I Refuse To Feel Shame Over My C-Sections



There is something about the internet that makes people feel free to say the strangest things, to declare expert status on topics without bothering to find out the information. All it takes is one seemingly innocent comment on one mutual friend’s FB page and let the shaming begin!

Well, internet, I reject your shame.

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I will be having a scheduled c-section with this baby, like I did with my first, and guess what? I am still a good mom. Some women have scheduled c-sections just because, and honestly though the c-section rate is indeed high and we could do a better job of supporting mothers to deliver vaginally, it’s none of your business why they schedule them.

I don’t know their stories, but I do know mine. Perhaps it will help you understand.

With my first, we presented a birth plan to my OB at our 35 week appointment. It involved walking around the hospital, warm showers and as little intervention as possible. My OB was totally on board until the ultrasound showed that my son, Max, was not just breach but “jacknifed” his small butt stuck by my left hip, his head up near my right ribs and his feet both stuck over his head. There was no way he was coming out. I tried everything. Lay on an ironing board off the couch and hang with your head near the floor and your legs in the air with a pack of frozen peas on his head, the idea being that the cold and the change in direction would encourage him to move. Did it. Poor guy was stuck. He wasn’t able to move, even if he had wanted too.

I will never forget how quiet and still she was during that ultrasound, concern on her face as after what seemed like forever she said “I don’t think you’re going to get the birth you hope for, we will need to do a c-section.” Zach and I breathed a sigh of relief after she assured us that baby was fine, just stuck, and our immediate response was “Oh, is THAT all?”

That c-section can only be likened to the final scenes of Braveheart. Two nurses climbed on the table and pushed and wiggled as I was cut farther and farther open in order to finagle one very stuck baby boy out of me.

Yet, you judge, internet.

You don’t know that when you toss that out, and accuse my doctor of wanting an easy way out, what a struggle that surgery was. You don’t know that when Zach asked Dr. K when it was all over what would have happened to Max and I back in the pioneer days and she said very quietly “they both would have died in labor.” All you hear is scheduled C-section and you make assumptions.

I went into labor with Huck, my second, at 29 weeks, the exact same gestational age as I am right now with this baby. We were in and out of the hospital, on bedrest, on contraction stopping drugs and when my water broke at 36 weeks my entire team supported my decision to try for a VBAC.

Yet, you come on FB and say “Don’t let your doctor talk you into a c-section! You are a PERFECT candidate for a VBAC! You could deliver the right way!”

You don’t know what the doctors did support me. In the end, after the baby started showing signs of stress, my OB suggested a c-section and I agreed.

I knew then that if I had another baby it would be a direct ticket to the O.R. and I am at peace with that. I have had two c-sections. One with a swiss cut and one with a singular cut. To risk tearing and bleeding out is silly in my opinion. I have two sweet boys who want their mommy around. I have a baby girl in my womb who is hoping to be born and loved. I don’t think she cares how she gets out. Just that she does.

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So, internet, I reject your shame. You can keep it.

I wouldn’t even be here to be a mother to my baby if it weren’t for a scheduled c-section; scheduled in the nick of time as it turned out, as my contractions were two minutes apart when they checked me in with Max.

We can never know anyone’s reason for having a c-section and it isn’t any of our business. The only proper thing to say is  ”all that matters is mommy and baby are happy and here at the end of the day.” Then smile at the mama and congratulate her.

The end.


The Scary Mommy Community is built on support. If your comment doesn't add to the conversation in a positive or constructive way, please rethink submitting it. Basically? Don't be a dick, please.

  1. L, RN says

    I’m a L&D nurse in a hospital, and I hate hate hate doing unnecessary C-sections. I do everything I can to get my labor patients a vaginal birth. That said, I know when the writing’s on the wall, and I can usually determine if the labor is dysfunctional or the baby is in distress and won’t make it to pushing; I’m more than happy to take the safe way out and ensure a healthy delivery. Sometimes I walk in and take over the pushing and immediately upon my assessment I know it’s not going to happen; I’ll be the objective voice of reason and tell the patient not to waste her energy and just give in. And I’ve had many scheduled C-section patients who are so content in their decision that I have no issue with them making that choice. Labor and VBACs aren’t for everyone. The point is that they HAVE a choice, not that they’re forced to do a C-section because they’re uneducated on the risks. I’d much rather have a patient admit from the get-go that they want to bottle feed, rather than me wasting an hour of my shift trying to help them breastfeed when they’re not going to do it anyway. Just let me show them how to bottle feed properly, and I’m good. It’s their baby, their decision, and it’s nobody else’s business. Period.

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    • Texomamorganlady says

      L, RN,
      Can we just clone you, so the great many won’t have to deal with the pushy, holier-than-thou, prevalent attitudes we normally get?

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      • says

        AMEN! That’s exactly what I was going to reply with. I was very glad to have nurses who supported my efforts to VBAC and then switched gears at lightning speed to support me when l never dilated~! YOU are a great L&D nurse. Thank you for lending your voice!

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    • Casey says

      Thank you, L RN and Stephanie for your stories and your support!

