjust. Parenting has never been about you. Its always been about the new person you brought into the world.– this won`t be the first disappointment you have being a parent- but I will say the good (if your child is healthy and alive) will out trump all the things that didnt`go your way.

  • cheryl.a.long@gmail.com'
    Reply Cheryl @Treasures from a Shoebox February 15, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    I tried to swallow this lie as well. My first 4 babies were born cesarean and I don’t know how many times I heard this statement and another “you had your babies the ‘easy way’.” There was nothing “easy” about being subjected to a cesarean. But with my fifth child, the Lord allowed me to do “the impossible”: I gave birth vaginally! In fact, I’ve had six vbacs, including two home births of babies that weighed over 11 pounds each! God is good!

    But I encourage women not to turn over their birth rights to the AMA. It’s your body! It’s your baby! It’s your birth! Doctors do not “deliver babies”…women do!

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart here.
    Cheryl @Treasures from a Shoebox recently posted…If Your Teen is a Writer (The Little Magazine that Could)My Profile

  • miracleinthemaking@hotmail.co.uk'
    Reply Anonymous February 16, 2015 at 7:59 am

    I really enjoyed this piece. I have read a few of the comments and it has obviously struck a chord both positively and negatively. The topic of pregnancy and birth is incredibly emotive and it’s awful to read of people having lost their babies. However, I think the message of this has been missed. As someone who has been fortunate to have two babies – in quite contrasting circumstances and to work with pregnant women, there is no doubt that what is being talked about here isn’t that the ‘dream’ birth wasn’t achieved or someone deviated from the birth plan, but actually that women can be deeply affected by their experience of birth. So I agree, a healthy mother and baby is not the only thing that matters.

  • Idreamedbig@gmail.com'
    Reply Becky February 16, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    I had a traumatic birth with my 1st child, and it caused me turmoil for years. I felt betrayed, lied to, and I felt like a failure.
    Hugs to all the mamas who’ve had a hard time!

  • Reply J February 19, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Unfortunately, natural birth isn’t a panacea for everyone. My son came roaring into this world after only 3 hours of intense labor. His birth was textbook “perfect”, as was he, and yet I still developed severe postpartum depression, even a period of postpartum psychosis.

    If we attach importance to the birth, it will be important. But it isn’t the only thing in the world that matters, and for some women, “healthy mom and healthy baby” is all they want.

    If I have a second, I will attempt another natural birth, since I find giving birth in a hospital setting to be terrifying. But I won’t expect a successful natural birth to have magical properties like I did the first time. I know what I am at risk for now, and I know that the risks don’t end when the baby comes out.

    Best wishes to you and yours.

    • jenkinsk@gmail.com'
      Reply Kari February 26, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      That’s like my first delivery! So fast and so terrifyingly painful. I had some emotional trauma from it. I had an epidural with the second and it was perfect.

  • Reply Frivolous Fridays - Confessions – Best of Baby February 20, 2015 at 12:24 am

    […] I confess…that I got a taste of what it means to “go viral” when I posted this piece, and I’m a bit blown away.  SO many wonderful ladies reached out to me and thanked me […]

  • studers6@yahoo.com'
    Reply Debra February 20, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    I was having a wonderful pregnancy after having lost twins at 13 weeks only 7 months before hand. At 26 weeks I went to the doctors and still all was well. He ordered routine tests and on my way to the hospital everything changed… I felt dizzy, nausiated and was sweating profusely. The nurse that did my blood work had gotten to know me and knew something wasn’t right. She called the maternity ward and let them know I was on my way, my doctor was there delivering a baby. My blood pressure was 235/120 and my doctor said not to panic, some meds and over night stay everything would be fine. Then a transport crew was there and I was being packaged for an emergency transfer to a hospital an hour and a half away. I hadn’t even called my sons father since the doc had said it would be fine. What I didn’t know was they had found protein in my urine and the ultrasound that I don’t even remember having had discovered my amniotic fluid was nearly gone and I had placenta privia. I went to the bigger hospital where they tried to lower my bp and get things under control but after determining my bp was not going to improve and trying to induce labor which my body refused to allow I slipped into acoma and they thought I was going to die along with my unborn son. They took us to surgery and he was born at 1 pound 7 ounces with no pulse and no heart beat. They were able to bring him back and after 100 days of hell in the NICU he came home. He’s 5 now and every birthday is traumatic. Every mile stone leaves me in tears. I watch him sleep and cry for all he has suffered. So I agree howyou give birth matters! I love my son more than words can ever say but his birth has left my heart broken and I don’t think it will ever heal.

