Me holding Sasha for a few seconds before she was rushed to the NICU due to meconium aspiration (inhaling her first poop)


Rewriting Your Birth Story

This is Part 1 of a three-part series on Natural Birth. Click here for Part 2 and Part 3.

Like a lot of first-time moms, I hoped for a natural childbirth. And I did everything I could think of to give myself the best chances of having one: I got a midwife, read Ina May Gaskin, took prenatal yoga. In the end, things went pretty awry. So awry that I came out of childbirth with PTSD, horrific flashbacks, and pain that persisted for the next three years. And I wound up wondering obsessively: Could I have done anything differently to make things less traumatic?

Me meeting Sasha for the first time after 25 hours of labor, including an IV drip, Pitocin, an epidural & an episiotomy

Me meeting Sasha for the first time, after 25 hours of labor, including an IV drip, Pitocin, an epidural, an oxygen mask, a catheter & an episiotomy

I had questions for my midwife. Lots of questions. And I wanted to ask them face to face. So we drove down to see her at Pennsylvania Hospital, where we were met with an out-of-the-blue snowstorm. Which was so weird, because is was snowing like that the last time we drove to that hospital—the day Sasha was born.

Philly when Sasha was born

Philly when Sasha was born

Philly 4 years later

Philly 4 years later

In this episode, I get my questions answered—both by my midwife and by maternal care researcher Saraswathi Vedam, who tells me something that will forever change the way I tell myself my birth story.

Resources for Choices in Childbirth

If you’re pregnant and hoping for a birth with as few medical interventions as possible, I encourage you to check out the resources below. If you’re like me and you wanted a normal birth and didn’t get one, these resources may answer some of your lingering questions.

Survey. Listening to Mothers is a periodically conducted survey, which collects data on women’s experiences and attitudes toward pregnancy, childbirth, and maternal care. If you’re interested in learning more about the rate of different types of interventions, how they’ve changed over time, and how women feel about those interventions, these surveys are a fascinating read. You can see a summary of the most recent survey’s major findings here.

Studies on intervention. In this story, I mention a study by the American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynocologists stating that cesarean is overused on first-time, low-risk moms. You can read that report in Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery. This review from Cochrane Libraries and this study from the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology examine the adverse effects of epidural on mom and baby. If you’re looking for research on Pitocin, this study from BMJ finds a significantly higher risk of severe postpartum hemorrhage with the use of Pitocin in labor, and this one from Obstetrics & Gynecology finds that elective induction significantly increases the risk of C-section in low-risk women.

Studies on place of birth. If you’ve ever tried to get a straight answer on where it’s safer to have a baby, hospital or home, you will find that the existing studies are confusing and conflicting. Saraswathi Vedam, who I interview in the piece, has evaluated the research for quality and veracity, and she has compiled a list of the best available data in her paper Home Birth: An annotated guide to the literature. Several of the studies she cites—this one from Cochrane Database of Systematic Review, this one from BMJ, this one fromBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, this one from the Canadian Medical Association Journal, and this one from the journal Birth—suggest that planned home birth with a qualified attendant and planned hospital birth are equally safe, when it comes to low-risk pregnancies in high resource countries. The caveat is, hospital births come with more frequent medical interventions.

Book. And if you’re looking for a book with a straightforward explanation of normal, physiologic birth, check out Immaculate Deception II by Suzanne Arms. It’s a classic that has held up.

Have you managed to revise YOUR birth story? Tell us how in the comments.

