Boy #4 (Shannon)

Previous post here.
Age – 29
Pregnancies – 5
Births – 3
PP – 9, 6, 2

Hello again everyone! For those not familiar with me, I have given birth to 3 boys so far. Connor would be 9 this month, he passed away when he was 19 months old. Liam is 6, and Emerson will be 2 this month. Right before I got pregnant with Emerson, I lost a baby when I was 7 weeks pregnant. I am now 22 weeks pregnant with my 4th and last baby, another boy! We are naming him Gavin Michael :) I would not call myself a person that likes to be pregnant. In fact, I hate being pregnant! I feel sick the whole time, I feel tired, and I get huge. I started this pregnancy weighing 150 lbs (at only 5’2′), since I had not lost all of my weight from Emerson. After I had Emerson, I did not have motivation to work out, so I didn’t. I very much regret that now! I am 22 weeks and I am up to 166 already. I ended my pregnancy with Liam and Emerson at around 180. After this baby I am planning to get into great shape again, and then get a tummy tuck. I know that I should embrace my loose skin, and I always said that I would not get a tummy tuck (especially after Connor passed away), but I have changed my mind. I just want to feel good in clothes again. Something I was worried about was losing my stretch marks…but since they go far above my belly button, I will keep a lot of them :) I will keep you all posted!

Pictures are Connor age 15 months, Liam age 6, Emerson age 22 months, Gavin, and me at 22 weeks :)

The difference between two and one- having a singleton after twins! (Lindsay)

My first pregnancy, with twins, was scary. At 18 weeks, doctors suspected the possibility of TTTS (Twin-to-twin Transfusion Syndrome). I was put on a strict bed rest, and was only able to leave the house for twice-weekly ultrasounds. Long story short, Baby A’s diastolic blood flow ended up reversing at 31 weeks which resulted in an emergency c-section, 2 and 3 lb babies, a 2 month NICU stay, multiple surgeries, and a roller coaster of emotions.

Despite the hardships we faced with preemies, my c-section experience was not bad. In fact, I thought it was relatively easy. Of course, the recovery was slow, but I certainly did not have a traumatic surgery experience. I had thought if I ever had another baby, that I would definitely opt for another section. But, when I became pregnant again with baby #3, the idea of a VBAC was something that I began to consider. This was likely the last time I would ever be pregnant- I would hate to regret not experiencing labor and delivery the “normal” way. So, I made the decision to attempt a VBAC.

This pregnancy was smooth. Oh, what a difference there was between a twin pregnancy and a singleton pregnancy! I felt great, exercised regularly and ate healthy. Baby measured perfect at every appointment and I easily made it full term. It was a dream pregnancy, really! I was worried about how labor might go- I had never felt a contraction with my twin pregnancy since they were delivered so prematurely. But, people told me I would “know” when it was time. And, boy, did I ever! I labored at home for a few hours and finally decided it was time to go in. When I got there, I was shocked to hear that I was fully dilated! It was time to break my water and push! That also meant there was no time for an epidural. Wait… what?! I had certainly planned on getting one! I immediately thought I couldn’t handle it and the thought of just opting for the c-section crossed my mind briefly. But the pain was so intense, I couldn’t even care. My husband, mom, sisters and mother-in-law were at my side. My doctor arrived shortly after, broke my water, and I began to push.

I wish I could tell you that the rest of the story was calm and relaxed; that I simply listened to my body and gently delivered a beautiful baby. But… that wasn’t quite the case! My experience was beautiful… but it wasn’t calm. There is really no way to describe it. It was the most intense thing I have ever gone through. I may have used some colorful language and called my doctor a liar when she told me I was doing good. I may have even begged to stop and go home a few times. But, an hour and a half of pushing later, our baby girl was born. The memory of the pain just a few short minutes before completely disappeared. I had done it. I not only achieved a VBAC, but I did it completely unmedicated and naturally. I didn’t even have so much of an IV. I gave birth to a healthy, beautiful, full-term baby. I was in love and in awe. I was proud and empowered. Giving birth is a truly amazing experience.

Today, my shape might not be what it once was. My stomach isn’t quite as flat, and traces of the deep stretch marks I once had still linger. But, I LOVE my shape. I love what my body was able to create, the pain it was able to endure, and the miracles it produced. While those miracles may have been what was responsible for stretching my body as far as it could go, it is also responsible for getting it to the shape it is now. Yes, I have three children. Yes, I have stretch marks. Yes, I exercise daily. Yes, health and fitness is a priority to me. And that is FOR my children, not BECAUSE of them. I don’t care what the number on the scale says- I just want to be here, healthy and active, running around the playground, coaching softball teams, playing tag, cuddling, carrying, and loving my babies for a long, long time to come!