  • aftonfrost@gmail.com'
    Reply afton February 21, 2015 at 11:17 am

    thank you for this post. i haven’t given birth yet (30 weeks with #1!) but i really feel like i needed this reassurance. my family is excited for me, but are appalled at my choices so far – having gone with a midwife instead of a doc (my sister actually said “Well, just promise me there’ll be someone at the birth who can perform CPR”….yeah, just let that one sit for a minute.), wanting a water birth at home (“but the house that you live in and your child will subsequently be raised in isn’t sanitary! and what if something goes WRONG!?”), wanting to cloth diaper (it’s stinky/expensive/the cause of world hunger, etc)…it often feels like my midwife is the only one who’s on my team and i’m so thankful for her support. things like this reaffirm that i just need to stick to my guns because only i know what’s best for myself!

  • Reply Anonymous February 22, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    This is quite possibly the most selfish blog post I have ever read. As someone who “mourns” the fact that I cannot have another birthing experience at all, AND a nurse on a labor and delivery floor, how dare you.

    • scrapmom@hotmail.com'
      Reply Ruth April 8, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      I have to agree with you, this is the most selfish blog post and comments I have ever read. Having buried a full-term daughter 26 years ago when baby went into fetal distress and an emergency c-section was performed, I ended up on life-support and my husband was told the baby died and I was on life-support, then having 2 additional miscarriages

      I deeply resent the attitude of today’s young moms who think the birth process owes them one. Get over it, be grateful you have a living and breathing child, and thank God every day. How many times have I said to people around me …. wake up sweetie, its not about YOU! And by the way, I have two lovely daughters following all those incidents I went through.

  • storiesofourboys@gmail.com'
    Reply April February 23, 2015 at 12:13 am

    How you give birth sure makes a big difference as to how you feel afterwards. I agree with that. However, I know many a woman with a baby that didn’t make it that would argue this point. I have given birth 4 different times, 4 different scenarios. Would I have loved for every birth experience to be all beautiful and cum ba ya…sure…did that always happen? Heck no. Babies got stuck. Babies were born purple and not breathing. Babies had to be cut out to save their life when their heart rate plummeted. If I give birth again, will I aim for a “beautiful birth experience?” Well, sure. Will it happen? Who knows? At the end of the day, after doing this four times, I have learned to be quite please with a healthy mom and healthy baby.
    April recently posted…The Writer,the Adder, the Brownie Thief, and Joshua #2My Profile

  • lizanissen@hotmail.com'
    Reply Liza February 23, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    I agree so much with your story. I have 3 children (10,6 & 19 months) and I regret having hospitals births with everyone one of them. With my youngest I wanted a home birth since I felt I didn’t get any respect from medical staff with my first 2. My husband was not on board with a home birth…so basically I went to the hospital because he wanted me to. I do not do any “routine” prenatal tests, which of course gets me lots of eye rolls from nurses (and yes that means no B Strep test) I asked for an unassisted hospital birth so I told no doctor or nurse to touch me…I was doing it myself….which brought on more eye rolls! My son was born unassisted…over 9 pounds…and perfect. When leaving the hospital 12 hours later (again eye rolls) the doctor on call came in to check my son & says to me “Lets talk about birth control.”….Not joking…those were her exact words! Of course being a Lactation Consultant I was exclusively breastfeeding (still am) so I wasn’t going on BC…but how disrespectful of that Doctor!?! I was shocked! Who’s business is it of hers how many children I want to have?! So from that very moment I vowed if I ever had another baby it would be born in the comfort of my home!!…even if my husband doesn’t like it! So tired of medical staff & their disrespectful comments & eye rolls.
    I don’t regret my children by any means….but I do regret the place they were born.