105 thoughts on “EPISODE #27: Rewriting Your Birth Story

  1. Trauma and healing…

    I went into my first birth with confidence in my OB, faith in the system and faith in myself, my reading, my strength, that I would be given options, explained risk/benefit, and be able to have the birth I wanted assuming no major danger… And like many women, I was so, so sadly wrong. I was healthy and active the whole pregnancy, hike 4 miles up a mountain that morning. But when I went into labor and went to the hospital, one barely high BP reading started the cascade of intervention. Without confirming blood tests, the nurse bullied me into getting Magnesium Sulfate and said I had Pre-E. You read about interventions, but nowhere does it explain Mag. It was awful. I ended up getting an epidural many hours later, then my BP crashed so bad (because I didn’t need high BP meds in the first place) they had to jack me up with Epinephrine. Everything stalled and they were about to put me on Pitocin when I just had had enough and said “no”, I wanted to speak to the OB first. She was rude and pushy despite me crying and shaking, and I basically gave up and said “fine, but the lowest dose possible”. Hours later, a different OB delivered my baby using vacuum extraction WITHOUT asking me. I had a 3rd degree tear. In hindsight, I knew he vacuumed to rush the process (10pm, you think?) and did not allow my perineum to stretch or did anything to protect it (nor did anyone at any point ever suggest perineal massage or oils to me). The delivering OB also took me off the Mag right away and said I did not have Pre-E. He explicitly said, if I do this again, and have a slightly elevated BP to insist on an epidural first before Mag. Because of the drugs and rushed extraction, my son had fluid in his lungs, was transferred to a NICU 2 hrs away and I didn’t see him for 24+ hrs. I was traumatized and it cost us over $20,000 since we were self-employed, with insurance, but couldn’t get maternity coverage. I just knew in my heart it didn’t have to happen this way.

    So for my second birth, I found a midwife practice with a birth center in a hospital. It was truly the best of both worlds: The compassion and patience of midwives with access to every possible modern intervention and partnering OBs if necessary. With a midwife practice and seeing many different midwives for my appointments, I had to retell my first birth story over and over again. And I sobbed every single time. It wasn’t until one of the midwives told me that I had PTSD because of the birth, that I finally understood the impact of my story and why I just couldn’t come to terms with it. I should have been happy, my son ended up being perfectly healthy. But I just couldn’t get past the trauma of his birth. The midwives, and especially one, really wanted to help me heal and not go through that again. I learned about perineal massage, Ina May, the Brewer diet, and made a very clear birth plan, including a clause if I had a slightly high BP. Long story short, for my second birth, my BP was fine, I had amazing support of midwives and a doula, had an all natural birth with zero medication, just a slight tear. My daughter stayed on my chest for hours, never left our room and we were ready to go home two hours after the birth. It wasn’t just the birth experience I had hoped for, it was truly a healing experience.

    What’s sad to me though, is even though my experience is common, it is still taboo to talk about with first time moms in their pregnancy. Not that we need to scare pregnant women, but we need to discuss honestly and openly the decision making process during childbirth, the incentive structure and litigation concerns that doctors and hospitals base their care off of, and the actual protocol hospitals take when you check in. Also, like a previous comment above mentioned, the ramifications of these decisions long term can change someone life and family forever. I’ve known several women who wanted multiple children only to have one child because of a traumatic birth. While intervention can be necessary and life saving, women deserve the respect and the real information on the risks, benefits and motivating factors for every decision in the birth process. Choose your care provider very carefully.

    1. Karen, do you have any suggestions on what would be helpful for pregnant first-time moms to know without scaring them? Like, what info would be empowering?

      1. Partly a response to Karen, partly to Hillary:

        I went into my labor with a similarly misplaced trust in the healthcare system to look after my best interests. Interventions have left me with physical trauma that, seven months out, I am still recovering from (at least I hope I am still improving…) and a PTSD diagnosis.

        I am not a healthcare expert, but I really have to question the fear and stigma surrounding cesarean section. There are of course risks, as there are with any abdominal surgery, but I have yet to see a really convincing risk-benefit analysis of c-section vs. the many other types of interventions – or even of natural birth. Here is one article that does attempt to address this – and I wish very much I had seen this before I gave birth:!po=27.7778

        Quality of life should be weighed into the risk-benefit analysis.

        It is deeply upsetting and problematic that these issues are not discussed with women, for fear of scaring them. Women should be as informed as possible as they prepare for this life-altering event, and how their choices may affect their quality of life.