~Age: 28
~Number of pregnancies and births: 2 pregnancies, 3 births
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 4 years old and 5 months old (5 months postpartum)

It all seems so petty (Kim)

Previous post here.

I had c-sections with my first two births (please see my previous posts). I wasn’t thrilled with the birth experiences, but I had living babies because of them. My 3rd child was born via successful vba2c. It was amazing to hold her right after she was born. My body was stretched a bit more, but still bounced back nicely. We bought a treadmill and I ran and ran and ran and got in to the best shape I’d been in in years. I was actually lighter than I’d been before I got pregnant with our first child. June 2013 I got pregnant for the fourth time. Something felt off the entire time – the baby didn’t bounce around like I was used to. At my 12 week dating ultrasound I left with a picture and something not sitting quite right in my brain – I STILL don’t know what was wrong, but something was. When I went in for my 18 week doctor appointment on September 13, 2013 there was no heartbeat. The baby had passed days before. I had a D&C at the abortion clinic because there was less waiting than at the hospital. I got back on the treadmill and ran and ran and ran until I was smaller than I’d been when I got pregnant so all evidence of that baby was gone. Except the heartache. And then I ate. And I gained back all the weight I’d lost after my 3rd child was born. It wasn’t much – only about 20lbs, but I was right back where I was when we’d started trying to conceive #4. And then I got pregnant with our 4th child. I was terrified. I distanced myself from her during the pregnancy. I didn’t want my heart broken again – how much grief can one person withstand? I’d joined some late loss groups after my loss and knew that nothing was certain. The moment that baby was born healthy, screaming, via another successful vba2c, my world was complete. My husband at my side – I was whole. We took a picture of our 4 babies in a chair together and felt whole. I had plans. To run. And run. And ignore the loose skin and the sagging boobs and to be in the best shape of my life so I could be healthy with my Ironman (triathlon) husband. And wear a bikini. But it still hasn’t gotten to that point. Baby is 4 weeks old now. 2 weeks ago my 33 year old husband had a major gut pain and went to the emergency room at the hospital. 2 weeks ago we found out my husband has stage 4 colon cancer. 2 weeks ago my husband had a giant tumor removed from his colon and gained a colostomy bag. 2 weeks of happiness, of pure bliss, was all this mother was allowed.

Right now the shape of this mother is broken. Scared. TERRIFIED. We have 4 kids 5 and under. I’m fortunate I don’t suffer from post partum depression because I’m enough of a mess. I don’t look in the mirror. What’s the point? My husband now poops in a bag. If he can deal with that, what’s a well used belly in comparison?! In one of my earlier posts I think I said something about worrying about our body shape being a first world problem. And it is. There are so, so many worse things to worry about, to have happen.

Love yourself the way you are ladies. You’re beautiful, you’re healthy, you’re alive.

~Age: 35
~Number of pregnancies and births: 5p/4b
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 5, 3, 2, 1 month

Update here.

Uba5c Birth Story (Talana)

Hi you all. Here is my birth story… I want you to understand how I got to the decision of homebirth and the feelings I had prior to it. I might bore some of you so please be warned that it’s a long story. Also, if there’s any spelling mistakes or incorrect grammar then I apologise in advance.

A bit of history:
Baby 1 30-05-1995 3.3kg elective caesarean. Doc said she was breach
Baby 2 21-01-2000 4.1kg repeat cs
Baby 3 23-06-2003 3.2kg same story
Baby 4 08-12-2010 3.5kg cs
Baby 5 28-04-2012 3.4kg cs trying for a UB but ended up having cs being 8cm dilated
Baby 6 23-03-2014 3.4kg Unassisted Home Birth

Ok so here goes…

My birth story UBA5C took 18 years in the making. Every one of my beautiful children’s births brought me a little closer to my dream birth. Starting with my first pregnancy…I was young and naïve…believed every word the doctors said…went for every check-up etc. and when they told me I needed a cs I just went along with it.

with my second pregnancy the thought of a natural birth came up but yet again I believed the “trained professionals”…”once a Caesar, always a Caesar”

By nr 3 I had given up on the idea of a natural birth…

Eight years later I met my true love and when we found out I was preggies we were overjoyed. Early on in my fourth pregnancy I decided to try hb. By the first couple of contractions I decided to go to hospital. Stupid hey? Maybe. I don’t know why I didn’t even try harder but maybe I know now that I wasn’t prepared enough. I got a lot of negative feedback from the hospital staff for even getting pregnant after 3cs. Good idea to make someone feel bad when they are vulnerable. I hated every minute being in that hospital.

