My TiVo Suggests Tylenol PM
Bringin' SexyVBAC

The Baddest Mommy on the Block

I had my first official prenatal visit this morning, during which I came about 30 seconds from getting a THIRD ultrasound, except that my doctor happened to flip back a page in my chart while the machine was warming up. "Oh!" he said, "We saw the heartbeat already, so we don't need another one just yet."

Dammit. I got a pap smear instead.

So, I really do like my doctor, although I also occasionally want to stab him in the ears with a fork, or maybe one of the handy Ortho-Tri-Cyclen pens he keeps in a cup on his desk. Like today, when he asked me how I was feeling. Which, you know, BAD. AWFUL. Like, I-have-only-told-the-Internet-half-of-it bad and awful. The migraines, the insomnia, the fact that I made my two-year-old cry yesterday (twice) simply through the power of my drained-of-patience angry-mommy voice.

(I'm not counting the time I simply screamed at him to STOP CRYING! STOP CRYING RIGHT NOW! because...come on. He was ALREADY crying. I'm sure I didn't help the situation but HE TOTALLY STARTED IT.)

(Don't let the sarcasm fool you, of course. I could totally die from the guilt right now, especially since I yelled at him AGAIN in public today when he wouldn't get on the elevator we'd been waiting 10 minutes for and I believe something along the lines of "you are going to GET IT" came out of my mouth and oh yes, I should just go ahead and have five more children. I'm the BEST AT THIS EVER.)

Anyway. Where was I? Oh. Right. The doctor's office. I was toddler-free and everybody was finally asking me how I was feeling, like I was a person who mattered, and I broke down and told my doctor how terrible I feel and how I can't get out of bed during the headaches and I'm throwing up in the shower and I can't sleep at night and...dear Lord in heaven, please tell me you can write a prescription for SOMETHING, ANYTHING, PLEASE DON'T TELL ME TO EAT SMALL MEALS AND TAKE SOME TYLENOL AND...

"Good! Feeling bad is good! That means everything is healthy and great! You might want to try eating more small meals during the day!"

Needless to say, I did not walk out of there with a prescription for anything. I did get an offer from a nurse to walk me back to my car, because I looked so very positively green.

And yes, I finally had the conversation with my doctor that so many people have been inordinately curious about: VBAC or scheduled c-section. (Seriously. The pee had barely dried on the test stick and suddenly everybody wanted to know whether I'd made my "decision" yet.) I hesitate to even bring this topic up, because yes, I've seen that website. Yes, that one too. And probably that other one as well. I find much of the information from both sides of the debate to be horribly biased, and both arguments tend to rely heavily on scare tactics instead of real data and OH YEAH, it's just not that big of a fucking deal to me either way.

Before I had Noah, I thought his manner of birth was terribly important. This led to a series of blog postings that I am now terribly embarrassed about, because I let people work me into such a STATE about it. Scheduled c-sections are awesome! Emergency c-sections are hell! All c-sections are unnecessary! And around and around my naive little head went.

A recap for anyone just joining us: My doctor suspected that Noah was on the big side, and knew for a fact that he was not in the ideal position. (He was facing forward, or sunny-side up.) He suspected that I might need a section, but he is overall very anti-intervention. So I wasn't induced or scheduled and went into labor on my own. And it was pretty awesome, actually, and I felt powerful and damn impressed with myself during it. And then the complications started piling up -- nothing particularly major, but enough. Meconium. Fetal distress. Irregular heartbeat. I pushed and pushed and Noah didn't budge past my pubic bone. His heart rate became more and more worrisome with each contraction. So I had an emergency c-section, which revealed that the umbilical cord had been wrapped tightly around the neck of my 9 pound, 15 ounce baby who had little marks on his head from pressing against my freaking bones.

I know that doctors in this country are awfully trigger-happy with pitocin and c-sections. I have no doubt that many sections could be avoided and I will never, ever understand celebrities who opt for completely unnecessary MAJOR ABDOMINAL SURGERY because they're afraid of an episiotomy or whatever. (Ladies! Slicing open your gut really fucking hurts too! Imagine that!)