      My son was born after 12 hours of labor, including four hours of pushing, finally delivered by emergency c-section. My doctors and nurses tried everything imaginable to get him out, and when he started showing signs of distress they could have taken off an arm or a leg if that’s what it took to get my baby out safely. He had very low AGPAR scores as his head had been pushing up against my pelvic bone through all of my pushing. If the doctor and nurses hadn’t noticed his stress and recommended the c-section I may not have my healthy boy today.

      When I became pregnant with my daughter I had no intentions of trying for labor again. I had gone through labor and c-section and I was only interested in doing one the second time around. I ended up having gestational diabetes and was able to schedule her delivery about a week early. Happy, healthy, and everyone in one piece. Two very successful births in my opinion.

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      • Soprano1 says

        Your pregnancies and labor and delivery sound exactly like mine, except rolled into one. Gestational diabetes, baby stuck on pelvic bone (her poor tiny face was stuck there, and her nose was smushed to the side a little when she was born), emergency c-section – the works. Her heart rate was dangerously low, and in a span of exactly 6 minutes from the time my doctor told me he was going to have to operate (he’d already told the OR staff and my attending nurses to get everything ready a whole couple hours beforehand, because he knew she was a little bit stuck, just not struggling yet), my stomach was open and they were holding a screaming baby girl over the curtain for me to see. It was incredibly quick, but recovery was not. Still, I thank God for my doctor and attendants, who did such a good job of trying to let me deliver vaginally, but making absolutely no bones about it when it was clear that would be impossible.

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    • Zoey says

      Thank you!!!! I am a RN and a mother. I had an EMERGENCY C-section. Why? Because it was an urgent necessity.

      It is best for baby to be born vaginally, as they incur natural germs and bacteria, which aid in immune function.

      The recovery time for a c-section is much higher and many more risks are on the table, such as infection.

      Women, if you can make a baby– you can birth a baby.

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      • Hbombmom says

        Am I hearing judgement in your comment there, Zoey? Kinda think I am but I seriously hope not. Your comment started out well but boy, it just took a nose dive into Uppity-ville really fast. First, this post was about being nonjudgmental. Maybe you missed that whole pesky point thing in the article when you read it the first time. Perhaps you should go back and re-read it again. Second, after re-reading this post you should really hop on over to The Scary Mommy Manifesto and read that one too. Good stuff…all of it…if you can get the main points from each article I think you’ll really enjoy it. Lastly, you said you were an RN but of what? Labor and Delivery? Pediatrics? Geriatrics? I would hope it would be at least one of the first two I mentioned for you to even remotely feel you had even one iota of authority to judge how other women bring their babies into this world.

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        • Rachael says

          Nothing she said was untrue or judgy, in my opinion. C-sections are necessary sometimes. But there are benefits from having a vaginal delivery. Better gut health for baby, less risk for mom, and a faster, easier recovery. We are allowed to say that one is better than the other in normal circumstances without judging moms that require one.

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          • Soprano1 says

            I don’t disagree that one method of delivery provides certain benefits that another may not. But when you think about it, it’s not really fair to say that to a mom who will have (and that could be ANY pregnant woman, because things don’t always go as planned)/has had a c-section, because for her baby, the benefit of survival by having a c-section greatly outweighed any possible other benefit of vaginal delivery. Not to mention, my daughter was delivered by emergency c-section, and at 11 years old now, she hasn’t experienced a single one of the problems the scary lamaze lady warned me about. I’m not saying you’re incorrect about the benefits (obviously, the recovery time was seriously rough!), but not all c-section babies experience the drawbacks so commonly cited as reasons not to have a c-section.
            It’s unfair to (albeit unintentionally) cause pregnant moms to feel guilty about the quite common circumstances that would take the option of vaginal birth off the table. Heck, if my doctor even told me that there was a relative CHANCE that vaginal delivery could possibly maybe have some negative effect on the baby, I would have told him to break out the scalpel and toothpicks and drug me up. No chance, however remote, is worth risking so I can stubbornly stick to my plans.
            Point is, mothers-to-be don’t need to be roped away from the brink of choosing a c-section, because in attempting to deter the ones who might choose and schedule one, you’ll cause panic to strike in the heart of the moms who will be told that they don’t have a choice if they want their baby to live. That’s precisely what happened to me – in fact, I had to be given more medicine than would have originally been necessary because I was so panicked (I’d heard so much about the benefits my baby would lose if I had a c-section, and had been warned so adamantly about the dangers and risks associated with a c-section – much of which was only suspicion or completely made up because so many are so determined to keep moms from choosing that option) and my heart rate was skyrocketing and had to be given a sedative…all of which meant longer post-birth recovery before I could hold my baby, and more strong drugs pumped through my bloodstream while the baby could still be affected by it.

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      • Krystal says

        I birthed my first after 29 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing. I sustained a 4th degree tear. I have since had 2 c-sections and let me tell you, the recovery on those babies is night and day easier than a 4th degree.. So even though you were trying to be non-confrontational and support your opinion about advantages in vaginal over c-section, it still holds true that no 2 situations are the same and judgement should be quelled. I would have 4 c-sections before ever again going through another vaginal birth like the one I sustaied.