  • lmjennings@air-pipe.com'
    Reply luanne February 24, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Birth, a blessing in so many ways. Sad that sometimes our expectations aren’t met. I’m a grandmother of 7. We have an Angel in heaven. She was stillborn. Her parents miss her everyday! My daughter in law had to deliver her baby girl, not hearing her first cry, not seeing the color of her eyes. She got a death certificate. She has been gone from this world almost 6 years now. We miss her even though we didn’t get to hold her.
    Now we have another daughter in law, (different momma), she gave birth to our 6th grandchild. He came to use by c section, not the mother’s choice. She was all ready for a home birth. Low amniotic fluid put her in the hospital. Doctors and nurses made it an awful experience! He came by c section! He came into our lives with a beating heart, with a loud cry, into the and of his parents! But the mom’s is heartbroken because she didn’t get a perfect home delivery! Now we don’t know how to help her, she is depressed! What happens next for this beautiful, loving mom?????

  • carolapv@aol.com'
    Reply Carol February 24, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I agree it does matter. It impacts a woman’s confidence as she begins mothering. I am a labor/birth nurse. I worked in hospital labor and delivery units for fourteen years before assisting a home birth practice. My experience with home birth showed the value of emotional support, the environment and participation of the laboring woman in finding ways to cope. I realize that the hospital has the ability to treat high risk pregnancies and emergencies. Wonderful life saving measures are available in the hospital. My heartfelt desire is that home birth practitioners and obstetricians in the hospital could learn from each other and the best of both could be a part of maternity care. My children were born by cesarean section, but I have helped my daughters to have healthy births with essential interventions. One birth was planned for home but transferred to the hospital when labor went on for 24 hours. One birth took place at home. One birth required a number of interventions but my daughter was involved with decisions each step of the way (and I was present as her advocate). Women are very vulnerable during labor and birth. Support and positive communication has a long standing effect.

  • jenkinsk@gmail.com'
    Reply Kari February 26, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    Now, I know a lot of people are going to disagree with me. I gave birth to my first child completely naturally and free of interventions. I chose to have an epidural with the second. My first birth experience was so painful and torturous. I felt out of control and wanted it to end. I barely thought of my baby the whole time. I was screaming in pain, and the nurses had to reassure other staff members that everything was just fine in my delivery room. I had taken the Bradley courses and prepared myself to have a “perfect” birth. I felt disappointed after it was over when I didn’t feel euphoria; I was just glad it was over! I suspect that many of you who are disappointed with the way your delivery went had, like me, drank the Kool-Aid beforehand. We are all being told that natural deliveries are this sublime experience that will be better for everyone. No, really, truly… a healthy baby IS all that matters. We need to stop telling everyone that they have to give birth a certain way. We are setting so many people up for disappointment. That’s what is causing the PTSD after deliveries: unmet expectations. Do you understand how many babies and mothers used to die during deliveries?

  • Reply How almost became a co-sleeping mom - In 16 deluded stages – Best of Baby March 1, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    […] I hate that I even have to put a disclaimer on this, but if there’s one thing my “They Lied…It Matters How You Birth” piece taught me, is that EVERYTHING inevitably ends up being controversial.  So to anyone […]

  • Johanna.airens@googlemail.com'
    Reply johanna March 4, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Why don’t people get this. Not just men but other women too. My daughter was born by level 3 emergency section nearly two years ago. I was treated like an uneducated idiot and my questions went unanswered as I should do what I was told. I will also regret being bullied into not allowing nature to take her course. I’m now overdue with bub 2 and in a precarious place as my windows for vac runs out. I’m dreading another birth by section another nd not even allowed to show my dread and fear because after all there will be a baby. Any other major surgery I would be allowed to show fear and worry! Of course I would have 100 surgeries for my baby doesn’t mean I’ve hot yo very fine with it. We’ve always said we want a big family but no I can’t cope with the section, the incapacity and the reliance on others afterward so no more. Of course birth matters it’s changed my entire family dynamic because I can’t do this again despite having a perfect pregnancy and loving being a mummy. I just can’t do the section and the lack of respect for me and my body.

    • Reply Anonymous March 6, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      “I just can’t do the section and the lack of respect for me and my body.”

      Really? Is what you want for your body more important than a healthy baby? Letting others help you is a humbling experience and from what I have learned, and is generally something they are happy to do.

      I agree that doctors need to respect women through the childbirth process, but we have to trust them somewhere along the line that they know what they are doing! They went to school for this and while they might treat things as an emergency, isn’t it better than the alternative? What about respect for the unborn baby? It’s possible the doctors have seen too many babies not make it out alive and are making decisions bases on past experiences as well as their medical knowledge!

      Too many women would disagree with you – those are the women who came to the hospital in labour and left empty handed.