But in my case, I think the decision and the timing of that decision were appropriate. I have no regrets over my c-section. I was nursing within 10 minutes of delivery. My recovery was a breeze. I was up and about in no time and my scar is small and smooth and practically invisible. (Seriously. I tried to show a curious friend recently and it took me five minutes to FIND the stupid thing.)

I'm extremely happy that I got to experience labor and pushing and if I had managed to deliver vaginally, I would probably attempt an even lower intervention birth this time -- probably with a midwife and a birthing center and no epidural. I know I could do it.

But..I won't.

Of all of our (minor, run-of-the-mill) complications, the only one that's likely to repeat is the high birth weight. And even that isn't a sure thing. Then again, an ultrasound from just days before Noah was born put him in the eight-pound range, a full two pounds under his actual weight. And he never measured particularly "big" at any point in my pregnancy. So no matter how many measurements I get, I know there's no guarantee that I won't end up with another linebacker baby who is just not gonna come out that exit, sorry, at least not without a significant risk for us both.  So even if I do attempt a VBAC, I would choose to do it at a hospital, with an epidural (to avoid being put under in case of an emergency).

My doctor droned on and on about the benefits of a scheduled c-section. Benefits that frankly, I couldn't give two shits less about. Convenient for childcare! (Right, because it's not like we have two sets of grandparents so chomping at the bit for this baby they'd gladly move in now and stay through 2009.) You won't have to go through labor! (Right, except that I thought being in labor was kind of awesome, in a way, and am totally not scared of doing it again.) Your recovery will be faster! (Right, except that I am apparently half cyborg and recovered really damn fast last time.)

We all have our things that we care deeply about. Our secret little judgey list of The Way Things Should Be Done. I've got them too! Serving wine at the correct temperature, for example. Drives me batty, all this overwarm red wine. But birth plans? No. At least not anymore. I look at Noah, at all the little moments where I can either be a great mother or mess it up completely, at all the things that are worth worry and guilt and stress, and the manner in which he exited my body isn't anywhere on that list. It's like this old, weird worry from another dimension, or a past life.

I will probably schedule a c-section. I will probably schedule it on the later side, leaving the possibility of letting labor happen if it's meant to happen, provided we keep on top of the measurements and provided I give even the smallest slice of piping hot rat's ass about any of this by October.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think my emergency c-section child needs me to go wipe his butt. God, this is ALL THE EPIDURAL'S FAULT.

I'm leaving comments open (eyes the room suspiciously), but...let's all remain calm, okay? I have really and truly seen the websites you're itching to link to, I've done my homework and so help me, if anyone mentions anything about dead babies I will close comments, ban your ass and snatch you bald headed. Thank you. I love you. Mwa.



p.s. -- here = Canada.


I had my first via c-section because she was breech. And my second was a successful VBAC.

No judging here. It's up to each woman to make her own decision. I wanted my VBAC, for my own reasons. You will have your own reasons for whatever you choose, and that's great. Go with what you feel comfortable with.

Miss Britt

As IF the Internet would give you unsolicited advice and raging opinions on something like child birth! HA!

I would really like to see you snatch somebody bald headed though. I'm sick like that.


Meh. VBAC schmeeback. Do what is right for you. And the wee one. And your beloved insane toddler who you are probably yelling at right now for, oh, I don't know, breathing. Hang in there!


so are you hoping for a boy or a girl this time around? :)


Procrastamom FTW! Ha ha HA!

(PS Please to send me recipe for Diaper Genie hooch, plz.)


it's your body and your kid. do whatever the fuck you want.


Oh my, Amalah. Just when I thought I couldn't heart you any more than I already did, along came this post. At last, a woman... nay! A MOM, who not only has a healthy attitude towards childbirth (AND shares my own opinion) but also is unafraid to say it. Loud & Proud, Baby. Loud & Proud. But that last warning line... Abso-freakin-lutely hilarious.