I got pregnant with baby no 5 and decided to learn as much as I can about vbamc. I went into labour around 07:00 the morning of 27 April 2012. I just knew something was happening. Not to mention the show I had since a week prior. Waiting and wandering when I was going into labour. I actually went for a long brisk walk the day before. Buy now I was 41 weeks and ready to meet this little man.

I didn’t tell anyone that I was in labour and went on with my normal day. I took a nap with my little one and decided to do my shopping trip after our nap…when I woke up something just told me that there’s no way I’m going to be able to do a shopping trip now! Ok so we are low on sugar, low on milk, low on cereal… whatever! It can wait!

Long story short… by midnight the pain was more than I could take (or thought I could take) so hubby and I went to hospital.

At the hospital I was told to “lie down and wait”. Lie down? Are u insane?! Well I listened and lied on my back too scared to move. The contractions were unbearable and I was about 8cm when my waters ruptured. Lol they still made me sign a form to give them permission to insert the loop. Lucky for me I was too far dilated, they said. Oh and not to have ANY more babies…go figure…

July of 2013 I found out I was pregnant…again… would think we were going at it like rabbits but that’s not so…remember…it only takes once. And oh boy! Once was spot on!!! It was quite a pleasant shock. Hubby said it was an old test and I said: “feel it, it’s wet, I just peed on it!” that was like the 3rd test I did that night lol!

I KNEW I was going to have my HB. I did LOTS of research, (not that there was much info on uba5c/hba5c/vba5c). I spoke to, emailed and “facebooked” lots of people. Majority of them telling me it’s too high risk. (Even a well-known doctor told me it’s too high risk…imagine I listened to him. Note so self: email him my birth story…)

I came in contact with an awesome doula (Heidi). The first time I spoke to her her voice was peaceful and reassuring. I think by that time she had more faith in me and my body than what I had. We kept in contact all through my pregnancy and tried on a couple of occasions to meet up. 8 days before Kydans birth we eventually got to meet…and come to think of it we almost postponed that appointment too!

In the last couple of weeks the fear of uterine rupture stuck its ugly head out again. I was starting to doubt that my body was able to birth this baby. Maybe it was also due to the fact that I had to bury both my parents within 42 days of each other…

I had a difficult time enjoying the last 2 months of my pregnancy because of this loss and an impending move.I prayed that things would work out…not the way I wanted it to work out but the way it God wanted it to be. When I did that I started to feel more at peace and I felt more positive that my body would do what it was designed to do.

Fears will always be in the back of your mind. But you deal with them and make peace with it. Then and only then I was ready for this beautiful birth.

Because we were moving I sent all my baby goodies to the new house with hubby…he still made a joke that I’m sending all the stuff to the other house…”what if baby comes at the old house?” I told him not to worry and that baby will only come mid-April. Haha!

Friday 21 march was the beginning of a long weekend. My doula still asked whether it would be okay if she went away for the weekend and I said “Sure” …she had nothing to worry about…
I woke up 11:59pm Friday night with a huge pee. Wiped off and saw what I thought was too much blood. Hubby walked passed and I told him I was in labour. His response: “ye right, don’t joke now”. I phoned Heidi and she said not to worry it’s just a show. She told me to get some rest and thank heavens I listened to her. She phoned me early the next morning and said she was making the 5 hour trip back home and I should rest. I do apologise again for cutting her family’s long weekend short. Xxx

I had contractions most of the morning and early afternoon, trying to relax and watch TV. Everything was now on hold(remember this was our moving weekend). Thinking that baby will come quickly I just lounged around. When Heidi came over around late afternoon the contractions were still far apart. We went for a long walk with pram in tow. We walked passed a car with a little sicker saying “don’t push” on the window…funny!

After the walk we contemplated whether she should go home and come back later. That thought didn’t last long as things started kicking up a notch. Heidi and my 10 year old son were timing contractions and later on I got a bit fed up telling them when contractions started and stop. So I stopped doing it. Hubby was handling the move and the two little ones.
I didn’t want to see how long and far apart the contractions were as I was worried that I would lose focus. PS. Dirty spot on tile floor is good to focus on when in contraction. Lol. Note to self: floors needs a wash.