        For women pregnant with their first, I would recommend learning about their pelvic floor – the anatomy and function, what it must go through during childbirth, and what measures can be taken before, during, and after labor to protect it. Be aware of how interventions can affect the pelvic floor (e.g., see above article). I would suggest learning about this with someone else who will be present at the birth – a partner – who can advocate if interventions are recommended. I myself was not in any state during labor to ask questions or to do a careful assessment of what was happening to me. If possible, find a doula or midwife who has some first-hand familiarity with pelvic floor PT.

      2. That is the million dollar question isn’t it. I think the information is out there. But it’s buried inside books and intimidating documentaries that first time moms don’t necessarily want to read or see. It’s buried in the experiences of other moms, who don’t want to offend anyone by sharing. It’s almost like mothers need to come out of the closet and just be willing to openly and honestly share their experiences. Birth is such an emotionally charged topic though, it’s hard for mothers to take the cloak off and open up. Likewise it’s hard for soon-to-be mothers to take the optimism goggles off and get a clear picture of what really happens, even with the information available.

        I think books like Ina May’s Guide are wonderful, and written in such a positive and honest manner. The one thing I think holding back that book and it’s valuable information is the hippie perception of it. Bear with me… When I first picked up that book, the farm, the spiritual stuff, the orgasmic references, and the stories in the beginning of how these women came to find the farm led me to believe it was just for hippie chicks. You know, like the ones that don’t shave their armpits and only use all natural products and oils and that whole culture… (not judging that lifestyle, just noting that mine seems different) I am not a hippie chick. I try to be mindful, not wasteful, eat organic when given the option, but I like my laptop and smartphone, and I like to shave and wear deodorant. And I like the idea* of modern medicine and all it’s capable of. I was never even introduced to Ina May’s book with my first pregnancy. And before I experienced a real hospital birth, I don’t think I would have been able to relate to the women that chose to move to the farm. I liked the idea of a hospital just incase. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know, which, is the essence of the whole problem.

        With my first pregnancy, I knew plenty of mothers, but no one offered to share with me their honest birth story. I wish they had. I would have been open to hearing it, and genuinely would have taken any advice or wisdom they were willing to share. But, as it was, I went through the whole pregnancy just not fully aware. All I knew was from the hospital birthing class, pamphlets and unhelpful books like “What to Expect…”.

        After giving birth, it does feel like you’re suddenly part of a club, a secret club of women who get it. And I realize it’s impossible for a woman who’s never given birth to truly know what it’s like to go through it. But why is this club so hush hush? After all, the answers to most of our big problems lie within education and awareness. But we don’t really educate new pregnant women, or their partners for that matter.

        Problems aren’t solved when they’re brushed under the rug. Look any at of the big health topics in the past century. HIV, cancer, smoking, mental health, alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, skin cancer… Of course we cannot prevent these health issues 100%, but with awareness and education, we have reduced these problems and improved outcomes for millions of people who face health issues. Why is childbirth any different?

        We need to come out of the closet. We need raise awareness like pink ribbons have done for breast cancer. We need to not be afraid to speak candidly with women and their partners. I realize not every mother might be up for this. That’s ok. There are plenty of mothers who are, but who just don’t want to offend anyone. We need to offend people, with the truth. Obviously any campaign to raise awareness surrounding birth needs to be managed diplomatically and delicately, but the point is, we need a campaign.

        I may be more outspoken than most. I will share my story, in a matter-of-fact (not intended to induce fear) way, with anyone. I will unabashedly tell a friend “You can say ‘NO’ to pitocin” (or induction, or a cervical check, etc…) and try to point them to the most accurate and unbiased scientific research I can find on the risks/benefits of all these procedures. It’s so complex though, as so much can happen and the decision making in the moment is nearly impossible for the woman in labor. So I also try to educate anyone who will listen on the importance of labor support, wether it’s a midwife, doula, or knowledgeable friend who has been through it to be by her side and helping to communicate and facilitate good decisions. Fortunately, at least in my experience, the midwives I worked with always took their time to explain what was happening and options. Thanks to sharing my disrespectful hospital experience with a close friend, she switched practices to a midwifery group and had a great experience. I got to be there for her birth, while I was pregnant with my second. It was such a dramatic difference to see the respect given to my friend in labor, and the care with how she was presented information and options compared to my first birth.