This is not one of "those" websites, i just thought these were funny and applicable to the two frillion comments above. or maybe this one
The oneies are cute too.


having just the last pangs of 'morning sickness' at 14+ weeks, I want to weep and give you a hug for your misery. it is still VERY clear in my mind how bad the bad times were.
and seriously? people (strangers!?) email you to ask you how youre going to give birth? that freaks me the f out, right there.
healthy (alive!) mom and baby is pretty much my birth plan.

Dr. Maureen

Frankly, I don't understand why people get all in a tizzy over how other people have their babies. To me, it makes sense to want to avoid a c-section because the recovery is longer, or so I'm told. But I had a vaginal birth, and it came with a 3rd degree tear and that is the only pain I remember. And I made it to 6 cm without before the epidural. And I also had some "complications" that someone above wondered about. Mine fortunately turned out not to be "life-long," but I could not hold in my pee for two weeks. Thank heavens for nurses, because the doctors were total dicks about it when I told them. Very blase about the whole situation. "Oh, yeah, that can happen. You might never recover from that. Have a good day!" But the nurse gave me tips on how to recover, and I'm fine now, although still holding a grudge against the doctors.

So, yeah, both ways have their risks, and sometimes people need c-sections.

Dr. Maureen

Um. I just hit post and now I'm afraid that my comment reads wrong, and I just wanted to say that I agree with all the normal people that the decision is yours, and then I accidentally complained about my own doctors for a while. Sorry.


I had an emergency c-section -- labor was induced, baby didn't move after hours of pushing, no big emergencies to force us to c-section, but doctor suspected she was just too big. And she was, 9 lb 4 oz. Second baby, I was diagnosed w/gestational diabetes early on (was borderline w/first) and she was still 8 lb 2 oz, despite my only gaining 25 lbs w/her, compared to 40 w/her sister (and believe me, I wanted to eat, I wasn't trying to gain only 25 lb, but damn! That diet is restrictive!!! No cupcakes like the first pregnancy!). Anyway, I would've had to go to a different hospital and doctor if I'd wanted to do v-bac (guess my highly esteemed hospital is worried about lawsuits), and I choose not to. I was comfortable w/my doctor, wanted to deliver at my hospital (one of the best children's hospitals around). I live in the progressive bay area, where you need to breastfeed, not use plastic, have a v-bac, etc. But I didn't feel the need to comply was strong enough to outweigh the risks (and yes, I didn't really want to go thru labor again -- there, I said it!). Anyway, you're right to do what YOU want to do, no matter what others say. I love how you weighed everything about Noah and how he came into the world is so much lower on your list of importance. Congrats on this pregnancy (I was so much more nauseous and tired my second time around too, and it's so hard to be the mommy you were to your toddler before being pregnant -- don't beat yourself up about not being Perfect Mommy all the time) -- I'm so happy for you all!


As a 4th year med student, and going-to-be OB/GYN in *gulp* 4 months, I would like to disagree that it "doesn't matter" how the baby comes out. Babies that are delivered by c/s (and from induced pregnancies) have more pulmonary problems, and a recent study out in Australia showed a higher association of autism in children born from induced labors and c/s. A CDC researcher in March 2006 put out a study that showed that LOW-RISK babies born by c/s were 3 TIMES as likely to die in the first month of life as those born vaginally (this study did not count c/s babies that were high-risk: ie: premature, anomalies, etc)

I have to say that any doc that is trying to talk you into going through unnecessary MAJOR ABDOMINAL SURGERY does not have your best interests at heart. It is more convenient for him, and it covers his ass legally. Statistically, the rate of uterine rupture in VBAC (that is done with natural, NOT INDUCED Labor) is 0.5%. The rate of uterine rupture in a repeat c/s is 0.3% they never tell you that you can still have a uterine rupture from a c/s -- but you can. Not to mention that average infection rate nationwide is 20% -- many women report longer recovery periods for repeat c/s than the first time around, and OH YEAH, you can hurt for 6-8 weeks, or you can be a little sore for a couple of days (with a vag birth). And studies have also shown that c/s's don't protect against urinary problems, it is genetics and just being pregnant that does that. I have seen women with stress incontinence in urology clinic who have had nothing but c/s's.