Late evening I decided to lean on the side of my bed when a contraction came. That only helped for a little while and I got into the shower…Oh boy! The water felt amazing. It took the pain away in an instant. Some counter pressure also helped quite a bit. Not wanting to waste the water that I needed for the bath, I decided to try my bed again.

We decided to fill the bath. I couldn’t wait for the bathwater to be ready! I was looking forward to just lying in the bath. I was in the bath for around 3 or 4 hours and we had to top up the hot water a couple of times. I had gotten a nice position in the bath on my left side with my right arm hanging over the taps and my legs straight down. So when a contraction came I could anchor myself nicely against the side of the bath pushing with my feet against the bottom of the bath.

With every contraction I tapped on the side of the bathe and Heidi knew that I had to squeeze her hand. By the end when the contractions were quite painful I was worried that I would break her fingers.

I got out of the bath to pee at one point but couldn’t hold myself up lol I felt like 2 tons of bricks so she and hubby helped me. I think it was of lying in the bath so long being weightless that I couldn’t carry my own weight. At some point I felt some trickle like my water braking but it didn’t last long and so I just ignored it. My contractions also starting changing to more of a pushing feeling or like a feeling that to poo. Shame my ten year old was lying on his pillow outside the bathroom door for ages, waiting for this baby to make its appearance. Thank you u sweetheart for caring. Xxx I sent him to bed a little after that.

Something just told me to get out of the bath so off to my bed I went. At this stage hubby was lying down with my 3yr old because he was a little antsy and running on all 6 cylinders. Maybe because he could feel the energy in the house changing. He is still on the boob and so badly wanted “milky”. I felt so bad not being in the mood to breastfeed him but really…I couldn’t concentrate on breastfeeding and coping with contractions.

I got on my knees on my bed with the pillows propped under my chest. I started getting shivers and felt I needed to get back to the warmth of the bath because if I started shivering I would not be able to concentrate on the contractions and my breathing. Lol halfway off the bed I got a contraction and it stopped me right in my tracks. I was freezing even though I had a pyjama shirt on. Doula got me warmed up and I got back on my bed..bath forgotten.

Soon I needed to change positions and as I reversed of my bed on all fours a gush of water just squirted out onto poor Heidi. So she’s been baptised in amniotic fluid. (Oops!) I think that was the last of the waters coming out that was lodged in front of babies head.

Okay now I’ve gotten myself leaning with my back against my headboard and pillows under my backside. Not in a laying position…more of a squatting position as I am terrified of lying on my back in labour. (remember the “lie down and wait” saga with my 5th baby) And as you know lying on your back does zero favours for gravity.

Every time I had to push I curled my fingers around the top of the headboard giving me an anchor to push. That helped quite a bit.

Around 03:00/03:30 doula woke hubby and the three of us sat there pushing…well I pushed and they watched! By the last push doula said in a stern voice: “nou moet jy druk Talana!!!” …”push Talana!!!” Oh boy did I PUSH PUSH PUSH!!! Bubbas head was out and not waiting for the next contraction I gave a little more push and he was out! 04:15 giving a nice loud cry for his debut into this world. I was crying too. Tears of joy, accomplishment, love…
Somewhere in that last push I was waiting for the “ring of fire”…where was it? I had a little burning sensation but not as I anticipated. Yay! I eluded the “RING OF FIRE!” (Happy dance) I got baby on my bare chest and he starting nursing like a grown man with a hangover.
I was waiting for the next contraction to deliver the placenta but that didn’t come. If this placenta doesn’t come I would have to go to hospital. HOSPITAL??? No way!!! There was no way I was going to hospital to deliver a placenta!!!with the help off hubby and doula I got myself and bubba off the bed and squatted over the container and just pushed. Thank goodness it came out, intact, I was so relieved. There was still some bleeding but that was from the tear, not a very big tear but it was there.

When the cord stopped pulsating and it was limp and white hubby tied the cord with dental floss and cut it with a scissor…a blunt one!!! (oops, my bad…only scissor I had)
Hubby was so proud of me…I was so proud of me!