      • Reply Anonymous March 6, 2015 at 5:28 pm

        Dear Anonymous, perhaps you could reread my post and read it properly as you seem to have missed where I said I would have 100 surgeries for my baby BUT that I can’t do it again and has affected how many children I want.
        Big deal, so what if someone went to medical school. Would you blindly follow any other professional who went to school? Would you hire an architect or an accountant just because they had went to school without a recommendation, without ensuring that they had not just scraped by but were good at their job? Yet, I am expected to do just that with a doctor who has my care and my baby’s care in their hands. My experience of a section with my baby was bullying, intimidation and factually incorrect information. To give you an example I had a conversation with one consultant who told me that most babies were born by 40 weeks and if not out by due date and not taking further action (i.e. induction, despite being told I was not a good candidate at this stage) I was putting my baby at risk. I’m no doctor but I sure as hell can read a bell graph and know that was complete nonsense – how can I trust anything else he had to say. Another point blank refused to give me any factual and statistical information thus trying to prevent me making my own informed choice but would tell me how he would advise his own daughter to act. At best this is unprofessional. A third consultant who was actually performing the operation refused me a few requests that I made for the section (that I truthfully believe should have waited given every test result showed that the placenta, the baby and I were all perfectly healthy). I have been told by the surgeon assigned to me for this pregnancy that I could and should have had everything I requested and there was no reason not to. I know fine well why it was refused – staff after surgery told me how lucky I was to have the surgeon I did, it was because she was fast. She refused some pretty easy requests so she could get out of theatre faster.
        So no, I won’t blindly put my faith in a doctor who is more worried about keeping everyone within predefined parameters rather than giving individual care. Do you honestly believe that Mother Nature got it so wrong that induction and section rates are how they should be? Intervention by doctors is an absolutely wonderful thing that prevents many deaths of both mother and child that in bygone years could not have been prevented but things have went far too far unnecessarily.
        I have ensured that I am well read and well educated in order that I can make the best choices for my babies and that includes questioning doctors who have you on a timeframe that has been proven time and time again to often be unnecessary and is why midwife led care is so promoted.
        It goes without saying that I like most women would go through anything for their baby, I didn’t say I wouldn’t do anything gladly for my child BUT just because a baby is involved does not mean that feelings over how a birth happened do not play a part and do not affect one. I can’t imagine what it must be like to come home without ones baby it doesn’t bear me thinking about. This though shouldn’t mean that one can’t feel grief over not getting the birth they hoped for and when things don’t go to plan don’t receive the respect that they deserve. Perhaps if women did receive more respect, care and understanding when things don’t go to plan there would be less instances of postnatal depression. I am eternally grateful that the second my beautiful baby arrived screeching into the world I fell instantly and madly in love just from her sound but this isn’t the case for so many.
        Getting the birth you hoped for or when this isn’t possible being part of the process of deciding next steps is vital, in my opinion, to women’s care and wellbeing in childbirth. Obviously it goes without saying if you are having a blue light section everything changes and all that matters is keeping bub and mother safe. It certainly shouldn’t be the case with a level three emergency (i.e. do you want to come in at 6pm or 9am tomorrow morning).

  • Reply Stef March 5, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Way to spread fear and hate of any other type of birthing. It seriously irritates me that so many people speak so negatively of doctors just because their birth didn’t go as they had “planned.” Pathetic.

    • theneuroticparent@gmail.com'
      Reply Neurotic Parent March 10, 2015 at 3:44 am

      What matters is not how you birth but how you parent. You’re not going to be the most fun, flexible or present mom if you’re still whining about your pitocin or episiotomy months after the fact.
      Neurotic Parent recently posted…The Anti-Vax RatMy Profile

  • debzmagee@hotmail.co.uk'
    Reply deb March 5, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Omg, reading this felt like I had written it following the birth of my first child who is now 6 months. You couldnt be more right! I am a student midwife and still I felt this way. I was forced into induction, told it wasnt going well because I didn’t want to be induced and that I should ‘sit back and let the monkeys do the work’ (what ever that was supposed to mean) and that student midwives are the worst, which really didnt help me!! My birth experiance is everything I will never do to the women I look after! I still think about it now yet noone I try to talk to seems understand. Its not about the birth going ‘as planned’ as some one put it, nor is it about the doctors (who definitely have a place when it comes to child birth and do a fantastic job) its the shortage of staff which prevents the allowance of time to be spent with the women giving them informed choice and emotional support as well as physical and psychological support….which clearly isn’t happening for many women!