Keep in mind that after a c/s, no heavy lifting -- meaning you can't pick up Noah for WEEKS.

And that stuff they feed you about "big babies" is BULLSHIT. Studies have shown that fetal size is really only an issue with the small percentage of women that have an abnormally shaped pelvis (which it sounds like you don't, if you were complete and pushing last time), and if the baby hits 12 lbs or larger. Anything less than 12 lbs is insignificant. And pushing while laying on your back makes your pelvis smaller, btw. It's the worst position for pushing, and causes the most pelvic floor damage.

Please keep in mind that major surgery is no small deal, but it is convenient for your physician, who will be able to schedule an hour-long operation during the business day, as opposed to maybe having to come in in the middle of the night to deliver you -- if you were him, what would you pick?

AND DON'T LET ANYONE INDUCE YOU! It's also been shown that babies really don't get too much bigger after 40-41 weeks in utero, and adverse fetal effects from postdates have only been shown in women that go longer than 43 weeks. Statistically only 3.5% of women go beyond 42 weeks.

I hate this due-date BULLSHIT. It gives women a deadline, which is not what's best for them or the baby. We need to give women just a "birth month" -- because any time between 38-42 weeks is NORMAL and JUST FINE.

I am TIRED OF WATCHING OBSTETRICIANS LIE TO, MANIPULATE, AND ABUSE WOMEN!!! I'm scared of what I'll be forced to do as a resident.

I can't count the number of times I've seen OB's manipulate women into unnecessary surgery for their convenience.

I am concerned what this means for women in the long-term. What about if you have too much scar tissue to adequately resect a big colon cancer in your 60's????

My advice in my personal and professional opinion -- go VBAC, and pick a different doc if he won't support you. And hire a doula.

Hell, I'm going to BE an OB/GYN, and I'm going to go to a midwife.

And as an OB/GYN, I'm going to fight tooth-and-nail my entire career, if I have to, to help women get the quality treatment they deserve and stop this nonsense that makes women believe their bodies don't know how to bring children into this world.


Amy - I actually just had boy #2 last Monday (and am catching up via archives.) We had very similar "birth stories" (how TLC) for our 1st kids - they were 6 months apart and I think we both delivered at Sibley. (And I was totally on the same train in terms of labor, delivery, etc. with my 1st as well, only to push for 3 hours and end up with an emergency C-section, blowing my whole plan to bits.)

In any case, I did a scheduled C at 39 weeks for many of the reasons you cited above. I have to say, it went really well - obviously, the c-section recovery is a pain, but then, I didn't go into labor so I feel like it kind of evens out a bit in some karmic way. In any case, I also had a huge #1 son - but this one oddly came out almost a pound lighter and an inch and a half shorter, despite what EVERYONE assured me, that the 2nd would be even bigger, etc. But the whole thought of an even larger kid that definitely wouldn't fit certainly drove me towards the c-section decision, although we didn't decide (with a doctor's recommendation) until 32 weeks pregnant, and didn't schedule the surgery until 36 weeks - in short, you have time to leave this decision open-ended. I even took the VBAC class at our hospital (Virginia Hospital Center this time, which rocked as an fyi.)

So this isn't really helpful, but more of a "do whatever the hell you want" kind of rah-rah post. For what it is worth. Happy pregnancy!


Can I just "third" the fact that there are antihistamines that can help with the morning sickness?

Sometimes I just feel like some doctors can make it sound like mothers are *supposed* to suffer. Forget that and avail yourself of another opinion on the morning-sickness solutions.


I was going to be induced and then the night before the induction I went into labor, like woah! About 10 hours later (with an epidural) I gave birth to my son. (The contractions...oh sweet jesus. When is a person supposed to "relax" in between each contraction when they are two minutes long and you have thirty seconds in between each of these monsters?????) I had thought initially, "no drugs. all natural. Plenty of hippie sauce."
But I went in with an open mind. My Mother (a woman who has had four children, three c-sections and one vaginal birth) told me often through-ough my pregnancy that a Mother has to be zen about the whole experience. There is only so much a person can control in the labor/delivery process and you can't let the fundamentalists on either side of the birth argument get in the way.
You seem to have a very very healthy attitude about what lays before you. Yes there are many c-sections done in this country that aren't needed but there are also ones that are definitely needed.
People need to keep a balanced and pragmatic approach to birth. Every experience is incredibly personal and unless you were there for all of it and understand the context of the the situation, you can't genuinely judge their choices.