        One of my best friends is pregnant with her first right now. I have sent her Ina May’s Guide, The Business of Baby, my copy of The Business of Being Born, various links and tried to talk with her about the choice of an OB vs Midwife, doula or no doula, pitocin, epidural and her perineum. Mostly though, she doesn’t want to talk about it. She wants an all natural birth, and is going with an OB practice at a hospital that has a high c-section rate. She doesn’t think she needs a doula and her insurance won’t cover it. She said to me, “the difference between you and me is that I trust my OB”. I told her I did with my first too. But she also doesn’t want to read about what can go wrong because she doesn’t want to spend her pregnancy consumed with fear. Which I understand. I told her I just wanted to give her as much information as possible, and to let her know that doctors and nurses will want to do things their way. I didn’t want her to be surprised when it didn’t go her way. I left off with one last suggestion again to read Ina May’s book since it was informative and empowering, and will fill her with positive and capable thoughts.

        Everything in life is a risk analysis. But like that article from the NIH says: “Women have a right to consider the evidence and weigh the potential risks and benefits, and thereby participate more equally in the decisions concerning their pregnancy and mode of delivery.” Ultimately, without education of these risks and benefits, and support in labor, we are leaving women out of the equation when it comes to choices made about their body and their baby. Women deserve better.

        (Sorry for such a long reply. Love the podcast, thank you, keep up the great work! And I’m pregnant with my third – AH!)

        1. Wonderful reply.

          I have been thinking exactly along the lines that you put forth, that we need some sort of public awareness campaign – something like what has happened for breast cancer, skin cancer, etc. After my own difficult birth experience, I’ve often wondered why there hasn’t been one. Perhaps one reason is that for the most part what we are talking about here is not a question of life or death.

          Before I gave birth, I did not do a lot of reasearch. My reasoning was that giving birth is such an intense and unpredictable event, meticulous planning might only set me up for disappointment. I read a few birth stories, talked to my mother and a few friends about theirs, and went to a childbirth class. I wanted to give birth in the hospital (just in case), but I chose midwife care and a doula. I knew that there was a good chance I would end up with a c-section, but I was ok with that. In some ways, I feel like by chosing to have a midwife and doula, I was lazier about education myself about my choices in the hospital, as I thought these women would be there to help me make informed choices. It turned out that when a perceived emergency arose, both of them stood by and let the doctors do their thing. Without wishing to get into the details, I had a difficult forceps delivery, when I believe – after research and talking to numerous doctors – it should have been clear that a c-section was the right choice for me (hence my vocalization about c-sections…). Immediately afterwards, my doula said to me, “well, it was an assisted delivery, but still better than c-section.” After months of pain, discomfort, and pelvic floor disfunction, I cannot disagree more. My ability to care for and enjoy my baby has been compromised much more than it might have had I had to sacrifice the first couple of hours with him, or had been unable to breastfeed. I think my doula was just of the opinion (like that mentioned in the article I linked to) that vaginal, no matter what means, is preferable to c-section.

          In my childbirth class, it was mentioned that interventions such as pitocin, epidural, etc., greatly increased the risk of c-section or instrumental birth, but the risks and benefits of these final interventions were never addressed. It seemed like the message was, interventions are just bad because you don’t get a wonderful natural birth. Discomforts of pregnancy were discussed at length, but never were any of the physical problems or complications following birth. If I had known how prevelant pelvic floor problems are in even a normal birth, I think I might have been much more on my guard when forceps were brought out. Instead, because I had heard so often how much I should want to avoid the dreaded c-section, I did not protest.