He made tea and him and doula cleaned up. Shame she still had a 40 minute drive home. Hubby went to lie by the other kids and bubba and I had skin to skin and was nursing and sleeping and he pood on me sometime when we were dosing off but that didn’t worry me. I got up Sunday morning around 9:30 and was a little light headed when I got to my feet but I was feeling amazing and I was on a God given natural high. I couldn’t believe how good I felt and by late morning I was already on our trampoline with my other little ones! My high lasted for days and days after the birth.

I kept my placenta. I made some placenta prints with it. Cleaned it up, chopped it up and froze it. I swallow one “booster” every day.
You don’t need much for a homebirth…just a pregnant woman!
My hb kit wasn’t even complete yet but I managed perfectly with what I had. The only things i used from my incomplete kit was:
About 7 towels (I ended up throwing one away)
2 sheets
2 receiving blankets
Container for placenta
Dental floss
All of which I already had in my home except for the gloves.

Now 7 weeks later…hindsight…
You won’t believe how different this birth was in relation to my cs. From the recovery to the way I feel about myself, the birth, the baby…everything…different…
Kydan’s umbilical cord came off by day 5 (the other kiddies by day 10) and I think it was a lot to do with the delayed cord clamping. My tear healed within 2 weeks without any stitches and everything looks perfect down there. (tmi?) The light headedness only lasted around 3 days.

7 Weeks later I still feel very proud and in awe of this beautiful amazing empowering experience I was blessed with.

Thank you so much for reading my birth story and please share my story with those who you think might need the encouragement, understanding or those who are just nosy…xxx
My UBA5C was the most empowering thing I’ve done in my whole life…I DID IT!!!

7 children: A Body to Remember (Stacy)

Age: 33
Children: 15, 10, 8, 7, 6, 4, 18 months
Births: 5 C-Sections followed by 2 unassisted births (UBAC)

Previous post here.

Even though I have 5 previous entries here, over the past five and a half years, I feel inclined to submit again. I love this site because it is the only place I have ever found that speaks of the profound changes that women go through and the unique challenge that we face to experience it in the 21st century. Some days it surprises me that women can muster any confidence at all, given the images and verbiage we are forced to ingest everyday; all around us. I like to be reminded of the normalcy of these changes. I like to see the triumphs and the sadness. The joy and the pain. Because, just like with birth, both come as one. To overcome is to conquer the fear of not being enough. To climb the mountain is to see the view we have been waiting for…

My Rainbow Baby and VBA2C! (Shannon)

Most recent post here.
# of pregnancies and births: 4/3
How far pp: 7 years, 4.5 years, 2.5 weeks
Age: 27

As you all know (since I post here frequently!), I lost my 3rd pregnancy. I have had quite the bumpy road as far as my babies go. Connor passed away 5 years and 5 months ago (his 7th birthday was on September 24th), I had my 2nd only a year later, lost my 3rd, and just gave birth to my 4th baby on 9/19, Emerson James! It was a successful VBA2C :) You can read my other posts if you have never read any of my stories.

Here is my birth story written by my husband:

Sunday Night:
We dropped Liam off at Megan and Steve’s house so he could play with Canyon. We left there at a little after 6PM. There was traffic because of a baseball game, so we did a little detour near northeasten. All told we pulled in at 715, right on the dot.

We were admitted to the maternity floor and had a really nice nurse (who had recently graduated from UMass). The next few hours was a combination of doctors (most notably the one with the purple hair clip) to convince you that the best way to induce was to do “the balloon” followed by some Pitosin. You were concerned that, should the induction not take, you would then be coerced into doing a C-section. During the course of this, you were inspected and determined to be 1cm dilated. Also, Purple Hair Clip stripped your membranes. The doctor’s seemed a little confused as they thought you were here for an induction and yet you didn’t want the induction at the same time. In the end, partially due to PHC’s 30% success rate estimate, you decided to talk it over with Dr McElrath, your primary OB/GYN. He wasn’t available at the time, so we decided to get a hotel in hopes that we could meet with him the next morning.

Upon leaving the hospital we checked out the Howard Johnson near Fenway, but there was a game that night so it was very loud (and probably booked anyway). I looked around and decided to stay at the Best Western at 1650 Commonwealth ave. We got into the room at midnight (just as breaking bad was picking up where we left off). We watched the rest of breaking bad, then went to sleep.

We woke up and, after a few phone calls, settled on meeting with Dr McElrath at 1245. In the meantime we went to Whole Foods and got some breakfast in the form of delicious sandwiches. We met with McElrath and you were just as indecisive as last night. Fortunately McElrath made the decision for you, telling you that your best chance was to wait until you go into labor naturally. We decided to go home and wait. Before we left, we had one of what would turn out to be many meals at the Mission.