I think this is absolutely the most REASONABLE analysis of the VBAC issue I have seen in a long time. My daughter was born by C-section due to her transverse position, which, I don't care how strongly you feel about delivering breech, THAT is just not going to happen. When I get pregnant again I will direct everyone who asks me to this post!


@Rebecca -- WORD. Preach on, sister.

RE: "morning" sickness -- I have dicovered that you get the (male) OB to give you a scrip for Zofran or Phenergan or whatever by actually saying the words: "Doctor, dude, I have tried EVERYTHING. I am vomiting ALL THE TIME. I need a prescription NOW." If you dare to say "Yes" when they ask if you can keep anything at all down, then you're walking out of there with nothin -- except "Eat small meals." That's BS. Get a prescrption. It doesn't have to suck like this for the next 6 months.


No judgment here. I had what most people would call an easy vaginal delivery and guess what? No desire to do it again. The labor part was good and kind of exciting, the pushing part blew. Bring on the knife.


I heart ur blog. The end.


I heart ur blog. The end.


Wow, there's a lot of opinions here.

I just wanted to say that I had an emergency CS (with many of the same circumstances as yours) and I fully plan on having a scheduled CS with my next one. If only because I'm scared of the unknown - and I've had a CS before, so I know what to expect. I had an awesome recovery also and overall it wasn't a bad experience. Squeezing out a chubby baby through my tiny nether-regions? That scares the crap out of me.


Hi Amy,

This isn't a "dead baby" story and I firmly believe that you know what decision is best for you.
I do want to say to watch out for scheduled c-sections (and I'm glad to hear that you're scheduling it later), because my dear friend scheduled, the baby was actually taken a bit too early and developed cerebral palsy. When the case when to court, it was discovered the doc had a vacation and scheduled the c-section a full three weeks earlier assuring the patient that three weeks wasn't going to make a difference. The family won the case, but they can never buy back the health of their daughter. So, be safe! Be firm! YOU SET THE DATE when you are comfortable. Don't let the doctor dictate it. And to set the record straight, the c-section itself was fine for both mother and baby, it was the time it was done that was detrimental.


Amalah, just had say thanks. I'm expecting my first little one (currently 25 weeks), and my attitude has generally been to read whatever I can, get the info, but try not to hyperventilate and make all the decisions now. Because pregnancy and labour have been happening long before me, and will long after, and Baby will decide what it wants to do. Also, I believe my doctor genuinely wants the best for both of us, and will make her recommendations accordingly.
Its nice to hear from someone who doesn't feel it necessarily to proselytize about "their way", or rant about nature or doctors or whatever being the only "safe" method. So thanks for offering a little sanity in my day.


I had four c-sections...sadly, none of them planned. Sadly, because I REALLY wanted to get to just show up at the hospital all calm-like with lipstick and mascara on and have my baby removed from my body without any hysteria. But no. Not even once. I had four children that insisted on drama from the very beginning. Sigh. I'm just glad that I never got too excited about the whole "birth experience" thing.


i'm not even going to read the comments for fear they will dissuade me from having a scheduled c-section the second time around. i had a quasi-emergency section with the first and wasn't the least bit upset. to be honest, i was scared to death of pushing and tearing. so my baby came out the window instead of the big deal. my second one, if i decide to have another, probably will too.


Here's my quick summary: 1st kid was breech, scheduled c-section. Really wanted to have a VBAC, but apparently kid 2 didn't want to show up. Was induced with heavy montioring at 41 weeks, and after 24+ hours of labor, had the 9 1/2 pound kid. The recovery with the "natural" birth (which makes me laugh because there were SO many nice drugs involved) was a thousand times easier than with the c-section.