          Ina May’s book and the natural birth advocates have made a lot of progress in helping women to find better ways to give birth. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be the same kind of support for women who want a hospital birth, or who want to consider interventions or procedures such as epidural or elective c-section.

          I have difficulty talking about my experience with pregnant women – not because I am afraid of offending them, but because I am still so traumatized by my own experience. I hope that I will reach a point where I may do so in the matter-of-fact way that you do.

    1. GreAt article! I just sent it to my sister-in-law who is due in a month. I hope she really reads it and doesn’t get mad at me. I wish I had read it a million times prior to my traumatic birth and I wish wish wish I had trusted my instinct and gotten a doula. One of my medwives (not a typo) said they were not necessary in our case and too expensive – a waste of time energy and money. If I hadn’t been a paranoid indecisive mess … Well I think I would have stuck to my guns in so many ways!

  2. I did everything so-called right: prenatal yoga, lots of birth training at home, meditation CDs and art therapy, quick natural delivery, no drugs, and my son was a terrible nurser; the lactation consultants I saw surmised it was because of 2 hours of pushing and perhaps his presentation during it. I suffered a lot after his birth, not in my physical body because my delivery was so picture perfect, but in my soul, because I did not receive the oxytocin benefits usual to nursing because of his painful latch, which he never did get over, despite having a laser process to cut the skin flap attaching his tongue to the floor of his mouth. He was also hospitalized after 3 days because they thought he had a dangerous virus. And did I mention the hospital was so busy we didn’t get to stay in the delivery room so we were rushed upstairs about 20 minutes post delivery to the recovery room? What I’m trying to say here is that I had the delivery many say they want but other stuff went down. Birth is natural, beautiful, but there is risk involved. Women used to die. Babies used to die too. We know so much more now and can more easily stay safe, but it is still the closest I have ever felt to death… no surprise since I was giving life. I celebrate my whole experience both as wonderful moments and teaching opportunities: I will speak up for myself, I will be more brave for my son, but I did the best I could with the information I had at hand, and I can choose to be sad about it, or to be gleeful that I got to have the experience of becoming a mother.

  3. Thanks for this series. I am searching for my own way to find peace in the story of my son’s birth. He was born via c-section after I transfered to a hospital from an attempted homebirth. I am well educated about birth and yet this still happened. I hired a midwife I trusted and she emotionally abused my partner and manipulated me into things I didn’t want to do. I think about my son’s birth every day and wonder what I could have done differently. In retrospect, I have some ideas, but I know I can never know for sure. I can’t talk to the providers at the hospital because I have no relationship with them. I can’t talk to the homebirth midwife because we fired her and, honestly, if I ever see her again, it will take more effort than the 5 hours of pushing I endured not to kill her. I am on this journey by myself, seeking other people who are in this process. Our stories are really different, but I am so grateful that you shared yours. Hearing other stories helps me not feel so alone.

    1. Hi Kirsten, that is sounds very, very difficult. I am so sorry you went through such a traumatic birthing situation. I hope you find some peace. Love to you

  4. Hi Hillary. I really enjoy your podcast – I think it’s really inspired and refreshing. Sorry I’m a bit late to the party – I just discovered it and have been binge listening over the course of the last week! I was hoping you could elaborate on a couple of points made in this episode. I have to admit, I really struggled with understanding parts of it, particularly in light of my own (positive) experience with a scheduled C section, and the fact that I also had a meconium baby. I chose to have a C section because it seemed to be less risky than my other options at the time. There were interventions I could have requested that may have avoided the need for a C section, but the risk of those interventions seemed to offset the risk of surgery. I tried the less risky alternatives first, and they failed. Anyway… First, early in the episode, you state, “It convinced me for sure that I wouldn’t have been better off with a C section.” Could you speak to this a little further? It strikes me that maybe you would have been better off with a C section, *assuming* one of the risks that you describe about C sections didn’t happen. The studies you quoted seem to conclude that these risks are *less* likely than a complication-free outcome (even though of course they are higher than they would be in a natural childbirth). I don’t wish to be critical, but I felt like this statement requires a huge logical leap. Second, I couldn’t understand why Saraswathi thought you also would have been better off with a home birth, considering your daughter had to be taken to the NICU for treatment. Wouldn’t that have increased the amount of time before she could have received treatment? Again, I really don’t wish to be critical – I’m just seeking to understand these points. I think there’s generally a lot of societal judgment these days for women who have C sections. I thought this episode may have presented women who need to have C sections, or decide that they may be better off with a C section, in an unfair light. Again, maybe there is something I’m failing to understand, and I really, really don’t wish to be critical because I think you are very brave for sharing your story. Thank you for bringing more attention to this topic!