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        • Thankfulmom says

          My first was an emergency c section after 2 failed epidurals, 40 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing. Labor paired with C section Recovery (not to mention caring for a newborn) was absolutely the hardest, most physically and emotionally painful thing i have ever been through. I chose to have a scheduled c section with my second and I’m so glad I did. Recovery was an absolute breeze compared to the first time around. After the hell I went through with labor ending in a c section I would never ever ever EVER risk a vbac ending in a c section. And ya know what i refuse to feel shame over my c sections as well. I feel like I earned my stripes…c sections are most certainly not the “easy way out.” However the majority are most definitely the “safe way out.” And let me also add that saying if you can make a baby you can birth a baby is asinine and false. Countless women have died in childbirth. I’m so thankful for medical advances bc without a c section I would have been one of them.

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          • Naomi says

            Thankfulmom – I love you so much right now!! I had an emergency C after about 12 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing (also he was a 9.5 pound baby so my body was at it’s very limits from the start) because my son was turned sideways and got stuck. The recovery was, indeed, hell. And my baby was so big I couldn’t pick him up without help from someone else.

            However, more than that, both he and I would have died if my doctor wouldn’t have made that call. I thank him for his decision every time I see him – I even put it in a Christmas card every year. It was rough, but completely necessary and if I ever have any more kids, they’re coming out the same way. I’m not a candidate for VBAC because of my narrow baby-trapping hips and I’m ok with that.

            Thanks for helping C-Section mamas avoid the weird shame that others like to throw around. :) :)

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        • Kelly says

          Thankyou for sharing this story about the recovery that comes with a vaginal birth. Some people bang on about a vaginal birth as if its as easy as going to the toilet. But its not. Neither birth method is without its pro’s and con’s.

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          • Tillylobos says

            I completely agree – my first son was born vaginally and utterly the most traumatic experience of my life involving blood transfusions, massive tearing and all sorts – i was in hospital 2 weeks, i was on meds 6 weeks unable to breastfeed because of them, and i couldn’t walk properly for 3 months. It took a year for me to be emotionally able to have sex again. This time round i went for an elective C Section and it was the most calm, peaceful amazing beautiful moment of my life when my son was born, i was awake, in no pain, i got to hold him immediately. I had some pain afterwards for about 3 days and then i was absolutely fine. No trauma, no distress, happy baby, very happy mummy, very very happy daddy not to have to deal with the same scenario as last time. Turns out i started to bleed again in surgery but as they were right there they could see why and tended to it immediately – if i had gone vaginally the same thing as last time would have happened. If i ever have a third baby i know what kind of birth i’m going for…..Surely every choice is relative to your own personal experience. It would be lovely if people could just accept other people’s choices and know they have their own reasons for making them.

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      • BeachGrl says

        “Women, if you can make a baby, you can birth a baby.” This is not always the case! Many women and children have died during childbirth. My first child was born after having contractions at 7 minutes apart for 3 DAYS. When it finally came time to push, she got stuck in the birth canal. She ended up being delivered via forceps and vacuum. I had a 4th degree tear. My daughter was born in respiratory distress, due to swallowing her own fluid in the birth canal. She has had pneumonia 15 times due to this. When it was time to discuss options for delivering my 2nd child, I chose to schedule a c-section. I COULD have tried again, but why on Earth would I put a second child at risk, just to make myself feel more like a woman? We, as parents, do what is best for our children. This starts while they are in the womb. If the child would be at risk being born vaginally, then there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with choosing to have them delivered by c-section. And, I can tell you-the recovery from a c-section was CAKE compared to recovering from a 4th degree tear.

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        • Janefish says

          I LOVE this article. I’m a baby-food making, baby-wearing, toddler-nursing granola momma, and I’ve had two C-secs. I had terrible shame with the first one. I marched into the hospital with 12 weeks of Bradley Birthing Class under my (sizeable) belt and a birth plan in hand that I proudly gave to every nurse and doctor in sight. I was at 42 weeks & was in labor. But, Baby had never dropped, despite all my squatting and walking and labor-inducing massages. He was also occiput posterior (sunny side up). 18 hours of dysfunctional labor later, after I reached 10 cm NATURALLY, and had no urge to push, they gave me Pitocin. (Which SUCKED.) Still no urge to push and no baby crowning. So the doc REACHED IN AND TURNED HIM OVER. AND HE TURNED RIGHT BACK. I pushed for two hours because they told me to. My doc was/is excellent with forceps, and she said there was no chance of forceps delivery. Baby Boy had never descended. He never would have. He was in distress with every push, and an emergency C-sec was our last and only option. I often say that if we had been pioneers, he and I would have been two crosses on the side of the road. Instead, I have a uniquely brilliant, beautiful son that I love so much my heart could burst. If you can MAKE a baby, you can BIRTH a baby?? BULL.

          I got unexpectedly pregnant 12 years later. Opted for the C-sec. Because neither of us needed that kind of trauma!! Again, Baby never dropped. Afterward, the doc said I have reproductive equipment like a 20-year old, but my pelvis would never permit a full-term birth. It’s not shaped right. So, with all due respect, Zoey, you are dead stinking WRONG. I can make babies without even trying, but would literally die before I birthed one the “right” way. I love my babies, and they love me, and they don’t give a rip how they actually emerged into this world. Neither do I, anymore.