But that was just me -- you do whatever you want. :)


Amy, I was in pretty much the same situation as you with my second. The only difference being that I had been induced the first time with a horrible labor, and had an emergency c/s b/c he didn't descend, and his heart rate started falling. With my second, I went ahead and scheduled the section, but, as you said, on the late side. It was scheduled at 12:00 noon on a Tuesday. I went in to labor at 3am that morning. It was AWESOME!! I was ecstatic that my body was able to start labor all on it's own, and I labored a good bit at home. We got to the hospital around 9am, and I had only progressed to TWO!!! Same situation though....he was still floating, and hadn't descended at all. I really wanted a vbac, but I knew at that time, that my body couldn't get him out. I have two beautiful boys now, and the WAY that they got here doesn't matter at all...they're here, and I'm blessed. You will be too!! I hope you're feeling MUCH better WILL get better!!! mwa!!


Holy Crap - 229 people care an awful lot about this topic! Not that you should care, but I think you should do whatever feels right at the time...and in the meantime...for the love of all that is good - get some Zofran!!!


The knocking you out in case of emergency? I think it's a total scam! When I tried for a second vbac and refused an epidural they gave me the gloom and doom WHAT IF... BUT, when I actually needed an emergency section and was sort of looking forward to being knocked out? Suddenly "the epidural is better for the baby."

BAH! BAH, I SAY! It's all a racket.


I don't know anything about VBACs, but I do know about morning sickness and the hell that is early pregnancy. Please go back to your doctor and cry and beg for something. Because there are meds that you can take, they don't like to prescribe them for fear of lawsuits, but they're there and they work. They can make the difference between hell and functioning. Hang in there.


Okay, just one more mama here, agreeing that it doesn't really matter HOW our sweet babies do their exit dance, just as long as everyone is healthy and marginally happy. As for the poop during delivery, I had one of those old-fashioned enemas as I was trying to dilate to 5 cm for my epidural, so that was a very special, messy time that I spent in the bathroom. Moaning. But still, good because there was no poop on the table!


Okay, just one more mama here, agreeing that it doesn't really matter HOW our sweet babies do their exit dance, just as long as everyone is healthy and marginally happy. As for the poop during delivery, I had one of those old-fashioned enemas as I was trying to dilate to 5 cm for my epidural, so that was a very special, messy time that I spent in the bathroom. Moaning. But still, good because there was no poop on the table!


You rock! I had an emergency c-section with my third and I've never been so thankful that the midwife's backup OB had so much experience with them (for whatever reason). He did a fantastic job and my recovery was likewise a breeze. It was totally not a traumatic experience in any way shape or form. I wish more people would share that unapologetically so that others wouldn't have to wallow in unnecessary trauma---and I would have to stop adding a disclaimer every time I talk about my positive experience that I am in no way glorifying unnecessary sections. yadda. yadda. yadda.

Sorry you didn't get a bonus peek at the babe! Hope the nausea abates soon!


I loved my c-section (2nd child). I, too, am part cyborg. Or maybe I was just so goddamn happy that the kid was out and it didn't feel like he was going to come out my butt anymore. And the best part? The next day I didn't remember to eat. After 40 weeks of eating every goddamn 15 minutes or puking, that was pretty cool.


I do believe that I was one of the first commenters to pose the annoying VBAC or c-section question! Thanks for sharing your thought process and decision with us. My c-section was also unplanned and also relatively easy to recover from, and if it happens again, it happens again.


I do believe that I was one of the first commenters to pose the annoying VBAC or c-section question! Thanks for sharing your thought process and decision with us. My c-section was also unplanned and also relatively easy to recover from, and if it happens again, it happens again.


I too had a C-section with my first boy who was 9 pounds 2 ounces. After preparing for a natural birth, and going through an easy (but long) labor, I stopped dilating at 8 (!) cm. After about 8 hours of waiting there, I had to have a C-section.