  • originalprint@gmail.com'
    Reply Mish March 5, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    I’d love to share this on my timeline. Sadly, I think I’d have to post it with an apology to all my mother-friends who had C-sections, many of whom are convinced it was absolutely necessary, “or else…”

    I’m almost ashamed to have had two wonderful births at home. They were not easy, and they were empowering to all involved.

    I believe birth matters. There, I said it. It’s hard to speak aloud, because admitting it can be a hard truth for those whose birthing experiences were traumatic.

  • Reply 5 Lessons Learned From Going Viral – Best of Baby March 6, 2015 at 5:13 am

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  • Reply Melanie March 6, 2015 at 10:20 am

    I found this post quite disturbing on many fronts. Most importantly, your attitude about having the “perfect birth” is quite self indulgent (as one person said). There is no such thing as a perfect birth and to want one is to be living in a fairytale. Secondly, your attitude following the birth of your child was sinful. We are to be “thankful in all circumstances” and for you to spend months mourning the birth of your child and being regretful about not giving him a more welcoming entrance and wondering if, because of that experience, you were even going to bother to do it again is not indicative of a thankful heart. Instead of extolling those attitudes, I believe you need to repent of them. I had 3 C-sections and yes, there are things that I allowed during my first pregnancy (due to ignorance) that, looking back I wouldn’t have done (or at least not quite so quickly) had I known better, or had a midwife. But I never once looked back on her birthday with such regret and a disparaging attitude. The truth is, your child doesn’t remember the “welcome” you think you gave him. What matters is that, from the moment he was born, he was loved and cherished. I do think that the medical field is too quick to push medical intervention. But to have such an ungrateful heart about how your child was born is a sin that must be repented of.

  • Reply Penny March 6, 2015 at 11:37 am

    13 and a half years on this random story has been a revelation. I totally saw the need for the gas and air, the pethadine, the epidural, the more and more drugs, the 4-5 people, the cuts, the ventouse, the stitches. I got my healthy baby. But it was done to me and not with me. I would take all the medical intervention all over again – but it should have been done as this lady says – with me and not to me. Perhaps then the birth would not haunt me as a nightmare most days. Perhaps then I would feel only love when I look at her instead of both unlimited and immeasurable love at the same time as indescribable feelings of hurt I don’t understand. A second child doesn’t change it. Time has not healed this birth experience. This helps me realise why. Thank you. X

  • Reply Anonymous March 6, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    I agree, the idea of a perfect birth is a bit ridiculous. That’s great if you had one, but those who didn’t, aren’t we glad we don’t live in a 3rd world country where both of us might not have made it?
    God has a plan and we need to be ok with it. He brings us through these things with a purpose.
    Many, many women who did not take that babe home from the hospital will agree that this post is selfish and the heading is wrong. A healthy baby is the goal, yes, we should be respected, yes, but a doctor acting like this is an emergency could be spot on. That is something we need to be ok with.

  • ideagirl1227@gmail.com'
    Reply Daleth March 7, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    What would any of us say to a woman whose wedding was not at all how she’d hoped it would be, although she was married to a great guy?

    If she were sad about it a week or a month later, most people would sympathize.

    But if she said, six or twelve months or 2-3 years later, that the bad wedding had pitched her into full-blown depression and she still felt sad about it, and it had impacted her ability to relate to her husband… would you really say that was normal and ok? Wouldn’t you gently suggest that she should focus more on having a great husband, and less on having had a disappointing or even bad wedding?

    How is this any different?

    • Reply Anonymous March 24, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      Agreed. The problem with the internet is that it gives every whinger a voice.