    1. Audrey, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I agree that I need to do some more digging around the topic of C-sections. And will be doing so in a future episode that we’re currently researching. I have no judgment for women who get C-sections. Though I do believe, based on studies I’ve read, and professionals I’ve spoken with, that the C-section rate is this country is higher than necessary. And I stand by the statement that I don’t believe I needed one. That said, there ARE people for whom the procedure is necessary and life-saving. About the NICU, it think it is unclear whether that was necessary for my daughter. And I’m not convinced it was necessary to separate us for 3 days. I’ve gotten mixed feedback on that from midwives and OBs alike. We will never know. Anyway, more to come.

    2. I had these same thoughts. And – please note I also don’t want to sound critical! – but Hillary changed the wording a bit in her reply from not having “been better off” with a C-section to not having “needed one.” These can be quite different.

      I think the C-section risks are much overstated, and vaginal birth risks very much understated. One thing missing from this podcast regarding C-sections are the statistics – there are indeed many serious risks to a C-section, but how frequently do they occur? And how does this compare to the rate of complications in a vaginal birth? As the birth injury podcast illustrates, there are many problems that arise after a vaginal birth that aren’t widely discussed, and are probably often neglected when evaluating a comparison with C-section. Moreover, the postnatal PTSD rate is virtually zero for women after a planned C -section, which is not the case for those after a vaginal birth.

      Many professionals may be stating that there “too many” C-sections taking place now, but interestingly, many doctors I have talked to recently would prefer an elective C-section for themselves or their family members. The popular belief seems to be that this is because doctors desire a fixed schedule, but at least the doctors I’ve talked to are far more concerned about the potential complications of a vaginal birth.

      Here is a webpage providing some information for women considering requesting a planned C-section:

  5. I found the blog “Evidence Based birth” to be immensely helpful in preparing for my daughter’s birth. The author (a nurse and PhD) summarizes research studies in a very readable, approachable way and strikes a good balance on warning vs positivity and home birth vs hospital. There were several times where OBs tried to scare me and my husband with inaccurate info (eg one tried to scare me into inducing earlier than research supports), and being well-informed allowed us to confidently make decisions for ourselves.
    Thank you for your podcasts and for encouraging discussion on this topic.

  6. Hi!
    I’m late I know, but I’ve only recently found your podcast, and I’ve been skipping around it, listening to episodes at random. I was listening to this one today, and I found it a little disappointing, because you didn’t interview any OBs. As a result, you got the answer (No! Of course you wouldn’t have needed a Csection!) that any natural birth advocate (ie, most midwives) would give you. I mean, sure your baby was fine without the surgery, but YOU were not, and I agree with you, that a happy and healthy baby AND MOTHER are the most important outcomes of a birth. The process, how the baby actually arrives, is not really so important.

    I am so sorry that you had such trauma, and it was brave of you to go back and talk to the midwife and try to get some closure. It is good to know about choices, but in reality, no one can choose to have birth go as planned, no matter how “educated” she is. And to completely understand choices, we must be aware of the benefits AND risks: that midwife Saraswathi didn’t mention the risks of homebirth or vaginal birth, and focused only on the risks of Csection without explaining the likelihood of any of those risks. I recall she mentioned massive hemorrhage as a C section risk, however its also a risk of vaginal birth, and you don’t want to be at home if it happens.