I now know that the reason my child was so big was SUGAR. Eating a lot of sugar makes big babies. And they grow big only in the last few weeks. The next time, I will know better and cut out all added sugar from my diet to (hopefully) produce a smaller child with a smaller head.


Good luck with your decision...hey, you've got months to worry about it, right? LOL My son had to be evicted at 41 weeks via Pitocin and was also a big boy (but not as big as Noah - GOOD GOOD, woman!). I'm with you on the labor is empowering thing. I was so scared going into it, but as soon as it was over, I was ready to do it again.


Oh, and I yell STOP CRYING to my 2 year old at least twice a week - and I'm as far from pg as you can get. ;)


As long as the baby arrives safe and Mama is fine who cares how it gets here?! There are plus and minus to both and most of the time you don't get the choice anyway so who can argue?
I got told the same thing about the feeling like poop being a good sign and if I had the internet back then I could of googled why and felt better but back then I thought my OB was just a freak. LOL


I had a huge 1st baby too(10.2). I had an even bigger 2nd baby(11.0). I tried both times to have a natural delivery. I had a section both times. My doctor, a women, wanted me to have a VBAC. The thing is, when you have a toddler at home, and you have 31 hours of labor before finally caving in to a c-section, it really takes the stuffings out of you, and recover is longer. So I say, sign up for the c-section. You get to take a healthy baby home, and you will be stronger to take care of things when you get home. Off my soapbox now. Btw-2nd baby is now 17!


Okay, so here's my deal (and, no, I haven't read any of the previous comments)...

I had an emergency c-section the first time around, due to lack of progress in labor. It hurt like hell, but I didn't care, 'cuz the only thing I cared about at the end of the day was having a healthy baby - and I did - all 8 lbs. 10 oz of him.

Second time around, I was given the go ahead from my very new OB to try a VBAC (did I mention that we had just moved 4 hours away from all grandparents?). And try I did, but due to complications - fetal distress - I ended up with another emergency c-section.

But you know what? I healed about 100 times faster this time around and at the end of the day, I had another healthy baby - all 8lbs 12 oz. of him.

Lesson? Don't listen to any of us. Just do what's best for you and your family.

Here endeth the lesson...


Delurking to say love your blog, and where do people who don't even KNOW you (like, uh, ME) get off giving you advice on the BIRTH of your child? As many other posters have said, a safe and healthy delivery is the end product everyone wants - who really cares how it happens? :-) And Noah? Cute as a freaking!


This was my birth plan both times: To have a baby. To leave the hospital with said baby in a few days. That was it. And that's what I got.

(And I yelled at my kids yesterday and I am so not pregnant it's not even funny. So I'm a worse mom than you. Bleah.)


I am 6 monthes pregnant with my second child, my first is two and half years old. This morning we both woke up with icky colds after getting little or no sleep during the night. During our normal morning routine I found myself using "angry mommy voice" several times. While no tears were shed, I still felt a little guilty. Thank you for sharing your REAL mommy experiences with us.

Tara L.

Had an emergency c-section with *MY* Noah in 2004 ... placenta abrubption. Emergency c-section sucked.

Doctor would not allow Vaginal with baby girl Lydia in Oct. 2007

Scheduled c-section was the best experience EeV-AH! Loved it. Totally loved it.

(And I have had two vaginal births way back in the early 90's) SO I know all the options well. I speak with authority -- and the bottom line is -- ignore everyone and do what you want to do.

Tara L.

Congratulations!!!! I read your blog every few weeks and was happy to check in and see your news. So exciting.


You're very brave to let us comment ;)


Nah, I'm just kidding. That thing you had two days before Noah was born though? I had the same thing, at the same time. They said my daughter was going to be huge, so when I didn't progress they did the C-section pretty rapidly. It was in the back of their minds the whole time apparently. Her birth weight was 7lbs 6 oz. Yeah, frickin' huge. They don't know much, is all I think that tells us.

Good luck, hon, whatever decision you make will be the right one for you and your family. I scheduled my second, because he was due on Christmas day, and I selfishly didn't want to ruin Christmas for my then 2 1/2 year old who had just discovered Santa. Both children survived ;)


nice post.