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          • FluffyFlamingo says

            This was my exact situation, too. I had an unmedicated labor. Due to an emergency on the floor, I ended up in transition for THREE AND A HALF HOURS. I never felt the urge to push. When you body is trying to force something somewhere that it cannot physically go, it is SO painful. It took me a long time to emotionally recover from my failed natural birth.

            I’m now expecting #2 and looking forward to the scheduled c-section, as I’m not a candidate for a VBAC. I’m just glad to know that barring unforeseen major medical complications, there is no way that this baby’s birth will be more traumatic or difficult than the first.

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          • FluffyFlamingo says

            Forgot to add: Emergency on the floor involving both anesthesiologists, so my epidural I had finally consented to was quite delayed.

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      • Jordyn says

        Zoey, your post makes no sense.

        “If you can make a baby–you can birth a baby”

        Except you had to have an EMERGENCY c-section. So apparently you were able to make the baby, but you WEREN’T able to birth the baby.

        You had a good point about the bacteria and stuff, but not good enough to counter the fact that your entire post is contradictory.

        Whatever way women choose to “have” their baby, they should be celebrated.

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      • sarah says

        Not actually true. Women have been told that they cannot birth a baby. Their pelvis just doesn’t spread enough to push that sucker out. I’d think you, being a nurse, would know that.
        And just because we CAN, doesn’t mean we SHOULD. My first one was born 24 weeks “naturally”. There wasn’t any time to do it any other way. However, his head got stuck (he was breech) and his heart stopped.
        When I was pregnant with my second, the second they said he was breech, I knew I was doing c-section. I wasn’t going through that again. That one was born at 33 weeks. He was never under any stress. His heart beat never changed. He was born, early, but HEALTHY. I don’t regret that c-section for one nano second because it gave me my boy healthy. Could I have done it naturally? Probably, but no telling what the results would have been. Delivering a preemie naturally is a whole different ball of wax than delivering a full-term baby

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      • Elizabeth says

        The thing that bothers me the most about your “if you can make a baby, you can birth a baby” sentiment is that you make it clear that you don’t consider c-sections a way to “give birth.” And for that you are simply wrong. Mamas everywhere, with no exceptions, give birth. It doesn’t matter how they come out – giving birth precedes being born.

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    • Pencils says

      Thank you! Although to be honest I never feel embarrassed or shame at having had a C-section. It’s nobody’s business, and to be totally, totally honest, i was ready to have a vaginal birth but I was relieved when they told me I should think about a C-section. I was a week overdue with my first child at age 41, with some health problems and nastily swollen legs (found out later that my daughter pretty much ruined the veins in my legs–thanks, sweetheart!) so we scheduled an induction. Many, many hours of Pitocin later, I was still at 4cm and my daughter had gone into distress twice–the second time I got so freaked I told the doctor to cut her out of me right then, I’d be fine. The doctor told me not to be ridiculous. Finally, after twelve hours or so, they said “we think you should consider a C-section” and I said “Fabulous! Let’s go!” I was very tired of labor at that point. I have some issues with the doctors, nurses and the hospital, but none of them are about my choice to have a C-section.

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    • says

      My first child was breech and never turned. I had a scheduled C-section because of risk of limb damage to baby and risk of converting to C-section, anyway. I am a physician, but not an OB. I asked the OB how she had her kids, and she said, “OB’s all have C-sections at 38 weeks. None of us wants to be incontinent when we are old.” I did research for C-sections, and scheduled C-sections(not emergent) ended having better statistics for the babies(38 weeks and after) than vaginal birth, and only slightly increased risks for mothers (infection, bleeding, bladder perforation, etc). This is NOT true for emergency C-sections, which one will convert to if labor goes wrong. Ask your OB how she had her baby. They have seen it all, and if they don’t want to labor, there may be a good reason why (beyond incontinence, which is not good enough for me, but less risk is!).

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      • Myra says

        Actually, most OBs do NOT have C-sections. I’m an OB, and I and all of my colleagues who’ve delivered recently have had vaginal deliveries, including one VBAC. The only person I know who had a C-section was breech, and had a failed version. The data doesn’t show increased incontinence from vaginal birth – you get worse pelvic floor muscles just from being pregnant in the first place. And no one would do an elective delivery before 39 weeks, because it’s totally against all the data and recommendations by professional organizations. So I don’t know what sample size you’re using, and maybe my group is the odd one out, but all the OBs I know try to have the safest route of delivery, which is vaginal. That said, if things go awry, we’re very accepting of interventions and switching plans.

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    • Crystal says

      Thank you for this! My first baby had to have an emergency C-section, and I’m being given the option for baby 2. While I would like to try VBAC, I understand that it may not work out that way. I am okay with this, but my family isn’t, and I have to hear a lot of judgmental comments about how I care more about myself than my child because I may opt for the C-section. I’ve had a very difficult time with this pregnancy, particularly as I get closer to my due date. I’m astounded that so many people feel free to criticize and hand out their insensitive opinions about birth choices when they are not the ones in the situation.