We got home, where your mom was watching Liam and Molly. The rest of the night was uneventful. We got to tuck Liam in, which was nice.

You starting feeling contractions around 3AM. You timed them for a while and then woke me up and we left around 6AM. Traffic was pretty bad so I cut through Woburn and back out onto 93. That saved us a little bit of time, but it still took about 1.5 hours.

Once there the doctors inspected you (and you were still 1cm dilated). After a few hours they inspected you again, and not much had changed. They said to go walk around for a while to see if that got things going. So we went to lunch at the Mission again and then met Jenny at the park on Mission Hill right off of Birgham Circle. There you did some sort of exercises to try to change Emerson’s position in your belly. I read a book. It was nice.

After the park we went to get something to eat at the Mission again (I had left my credit card there… surprise), this time Jenny joined us. The bartender gave us a free drink on account of your ripeness, which was cool of him.

We then went back to the hospital, and they inspected you… still not much progress (you might have been a little bit more effaced and softer, but nothing huge). After some chatting they decided to keep you overnight to see how things went. They decided this partially because you were having strong contractions.

Unfortunately, the contractions died down by the morning. You might have been 1.5cm dilated, and slightly more effaced, but progress was slow. Instead of inducing we decided to stay the (new) course of letting your body do what it wants to do. We were discharged, had lunch at the Mission, and went home. We got home around 3PM.

Liam was down on the Cape, so it was just us. We got some La Caretta and then hung out for a bit while you took bath (right before which some of your mucus plug came out). Afterwards you said it would be great to get a hotel with a hot tub. We called around and settled on the Crowne Plaza Nashua. We got there at about 630PM. You immediately got in the hot tub (which was concerningly high off the ground… funny to watch your ripe self climb into it). You were overly aggressive with the bubbles and we (mostly I) had to scoop them out and put them in the standup shower. Afterwards, I joined you in the tub (which had jets that shot out at ~100MPH). Shortly afterwards you noticed something in the bubbles. You weren’t sure what it was but we narrowed it down to three possibilities:
You pooped
You lost the rest of your mucus plug
Your water broke
You called the doctor and they said not to be concerned and that it was likely the rest of your mucus plug.

Thursday (midnight)

I should note that at this point your contractions are getting more intense. So we get back in the tub (actually just you for a while… I was chilling in a robe) as your contractions began to become more intense and more frequent. Later I jointed you in the tub and starting timing your contractions. They had been about 3-5 minutes apart for about an hour and a half when we decided to leave. We left the hotel room at 1:20AM.

The trip down to Brigham was an interesting one. I wasn’t sure if we were going to have enough gas, but I didn’t tell you at the time because you were having what appeared to be very painful contractions. Fortunately the gas was enough (barely) and the roads were wide open on account of the time, so we successfully arrived at Brigham at 2:05.

At admitting there was another pregnant woman when we arrived, and another one came in shortly after us. We all went up to the 5th floor of the CWN building (Center for Women and Newborns?). You were the last of the 3 to be brought to a room.

Once in the room, you were inspected and found to be about 4cm dilated at 80% effaced. Finally, we knew this was it and we were not leaving without Emerson coming out. In order to ease your pain and hopefully get you some rest, they gave you an epidural (something you were very excited about). During the epidural the anesthesiologist accidentally touched a wrong nerve, sending your right leg shaking. He said “What was that?” which, at the time, was discomforting. Afterwards we realized he was asking which leg it was (so he knew what it was he had touched). The rest of the anesthesia went off without a hitch and you tried to get some rest. The time was now around 5AM.

You got some rest over the next few hours, so not much happened. The nurse would periodically come in and check Emerson’s vital signs. Throughout the entire ordeal Emerson’s heart rate looked great, so again, nothing notable went on here.
Somewhere in midmorning you were determined to be about 6cm dilated. At this point I called Connie and Jenny to tell them they could come. They arrived late-morning and, after some chatting, you had them wait out in the waiting room until the time was right.
A little bit after noon you were inspected again and it was found that there was “just a lip” remaining. At this point the nurse got you getting ready to push. The next few hours was a slow progression with (what I presume to be) the usual milestones. Once it became clear that the head popping out was imminent, I was sent to fetch Connie and Jennny. They came in and watched. Your Mom prayed in the corner while I held your legs to “help” you push.

