Birth stories are kind of like snowflakes: no two are exactly the same. Whether you wrote down a birth plan and followed it to the letter, or decided to let the experience unfold as it may, your labor, delivery and recovery are going to be as one of a kind as you are.
Maybe this is why we love hearing birth stories at LOLA: no matter how common the childbirth method, we’re bound to hear something we never have before. We decided to ask our community to share their stories, and they made us laugh, tear up, and ask, “Wait…that can really happen?”
From C-sections to birthing centers, here are four stories from the LOLA community.
A second child, and a VBAC
“My first delivery was an emergency C-section. There were so many things that were traumatic about it — I was under general anesthesia so I wasn’t conscious. My husband couldn’t be in the room either, and so it felt like neither of us were there for the birth of our first child. So when I got pregnant the second time, I was very anxious, both because I wanted it to go smoothly and because in some ways it felt like I would be doing it for the first time.
I was considered high risk, so when my doctor told me that I was a good candidate for VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), I was surprised and enthusiastic but wasn’t really counting on it. Because my last delivery was not only an emergency, but also 2 months premature, I was really just focused on getting from one week to the next in order to make it full term.
My daughter was born in July, during a heat wave. I was 39 weeks pregnant, and very in tune with my body — I felt everything intensely. I’d started having contractions earlier on a Friday, and that night at around 10pm, I was stretching between contractions trying to find a comfortable position, and heard a pop. Less than a minute later I realized my water had broken.
Things moved quickly from there. I got an epidural at 4am, and by 6am I was fully dilated. I pushed for about an hour, and delivered my daughter vaginally. Everything went smoothly and she was born healthy. It felt like all the things I had hoped for from labor, and it all seemed to go by quickly.
The recovery for my second delivery was completely different than my first. C-sections are surgery! That means you’re in the hospital for longer, and once you come home there are things you’re supposed to avoid: lifting anything over 10 pounds (Like my firstborn!), climbing stairs. With my second, I came home after two days and felt this rush of energy. I even went to the store on my own the next day to buy baby supplies (and so I could have some alone time). I felt like Superwoman.” — Kendel
A new year, and an unplanned epidural
“I was hoping not to have an epidural. I’d done a ton of reading and my conclusion was that it would prolong labor and recovery. I felt ‘I am strong, I can totally handle this.’ My husband told me, ‘I know this is what you want to do, but at least go in with an open mind. Things may change.’ I took that to heart. No epidural was my intention, but I was open to things changing as the situation developed.
On December 31st I woke up around 2am with intense cramps. I labored until 6:30am. At that point I was in a ton of pain and told my husband we needed to go to the hospital. We got in the cab and I was moaning and my husband asked the cab driver if he could go any faster, saying ‘My wife is going to have this baby in the cab.’ We arrived at the hospital, and I was only 2 centimeters dilated. I was nowhere near ready to push.
The plus side of giving birth on New Year’s Eve is that no one schedules their induction that day. I think any other day they would have sent me back home to labor more, but luckily they had a bed for me. At that point I was like ‘I need the drugs. This is way more intense than I’d ever imagined, and I’m done.’ So they gave me the epidural, and I felt good enough afterwards to fall asleep for awhile.
By 8pm I was fully dilated, so the nurse told my husband to grab a leg and he was like, ‘What?’ He was very surprised that he was going to have a front row seat to the birth.
I pushed for about 90 minutes. I remember throwing up a bunch. I think your body is going through so much, is under so much stress, that it doesn’t know what to do.
Rose was born at 9:41pm. We didn’t know the sex and I was convinced I was having a boy, so it was shocking when a girl came out. My lips were chattering and I felt stunned by the whole thing.
We watched The Dick Clark Show while we waited for my epidural to wear off. It was just such a nice way to ring in the new year. I’m not one for big parties any night, but particularly that night. So my friends were like, ‘Congrats on finding the ultimate excuse to not go out.’ ” — Jordana
A scheduled C-section
“I had a planned C-section because I’m so petite. To me, it was a wonderful experience since it was planned. I had a 7am appointment at the hospital; it was a pretty spring day so everything was happy and cheerful going into it. I had my baby girl at 7:45am. I heard Josie cry as they pulled her out, and I was just overwhelmed with emotions of joy and nervousness. I couldn’t wait to hold her and show her all the love I had been saving up to give her.” — Stephy
An unmedicated birth at a birthing center
“I had planned on having an unmedicated birth without an epidural, which made me eligible to use my hospital’s birthing center. Beds aren’t always available, but the timing worked out perfectly; when I went into labor we were able to walk right through the ER doors and to the birthing center, where my midwife and her assistant were waiting. The room was really nice — there was a tub and a queen bed, and once you were there you didn’t have to leave. I gave birth and had my recovery all in the same room.
I was in very active labor by the time I got into the room. I was unaware of everything going on except for what was happening with my body. I was also very vocal, which was surprising to me…screaming and moaning the whole time.
My husband and I had done a Bradley Method class to prepare, so he was very aware of the stages of labor. One of the big transition signs is that the woman will start saying ‘I can’t do this.’ Once I started doing that, he and the midwives knew I was ready to push.
I really wanted to be on my back, so my husband held one leg and the midwives took turns holding the other. If anyone tried to put my leg down I would yell at them. I pushed for two hours, and my husband stood there holding my right leg the whole time. I was able to grip his neck and look in his eyes while I pushed…he really got me through it. Those two hours felt like an eternity, but finally the midwife told me she could see the baby’s head. When she told me that he had a lot of dark hair, it’s what got me through the final pushes.
After my son Clive was born, I almost immediately wanted to do it again. It was such a transformative experience. I’d gone into labor on March 8th, International Women’s Day, and it was all so empowering. I really had this feeling of, ‘I can do anything.’ ” — Stephanie
Do you have a birth story? We want to hear it! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.