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    • alibooby says

      hi labour and delivery nurse and parents and babies
      i am also a “midwife” with a lot of experience. childbirth is an unpredictable human experience. in the western world we are so lucky to have the facilities and professionals available so women and babies don’t die. it has been my experience that some mums and babies do still die.
      i have spent many long hours with labouring mum’s trying to work with nature and mums and babies to get them out the right hole with out too much stress and damage. there is definitely an element of psychological influence re the progress of labour. BUT sometimes things go wrong and when they do that mum and baby need the best and least damaging option. many times i have looked after someone for hours and no matter how much we all want that body and baby to work how “nature intended” the little person (for one reason or another) is not coming out. Quite early on there can be a sense of ” get the baby out its not coming” and still the decision (usually by the doc) to carry on just a bit longer. sometimes it’s the other way (friday afternoon c sections do REALLY happen) i know as i have friends who are obs and they do it. there are nurses and midwives who dont really care either. or take the belief that a c section is some sort of failure. BUT most of us want our families to go home with a beautiful and healthy baby and most do.we are lucky.

      making decisions in labour is hard for everyone.

      childbirth is such a significant life event for all humans on the planet…..without birth there is no future.

      the research available is pretty confusing for most people. and like it or not childbirth is a subject that everyone seems to know so much about without really knowing anything ( including health professionals).

      i now work with post natal mums in groups and one-on- one with babies who cry a lot and breastfeeding and PND….I always “debrief” birth experiences and i hope the parents that i work with go away with a sense that, how ever the baby came out however traumatic it may have been it is a life changing event and life will never be the same…. i tell my mums to “lie” to everyone if they feel judged you dont have to share the story. often I work with mums supporting them with post traumatic stress from the delivery. when working in delivery suite i would always visit the mum postnatally and “debrief delivery with them. as a mum i know what it feels like and during that time when you are like a beached whale and in pain you will say yes to anything and anyone as it is probably the most vulnerable time in your life.

      My point is:

      l often see posts and discussions about birth experiences, it really doesn’t matter what happened on that day…what matters you are a parent for the rest of your life. A change of attitude so mums support each other what ever. it is not a competition we are all unique. But i can’t help thinking that we have lost the plot and some of the comments I see i read behind the lines an unresolved psychological trauma due to the childbirth experience and wish we could all reach out to each other and be a bit more kind hearted and understanding towards each other…..
      my thought when walking into the labour room
      ” i am not leaving this room until there is a baby in that cot in the corner” HELP! i did it and so do all mums

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      • sarah says

        I had 2 horrible pregnancies. When my sister began to discuss getting pregnant, she knew I’d had both a vaginal and a c-section and asked which I preferred. I told her my preference, what i thought the pros and cons were to both, and then told her the ultimate goal is to get her baby here safely and her to remain healthy. Everything else was irrelevant. A birthing plan is nice, but needs to be fluid. However she gets her baby to this world safely is the right way for her, at that time. I can’t judge, it’s not my body. It’s not my decision. It’s never men that judge these things either. it’s always women. Easy pregnancy, hard pregnancy, easy labor, hard labor, c-section, drugs, no drugs, it doesn’t matter. The point is becoming a mother, and however one gets there, is how it is supposed to be.

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  2. says

    I don’t understand people’s obsession and judging on someone else’s personal decisions. And we shouldn’t have to explain ourselves. We and our doctors know what’s best of us and our babies. How they come into the world, is no one’s business but our own, and what really matters, is that both mom and baby are doing fine.

    I had two natural births (though with the first, I had severe postpartum bleeding and nearly died), and with my twins now, although only at 19+ weeks, I’ve decided, with my husband’s agreement, that we will schedule a C-sec. Twins are always higher risk, and I don’t want to go through a natural labor, only to have to do a C-sec anyway for the second baby (which happens). Scheduling when and how the babies will be born just makes sense to us. And yes, I don’t care what people think.

    Good on your, Stephanie, and congratulations on your baby girl, can’t wait to meet her!

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    • says

      YIKES! I am so glad that you are all scheduled for the twins and have a good team on your side. I knew there would be no choice with this one and I am at peace with that. I can’t wait to meet your twins!

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  3. bex says

    For reasons different to yours, I had three sections too :) two boys and a 6 month old baby girl. No shame, just healthy beautiful babies and without the surgeries we likely wouldnt be here either. All the best with your upcoming new arrival

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  4. says

    Yes! Mother of four here, three c-sections and one VBAC. Guess which one almost killed my baby and me? The VBAC. And I’m not exaggerating. The firstborn was a c-section. I’d gone to the hospital with every intention of delivering naturally, until my doctor did a bedside ultrasound and determined that his head was never, ever going to fit through the birth canal (he was two weeks overdue, 10 1/2 lbs and had a 15″ head. My birth canal is forever grateful to the doctor.).

    Second kid, 15 months later: she was smaller than her brother so the doctor kept pushing (pun intended) for a VBAC. “Why not?” I thought. Apparently my body was not made for vaginally birthin’ babies. After a horrific labor, which involved a stuck baby, forceps and a vacuum extractor, my daughter spent the first three hours of her life in NICU while I spent that same time being stitched up (over 1,000 stitches in my nether-regions) and missed needing a transfusion by about “two minutes” according to the doc. I was told I might not be able to have children again.

    The next two babies were scheduled c-sections and I dare ANYONE to judge me.

    Congratulations, Stephanie, on the safe and amazing births of your two boys, and for the impending birth of your daughter. My kids are older now, the one who almost didn’t survive her birth is graduating from high school this week. “All that matters is that mama and baby are happy and here at the end of the day”…AMEN. Thanks for writing this!