It’s worth noting that you pushed like a champ. Uncomfortable, but still cracking jokes. It was funny when they used a mirror to show you what was going on… you thought it was neat, but said you didn’t want to look in the mirror any more. As the head was out they asked if you wanted to touch it. You did, and you must’ve thought it was icky (kind of was), because you then wiped your hand on your gown.

Then you popped out the baby at 4:18PM. They put him on your chest right away, which you keep telling me was awesome (I love you baby… and I get it).
About 15-20 minutes post-partum Emerson latched on for breast-feeding. Maybe it had something to do with the skin-to-skin, but in any case, he was quite boss-like about it.

Attached photos are me 36 weeks pregnant with Emerson and my 3 boys on Connor’s birthday (Connor is on Emerson’s onsie!)

Wrecked (Anonymous)

I got pregnant at 17 years old and I was in a boarding school that ate processed food breakfast, lunch and dinner. I gained 80lbs during that pregnancy that ended in a completely unnecessary c-section. I looked at my body after I gave birth, at only 17 years old was so depressed. I didn’t even have a choice to be healthy and maybe prevent the stretching and weight gain. I felt raped. I couldn’t imagine ever finding anybody that wouldn’t be completely grossed out by the stretch marks on my stomach, legs, and breasts. It was so hard for me to accept for so many years.

As I got older and made more mommy friends, got married, and gained more experience I realized, 4 children later (by the age of 23) that I would rather have my hands full (with all those ugly stretch marks and saggy skin and major diastasis) than to have them empty. I have a husband that loves all of me and 4 perfect kids (two VBA2C babies at home!). A body is just a body. I hate that our society has made them so much more important than our minds and our contributions to society. I have yet to find a stomach that is more wrecked than mine! But that’s ok! Those kids of mine were more than worth it!

AGE: 25
two years postpartum. 5 pregnancies (ages 8,6,4,2), 4 births

Mother of 7 (Stacy)

How can I teach my daughters, and my sons, things I haven’t quite figured out yet? How can I be confident in my own skin when the world, both inside and outside of myself, tells me I should hide? How did women lose their power to just “be”in their role as mother, satisfied with happy children and a healthy birth?

I don’t know, but I know that in late 1980 I was already destined to despise my body, and feel like there was something wrong with it. So I became a fat little girl before I knew I could say no to food that starved my body, and clouded my mind. I always hated myself, and remember at 8 years old trying to make my arms appear smaller by wrapping my upper arms in toilet paper and rubber bands. My “before” pictures would not show much. I was always very large chested and had boyfriends, but overall felt out of place, fat and gross.

Once I had my first daughter at 17 years old, I was scared but happy to spend 9 months growing a little being. I was a good mother. A dedicated college graduate, and had a kind heart. But my ass was still fat, but not as fat as my deformed Csection dissected belly.

I lost 100 pounds, met my husband and went on to have 4 more children. All Csections. 5 Csections and 5 children, 4 of them in 5 years time took a deep and irreversible toll on my body. The multiple Csections left me feeling insecure and inept.

I had my first vaginal birth, 10#5oz baby boy (child #6) unassisted at home with my husband and my children. He was amazing. He still is. This healed places in myself that continue to heal.

I just had my 7th son this past June (2012), another boy, another beautiful and FaSt unassisted birth. I gained 30 pounds, was Doing yoga 5-6 times a week, hiking mountains and standing fully inverted head stands days before he was born.

I love my body now. I accept its amazing ability to heal, carry me through this awesome ride of life, and nurture my children. My sexuality is prime and there is nothing that makes me feel more alive than having confidence inside my skin.

I have 7 children, and could have more. I am 32 years old. I have a masters, I am a massage therapist. I love to write and play music. I love to travel and experience new things. I love to spend time with my children and my lover, partner and friends. I am more than complete… In spite of the holes which have been carved in my body, I am whole.

Updated here.

Second Birth, Second Chance (Colleen)

Previous post here.

My Age: 28
I have two children, aged 3 years 3 months, and 7 weeks.

Seven weeks ago I gave birth to my second daughter. She was my triumphant VBAC, and her birth healed the wound that my cesarean had left in my heart. My body is amazing; we knew what we wanted and by golly, we got it.