    Anyway, seeing as this episode was published some 18mos ago, I imagine you are in a better place, at least I hope you are. I didn’t have a traumatic birth, but I did have PPD, and both experiences tend to be marginalized in this country. Podcasts like yours are such a great way to reach people, to raise awareness of these issues, as well as provide a place for women to talk about their experiences. Keep up the great work!

  7. I had my son when I was 25. I was terrified of giving birth and now was 12 days late with him and was no longer replenishing my amniotic fluid. I had to be induced with pitocin and cervidil. Going into labor was like hitting a brick wall at 100 mph. And it lasted 26 hours. No fluid when they broke my water either. Back then, they didn’t give you an epidural until you were at least 4 cm dilated. But luckily my nurses lied to the anesthesiologist and I got mine at 3 cm. And then things really moved along. My OB was amazing. He spent the night with me while I labored. When I finally fully dilated and was preparing to push, they took my epidural. I pushed for 4 1/2 hours. My OB used his hands to stretch and massage my perineum the whole time and I am so grateful for it. It prevented me from having an episiotomy or tearing. I delivered (“dry delivery”) my 7 lb 3 oz baby with no tears at all. I was up and walking around and went home the next day as if I hadn’t had a baby at all. Talk about lucky!

    Fast forward 17 years to my second baby. I was 42 when I had my daughter. I was still terrified of giving birth and now we have the internet. All I could do was read horror stories. And I still remember (like it was 10 minutes ago) how it felt when my son crowned. But things have since changed in a few ways. I didn’t have to wait for my epidural when I go into labor and I keep my epidural while pushing. However none of the doctors in my large, high risk MFM practice were comfortable with the idea of perineal massage. But one of my nurses was very educated with it and actually gave us some info so my husband could help with it.

    I was so scared of an episiotomy and of tearing, so I got on the internet to learn how to prevent it. I found out that forced pushing is really a western medicine practice meant to speed up the process of labor & delivery and it is unnecessary. The point of contractions is to move the baby out of the body. And the forced and timed pushing is what actually causes tears in the first place. You can “labor down” naturally which is way less traumatic. The other thing I found was a really cool device called an Epi-No. It is not approved in the US but it is sold in Canada and almost everywhere else. It’s a device that helps stretch the perineum before birth and also helps strengthen it back up after. I have a friend in Ireland who shipped it to me. I practiced with it every single day at the end of my pregnancy. However, I never put that practice to use.

    I was 2 weeks late with my daughter and was in bad shape. We induced again but this time with a foley catheter that forced my cervix open.OUCH! It led to a severe intrauterine infection and after 34 hours of labor with zero progress and with 105 fever and constant vomiting, my kidneys were failing and I had an emergency c section. I work in health care (surgeries) and was even more scared of a c section. There were quite a few complications during surgery because of the infection (I ruptured and almost bled out). But the recovery from the c section itself wasn’t bad at all and the doctor who did the surgery did an amazing job, especially with all that was happening. But I had lost a lot of blood and had to be transfused a few times over the 9 days I spent in the hospital after. I was really sick so I never really produced breast milk and was barely able to nurse for even 3 weeks while supplementing. I still feel guilty about that because my daughter (now 20 months) is allergic to so many things.

    In hindsight, I knew better than to have that type of induction and yet I still did. I also should have just gotten over my fears and given how bad of shape I was in at then end of my pregnancy, I should have just gotten the c section from the start. I should have just gone with my gut instincts. I would have avoided the infection and dangers it brought. I am lucky that my daughter was healthy and ok after all of this. But it was a close call for us both because of how horrible the infection was. If I had to do it over again, I would have just gone for the c section from the start.

  8. Thank you for this podcast. Your story is so different from mine, but it still made me feel less alone, less of a failure… My twins are 2,5 years old and I still hurt inside when I think about that day and the following days… But I’m not alone, I’m not a failure, I am one of many. Thank you.

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