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    • Angela says

      I’m not trying to be confrontational, but I am having a hard time believing you had over 1,000 stitches in that area. The world record for the most number of stitches on a person was just over 1,000 for a woman mauled by a bear. There is not enough tissue in that area to even accommodate 1,000 stitches.

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    • Reina says

      I’ve had two hip surgeries on my right side. First one 5.5 years ago, ASR recurfase. Joint recalled. Failed. Explanted and replaced with a dual mobility THR 7 months ago. Recent severe left hip and knee pain. Both sides thigh lays flat over edge of table. Right lower leg not bad, but certainly not vertical. Left lower leg extends about 45 degrees. Left knee is bone on bone.First test was fine. No problems there.Thanks so much for this wonderful looking work. Can’t wait to get started correcting imbalances.

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    • BellWell says

      Absolutely, my VBAC nearly killed me as well, and would have not so many years ago. I needed an emergency c-section with my first because despite many hours of all natural labor, massive contractions and being dilated to 10 cm, my baby, against all laws of nature, moved up into uterus instead of lower and going into distress. I then hemorrhaged afterwards, but luckily quick acting nurses, doctors, and massive doses of hormones got it under control quickly. After an all night very painful labor, c-section, and blood loss, I didn’t know a person could be so sore and exhausted.

      So, second time around, i thought, “Great, I’m going to try a VBAC!” Well, suffering two massive internal lacerations, which required many stitches (and so much gauze stuffed inside me that the postpartum nurses were amazed and horrified) and being completely torn open from my vagina to my, well, you know, through all tissue layers, I was losing consciousness and lost massive amounts of blood. My doctor said in his twenty years of practice, I was one of the worst cases he had seen, and that if I hadn’t had an epidural (yes, I had one this time because I had been given a high chance of needing another c-section due to the circumstances of my first, and all involved agreed it would be SAFER to have me numbed up ahead of time) I would have been rushed into emergency surgery for repairs, losing more precious time and blood. Recovery from the VBAC was HORRIBLE and I still have consequences of my injuries 4 years later.

      Moral of the story, I’ve experienced it all. Both natural and epidural labor, c-section and VBAC. There is no doubt in my mind that if I have a third child, it will be by c-section. I have children who need me and I am not risking major injury with another VBAC, nor am I risking my long term pelvic health and continence.

      I’ve often felt judged for having the epidural with my second, and I have to launch into a huge explanation abut how it was medically recommended, and if I hadn’t have had it, I would have needed general anesthesia and potentially died before they could get me into surgery. I’ve also gotten looks when I say any subsequent births will be c-sections. Really!? Listen to my story and tell me I’m not a warrior and that I’m taking the easy way out. I’m taking the SAFE way out, for myself and my family.

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    • Karen says

      Congratulations on your babies . Myself Ive had.4 csections . My first being a.emergency. IT saved my sons life . No one will ever understand what it is like to actually go through a c section unless youve had one .

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  5. Lauren M says

    Mother of one, born by emergency c-section here! Just like you, we were told that had we not had surgery available, one or both of us would have died. Nearly the exact scenario occurred with my own birth and my mother. My husband isn’t interested in trying again, having been so terrified of losing us. I, too, have been shamed or looked down on as though I took some easier road. I, too, had a great birth plan with little intervention. I, too, suffered through a very painful recovery, as so many of the “other” mothers in L&D popped out of bed and strutted around happy as could be. Thank you for sharing your experience. With so many holier than thou’s out here, it’s hard to not buy into the idea of failure that is pushed upon us. I delivered a miraculously healthy baby girl. And guess what? She had a perfect little round head! lol Eat that vaginal moms!!!

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    • says

      I am SO Sorry you had such a scary experience and then on TOP of that were shamed. I am so thankful that I had a section. If you should decide to try again feel free to go ahead and schedule that bad boy. Feel no shame. NONE.

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    • Kim says

      I’m glad your baby was born safely through c-section and I think its great women have that choice. I don’t like the end of your comment where you tell me and other vaginal moms to “eat it” though. Let’s stop with the hostility, ok? Both my children (born vaginally) have had lovely round heads with no birth trauma. So? I thought the point of this post was to stop the condemnation and judging, not just turn it around onto another group of moms.

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    • M says

      I would never dream of shaming you or anyone who has/had a c-section, but please don’t shame us ‘vaginal moms’, either! We women have enough to battle without us beating each other down! Btw, all 4 of my babies had perfect little round heads, too… even the 15″-er. Who cares how they get here, as long as they do! :-)

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      • Lauren M says

        Kim and M,

        The “eat it” part of my comment was meant in a tongue and cheek way and certainly no offense was meant. Honestly, it was simply a thought that has crossed my mind when so MANY people have asked about my daughters birth only to essentially tell me I “quit” during, when I had no clue what was even happening. My MIL is included in the list of those who shame c-section women, including myself and her own daughter who had a similar emergency to my own. It was meant to be funny, not critical or hostile. Beyond that, my own mother even pointed out her beautiful round head as an example of why “the way things went” might have been positive, trying to cheer up a weeping new mother, crushed by this shaming, who also was suffering from PPD (me). Again, I apologize for the offense. It was meant to be silly, not mean.