And yet…it didn’t exactly go as planned. Nowhere near it, actually. Six days past my due date I developed even worse oligohydramnios than I had with my first. I was sent for an induction; a long, drawn-out process in which pitocin was a last resort because of my previous cesarean. I wanted an all-natural birth. I’ve spent years of my life planning for one, convincing myself that the pain of labor was manageable. The pitocin proved me wrong, and my daughter was born with an epidural after 30 hours of induction and 14 hours of active labor. I pushed her out under my own power, and that’s what’s most important, but the irritation over how medicated her birth was dampened some of the ecstasy I expected to feel.

When I last posted I was fretting over my inability to gain weight, and boy did that change fast. Between my 20 and 24 week appointments, I put on 9 pounds. It continued to shoot up and by the end I had gained 42 pounds (39 of that in the second half of my pregnancy). I don’t know if it was because I had developed habits of eating calorie-dense foods since I wasn’t eating much, or because I essentially starved for 4 months, but even through the lingering nausea it added up. It distressed me to get so close to 200 pounds for the first time in my life (196), but I figured my body knew what it needed.

I’ve lost about 20 pounds or so…maybe a little more. At any rate I seem to have hit that wall where nothing more is going to come off until I make an effort. I WILL make the effort this time, but I’m not ready yet. These two little girls are more important to me than exercise and worrying about calories right now. I once again came out without stretch marks on my tummy. The ones on my thighs and hips spread a little bit (I gain all of my weight in my thighs), and new ones appeared on my love handles. Actually, just one love handle—the left one is covered and the right side only has one lonely stretchie. My biggest problem with them is that they’re not symmetrical! Seriously, how do you grow symmetrically and only one side stretches? It doesn’t make any sense.

Am I at peace with my new body? No, not really. I only have one pair of pants that “fits” (even my maternity pants were too small by the end). My thighs rub together a LOT when I walk. My breasts are larger than ever (32K) and uneven because I’m nursing. I have a little new mommy pooch and—most distressing to me—my face got fatter. But these “flaws” do not consume my every waking moment. I see them, they register, but then I think, “man, I’m sexy”. I carried two babies, I rocked out a VBAC, I breastfed/feed both (the little one nurses like a champ). My husband thinks I’m irresistible. The women in my life tell me I look great (in clothes, of course). I haven’t learned to say “thank you” yet without pointing out a perceived flaw, but I’m getting there. I want my daughters to see confidence. I see the extra weight as something temporary and therefore not something to obsess about.

When I last posted, I decided to include my face in this one (finally!). Then I received a message on Facebook from a man I had never met asking if I was the poster and, frankly, that creeps me out. I understand how it’s possible, but tracking me down took a not-insignificant amount of effort when I obviously chose to remain semi-anonymous for a reason. The fact that it was a man and not another woman just added to the creeptastic factor. Maybe I’ll get brave eventually, but this time isn’t it. I’ll include a lovely silhouette of myself that my husband (accidentally) took at 24 weeks, but that’s as close as I can get this time.

The pictures are 24 weeks pregnant, 40 weeks pregnant, and 6 weeks postpartum.

Updated here.

Searching For My Old Self (Kathleen)

I am 30 years old and the proud mother of two sons – a 21 month old and 9 week old. My first son was delivered via c-section and my second was a successful vbac.

I am very fond of this website and enjoy reading the many courageous and often inspiring stories.

I was forced to deliver via emergency c-section with my first son due to fetal distress. This was heart breaking for me, as I had so badly wanted to experience a natural delivery. I did however quickly come to terms with my dissapointment when I got to hold my sweet little boy for the first time. It may not have been a picture perfect delivery, but he was here, and healthy.

I wasn’t crazy about my new body after my first son, but learned to embrace it one day at a time. The section scar never bothered me. In fact, it was a reminder of the miracles of modern medicine and how the procedure saved my baby.

Fast forward to the present, and I am now 9 weeks post partum with my second beautiful son. I was so very fortunate to experience a successful vbac. I finally had a natural delivery and it was everything I had hoped it would be. My son did however arrive quickly and forcefully, and I sustained a second degree tear and a uterine prolapse. Needless to say, things are no longer the same down there.

My Dr stated that kegels will help a bit but I could consider surgical repair once we are through having children. I feel so disfigured, and it is truly affecting my ability to be intimate with my husband. He is wonderful, tender and supportive, but I have such a huge hang up about it, that I can’t allow myself to enjoy being intimate. This is only compounded by the fact that the sensation is decreased and I don’t like looking at my stretched out body.

I am trying so hard to overcome my hang ups. I have always considered myself to be a strong confident woman….but she seems to be hiding and I don’t know where to find her.

Updated here.