I love to hear a mother that has learned to reject the guilt that many mothers feel about how a birth has/should happen.

The lit. makes those first few minutes seem crucial to how a baby develops. It can be devastating for mothers that don't get that experience because of an emergency C. It makes me mad because it is something that is really out of their control.

power to you.. make the decision that you feel right about and to hell with everyone else's opinion. (Sorry Dad and Dr.)


No advice from me. But I just read a book by a surgeon named Atul Gawande, called "Better." It's about how doctors and hospitals improve the results they get for their patients.

Gawande discusses a lot of things, but one of them is why C-sections are so prevalent in this country. It turns out that C-sections are so widely performed because the procedure easier to TEACH than non-surgival interventions.

There are something like 6-8 different procedures for easing a stuck baby out of its mother's birth canal. (The choice of non-surgical procedure depends on how the baby's stuck: whether one leg is coming out while the other is folded back against the baby's body, or whether the baby is twisted the wrong way so that its shoulders catch, etc.)

All these non-surgical procedures involve subtle (and sometimes forceful) pushing, pulling, rearranging, and sometimes forceps. All of these procedures require a lot of time to learn. All of them require the doctor to have a good "feel" for whether she's performing the procedure correctly, or whether she needs to readjust her approach.

And it's really hard to teach all these different procedures, because the doctor who's performing them has her hands inside the woman she's delivering. The student who's trying to learn can't really see what's going on. The doctor who's performing the procedure can try to describe it, but the success of the teaching depends a lot on how articulate the teacher is and how intuitive/gifted the student is.

But a C-section is just ONE completely standardized, uniform, easily taught (because it is jut as visible to the student as to the doctor who performs it) procedure that addresses ALL the different ways a baby can be stuck.

Teaching hospitals have stopped teaching the non-surgical interventions and now all teach the "one size fits all, idiot-proof" C-section because the surgical intervention virtually guarantees live births, even when performed by less-than-gifted doctors.


Um, about those stitches. I had them, but I still think my scar is puffy. Not apparently as puffy as some others here, but not as good as yours sounds. I think people just heal very differently.


Oh - and for comparison, I had staples for my ACL replacement (2.5 years before baby came along) and those scars are nearly invisible, tiny and white.


I am with you 100%. I had an emergency c due to pre-eclampsia. We tried induction first and it failed (no surprise, I hadn't dilated ONE BIT). When they said the words "tearing" and "cervix" in one sentence and I had been at 5 cm for over ten hours and three pitocin increases, enough was friggin' enough. And I don't feel like I missed out on a damned thing.

If we were any more "bonded", my son and I would be joined at the hip.

I nursed him for a YEAR with no trouble, despite the fact that I didn't see him for an hour afterward.

If you can see my scar, you had better be my husband, because you are looking DAMNED close.

And if I even COULD have any more, which I can't because I am OLD, I would seriously schedule that sucker.

Renee in Seattle

Really, it's all about trust, right? One must trust their OB, and trust that they are going to make the tough calls when the time comes... I mean who can bemoan not having a vaginal delivery when baby and mom's life is in danger? I trusted my OB completely, and knew that she knew WTF she was doing, and when she would say "lets do this, time to do that" during the labor and delivery, I trusted her, because she wanted us to LIVE.


Have I mentioned how much I love your site? Anywaaaay, who cares how the baby exits as long as he (or she) is healthy!


i know the world has already recommended zofran. even my crunchy midwife gave me a scrip when i was so so sick. and it wasn't a cure all but it made me feel remotely human again, if only for small intervals.

no judgment with your birthplan. you know your body. you know your kiddos.


Crystal D

Hang on Chicky. I am at 14 weeks tomorrow and I finally can stay up past 9:00 and I almost have enough energy to walk down and UP the stairs. After weeks of exhausted yelling at my girls, we all had a sit down today about how mommy isn't going to yell anymore, but they have to stop yelling too. We are all going to work on it together. Two weeks ago I couldn't have even thought about working on anything that didn't need immediate attention,you know, like a bleeding head.

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