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        • Tara S. says

          I liked this article a lot. I just think we, as moms, should all be trying to help each other regardless of the decisions we make regarding our children and our lives. How to deliver our babies, whether to breastfeed or bottle feed, to stay at home or work outside the home are all decisions that mothers make all the time. All of us mothers need to be supporting each other, without being judgmental, not making nasty remarks about others’ choices. We should be helping, not hurting each other!

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      • leah says

        I agree I had my first vaginally, the second C-section; like you Stephanie he was breech, and would not turn back. A chiropractor told me a trick to get him to turn I tried it and no luck. For the babies safety I was told he would be a C-section, first he was 10lbs. 6 oz., the umbilical cord around his neck, chest and between his legs; he will be 21 this month I never regretted the C-section because if he would have turned around and had that cord wrapped that way he may nor be here today. I can empathize with you and other mothers who have to make this decision but for the babies safety it is the best one..

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    • Mary says

      You just described my situation to a tee! Don’t even get me started that I was unable to nurse because of the trauma, and the comments about that.


      C-section, formula mom of one, who does not pee in her pants every time she laughs, unlike the vaginal deliverers.

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      • Kim says

        Again, can we stop with the unnecessary rudeness and competition? There is no need to put someone else down to build yourself up, nor stereotype an entire group that’s different than you. I’ve had two vaginal births and zero incontinence issues. This doesn’t make me somehow better than a mother that does, and it doesn’t make you superior either. Us vaginal moms are here to support you, please quit with the snide little attacks on us.

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        • Marie says

          Exactly. Why is it ok to blatently bash us “vaginal” moms, but any judgement coming your way is an outrage?! My goodness. Nobody’s here to judge, settle down on the attacks.

          2 vaginal deliveries, one completely drug-free (not by choice so don’t think I’m being arrogant). Yep, both had cone heads when they came out (they’re perfectly round now) and yes I pee sometimes when I laugh. But I couldn’t care less. My boys are worth every bit. If you have a problem with it, well, that’s your problem.

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      • Desirea says

        Wow, really? Incontinence is a very upsetting issue to deal with. I don’t understand the need to put down other people to make yourself feel better. I have had three vaginal, and one CS. So I guess I get to put up with the judgment from both sides? Not cool.

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    • sabrina says

      hi! I have had 2 by C-section. I wasn’t able to push my first out all the way cause she got stuck on my hips. anyway afterwards I was so upset with myself for not being able to push her out. my amazing husband told me that instead of being upset and ashamed I should feel strong for allowing someone to cut me open and for dealing with the pain of recovery like a champ. even my mother in law who had 4 vaginally told me that she thinks I am incredibly strong and that after seeing all the pain that she wouldn’t trade me. if anyone gives you grief ask them if they even know why you had one and if they know of the kind strength it takes to deal with all. I personally have never dealt with anyone saying anything bad and I know a few other C-section moms who haven’t either. and no I am not hating on vag moms. I do think that the most important thing is that mommy and baby are fine. I also know a baby who the only part of their brain that is a live is the brain stem from staying in the birth canal to long because the doctor was trying so hard not to do a C-section. I wish all new moms on here the best of luck.

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    • sally says

      Both of my girls (born vaginally) had perfect rounds heads. Not every vaginally birthed child has the squashed appearance. My youngest was far from tiny arriving at 9lb 5oz. Just saying. Anyway, I’m genuinely glad all of your little ones arrived safely regardless of the manner of their arrival.

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    • Megan says

      Some of you have some really bitchy comments, including the OP. Less shaming and more supporting, please! My first was a stat c-section due to a ruptured placenta. Second baby was scheduled c-section because my OB shut down the idea of VBAC and truthfully, I just didn’t feel like fighting it. Had a tubal immediately following my second c-section and have since enjoyed 5 years of the best worry-free sex ever!

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  6. says

    THANKS for this post!!! I’m at 35 weeks now and my little boy just refuses to bring his head down… I don’t know the reason, but I’m sure there is one (or maybe he’ll still do it, who knows?!)… BUT: if I have to have a C-section – be it! I want to give birth naturally, without drugs, like most woman, but if its just not possible its ok too. Thanks for writing about this topic!!

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    • says

      I so understand where you are coming from. I really wanted to labor naturally, walk, take warm baths and let things progress on their own. It just wasn’t meant to be, but my son sure was! I hope your little one moves down and you get the birth you want and I hope your team supports you in your wishes because that is VITAL, but I hope should you need a c-section you never look back at your birth with anything but feelings that it is the happiest day of your life because your little one is here. GOOD LUCK!

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    • Madeleine says

      My daughter was the same… tried everything but was firmly the wrong way ’round. My doctor told me that in my case a planned c-section was the selfless decision – possibly harder on the mom (physically and/or emotionally), but safer for a baby in that position. I had a c-section and ended up with a beautiful baby girl. And seriously, I haven’t thought much about it since. Birth is just a day, you’ll have your sweet baby for the rest of your life. How he gets here really isn’t all that important in the end. Good luck to you!

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  7. Nara says

    Preach! This article is great. I had one emergency c-section with my singleton, one scheduled with my twins.