  • balmtomysoul@gmail.com'
    Reply Elizabeth March 11, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    The thing I like most about this piece is that every woman should be able to choose – not be coerced – in the birth experience. I think that rings so true! I am so sorry that your first experience was so terrible for you. Birth of a child should be a beautiful, joyous experience. Thank you for sharing with all of us!
    Elizabeth recently posted…The Science of Happiness: 10 Ways to Choose OptimismMy Profile

  • Reply Anonymous March 24, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    I may not be a mother but quite frankly the idea of writing a blog with that essentially says your precious birth experience is more important than the healthy birth of your baby sickens me. You sound like a whinging stay-at-home mom with way too much time on your ‘first world problem’ hands. Have you ever spoken to women who lost their babies almost to term, or experienced a stillbirth? I had a friend who’s baby was born with the cord wrapped around it’s neck. Nothing could save that child. Women in third world countries would surely welcome the intervention of modern medicine when their babies are deprived of oxygen during the birth or are stillborn. I realise women have given birth without intervention for thousands of years, however, there was also a much higher infant mortality rate in those eras. My own great grandmother died during childbirth. My grandmother often laments how she wishes there was surgical intervention in those days so she could have grown up knowing her mother. There are real problems in the world and having doctors with real medical degrees intervene during your birth to save you from standing around a miniature coffin is not one of them.

  • Reply Awkward and Awesome - That time my husband tried my breast milk... – Best of Baby March 26, 2015 at 8:57 am

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  • fiona.burnett@calvarycc.qld.edu.au'
    Reply fiona April 6, 2015 at 11:47 pm


    I actually found your article really off putting and insensitive.

    To me – it lacks perspective and you sound like you were “entitled” to the best birthing experience ever….

    Maybe a little perspective would help –

    Think of the woman who give birth in third world countries that would have no facilities like we do…
    Think of the woman who have had a still birth and have had to hold their dead baby in their arms….
    Think of the woman who have very sick premmie babies who have to watch them struggle to survive…
    Think of the woman who struggle to conceive and who may never have children…
    Think of the woman who loses her child days after birth…..

    Put your experience in with the list above and be grateful that you and your baby are healthy and well.

  • daffny@dontdareblink.com'
    Reply Daffny April 23, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    I wondered, at the start, if this was going to be a post about natural being best. But, no, and you wrapped it up so beautifully. This is something I have become very passionate about: moms having the birth experience they want. With my last one, I mapped out exactly what I wanted, including if I had to have an emergency cesarean. After a long discussion with my doctor, I felt that she fully supported me, and would do everything in her power to make sure I did not feel like I had failed, even if it all went wrong. (Thankfully, it didn’t.) On some level, it baffles me to hear stories of doctors and nurses who are not supportive, because all of my experiences were so wonderful. But yet I hear them again, and again. I believe it comes down to finding the right people to attend you in your birth. The right doctor or midwife, and especially the right delivery nurse can make all the difference in the world. As women, we should empower each other to take charge of their birth and have the experience they want. Love, love, love this post.

    • Reply Bestofbaby April 23, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      Daffny, I’m so glad you enjoyed this post…you’d be surprised at how much controversy it’s stirred up (the numbers don’t show this because I changed my domain name and reset my counters, but this post was shared 25k times…some people loved it, and some people tore into me). But I agree with you…it’s not necessarily about natural being best…it’s about so much more than that!

      • Daffny@dontdareblink.com'
        Reply Daffny April 24, 2015 at 1:37 am

        I realized yesterday that my most controversial post (and actually the one I hate and is nothing like this beautiful one) still gets at least one new hit a day. Often more. Sometimes you just wish you could delete it all, don’t you? But o am so glad that you wrote this. Even if it’s controversial, women are talking about it. By being mad at what they think you meant (vs. what you said) they are still standing up for their birth experience. That’s amazing! The more we can spark a conversation, the more information and drive women will have to take charge of their bodies. To that end- congratulations on a job well done!
        Daffny recently posted…The Heart Episodes: The Journey to Catch My ArrhythmiaMy Profile

  • naturalfitfoodie@gmail.com'
    Reply Krystal October 5, 2015 at 4:42 am

    This post really resonates with me. I can relate 100% to your first birth experience. Second time around (I am in my 2nd trimester) I am really aiming to have the birth I dreamed of. I know to expect the unexpected but I will do my best to be firm and demand what I deserve once at the hospital. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Krystal recently posted…One Pot Chicken and Pumpkin RiceMy Profile

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  • salazarmorghulis@gmail.com'
    Reply elle salazar November 6, 2015 at 4:35 am

    Natural birth isn’t advisable!? Have you thought about how many women have complications the child and the mother suffers because of the painkillers injected by the staff? If you can’t bear doing it naturally and unless caesarian operations are needed it isn’t really needed. My mother regrets her three operations because her memory is now becoming rusty for a 51 year old! and she’s always having an annual dialysis and her results are always normal.

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