    My twin pregnancy nearly killed us all. It resulted in 7 weeks in hospital, an ICU stay for me, NICU for one girl, 8 units of blood transfusions, and severe infections and complications. Without the choices we made, (c-section for complete previa, long term hospital stay, no breastfeeding so I could take special antibiotics) neither myself nor my girls would be here.

    I am so happy for anyone who didn’t have complications, and so proud of my fellow moms who did.

    No shame here. I’m a formula feeding, c-section, medical mom, and I’m damn proud of it!

    Congrats to you, and best of luck!!

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  8. Alicia says

    Thank all you women for sharing your stories and giving me the courage to go forth with my first ever scheduled C section for my second baby. With my first, I delivered her vaginally with no complications (and yes, I needed the epidural bc they had to induce me bc I didn’t feel my contractions). I have been feeling intense shame and fear of having a c section and since I am adopted I cannot talk to my own mom about these feelings. But thank you guys for letting me know that it’s okay if I have to go through this bc in the end all I hope for is a healthy baby boy.

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    • says

      I am so glad you posted. Please don’t feel any shame or failure. Feel lucky that it’s available. I wish you all the best in your delivery, you’re going to rock that C-section and enjoy your baby boy. They’re awesome!

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  9. says

    After having a successful home birth with my first child, I kind of felt like a birthing champion. It was hard work, but totally worth it. I probably did judge other moms in my head – epidural? c-section? – clearly they were weak.

    Towards the end of my second pregnancy we discovered that our baby was transverse. I was terrified of the c-section but came to terms with it and had another beautiful birth experience, even though it was a very different one than I had planned. The recovery was a breeze for me, thankfully.

    I’m grateful to have had two such opposite birth experiences because now I feel like I can relate to more women. The one thing I don’t understand is the women who talk about feeling “robbed” of the birth they had planned. Maybe those result from unusual and unfortunate situations in which doctors/nurses truly push a woman into a c-section for the sake of convenience.

    I would never say that my c-section birth robbed me of anything. It reminded me that things don’t always go the way I want them, and that’s ok. I’m not afraid of hospital birth anymore. And, like you said, the realization that a transverse baby meant certain death back in the “old days” gives me an enormous appreciation for what doctors are able to do for us! Every day I look at my sweet baby boy with gratitude that he and I are both alive and healthy.

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    • Lorraine says

      I don’t understand why women think they missed out on something if they don’t have a natural birth. With my first I was forced into a natural birth because everyone thought the baby was coming right away so they gave me an intrathecal instead of an epidural. Five hours of pushing long after the intrathecal wore off my child was born with suction. Drugs are wonderful. To hell with natural birth.

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      • Poetry says

        Found this website while lnooikg for help with a torn groin muscle, or at least that is what my Chiro is calling it! I love my Dr but I am beginning to think that he is not as well informed as I would like him to be. I get relief from pain always but I want healing, health, wholeness. Did the above test; left side was able to hang but felt uncomfortable stretching from deep within. Did not even try right side as the groin muscle is still healing. (BTW-pulled groin while cycling!)What is next? How do I stretch properly from here and maintain core, balance & strength?

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    • Terry says

      I used to feel, not “robbed,” but that I had missed “the miracle of childbirth” because I didn’t have the pushing and delivery and all that–my first was an unplanned C (water broke 12 hours + & sunny side up; my enormous-headed child didn’t descend at all). Having my L&D nurses tell me that I would have had a “vaginal C” if I had delivered helped. But deciding not to try VBAC with the second was hard, as it would be my last chance to push. I told my wonderful OB, who replied, “you’ll have a baby; that’s a miracle.” Exactly what I needed to hear.

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  10. Jessica says

    I did the hippie birthing center warm tub for the first two and got judged for being ‘insane’ and ‘putting my child at risk.” Did the hospital for #3- there is no birthing center here– and went in asking for drugs. Birth hurts! But I was too far along in labor and got judged for (1) asking for drugs (‘weak”) and (2)not getting to the hospital in time to get drugs (‘stupid’). Someone always has something to say and it can be hard to hear your own voice through it all. I will line up my kids and you can decide which were birthing center (2/3) which were exclusively breastfed (2/3) which got timeouts (2/3) which were in daycare (2/3) which ones have been fed meat (2/3). (Different 2/3 on each) As long as mom and baby go home in the end it is all good.

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    • Evan says

      Hahaha! This is awesome! You’re SO right- in the end, who can really tell the breastfeds from the bottle feds, the vaginal births from the sections or the vegetarians from the carnivores? Love your kids, treat them with respect and give yourself grace. End of story.

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    • Ana D says

      You also make the very valid point that there will always be someone (or some-people) who will look down on your decisions/actions.

      (And kind-of responding to the earlier question/issue of women feeling robbed of their birthing experience:
      There are many women who get to the hospital and the Dr. and nurses disregard the woman’s wants/needs, eg. “I Don’t want an episiotomy.” “I want to breastfeed the baby immediately.” “I need you to listen to me when I say I’m in pain.” “I need everyone to be quiet & calm [even if I’m grunting & yelling].” …And if the doctors had been on board with those wants/needs *before* birth & then the reality was completely different, then that would be incredibly disappointing. And I can see how that would/could lead to feeling “robbed.”)

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