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I think you did a fantastic job...I think that's the baby blues talking when you are thinking you didn't do so were awesome! My baby blues and finally PPD led me to believe that I failed because I had a csection and because I was so sick after it that I don't remember much and couldn't take care of my babies myself. But the truth is that I did the best I could with the hand I was dilation at all after induction. Nothing. What else could have been done?

That's the thing you need to keep on did an absolutely amazing job! I loved reading this because as much as I would not want to go through everything you went through, part of me feels I was cheated out of the first few days with my babies. You overcame it all and the reward was not having to recover from major surgery right after your daughter entered this world. You were here for her....that's the most important thing in the world.


I'm due after Thanksgiving, I want to say your story is inspiring. No shit it isn't easy. I think you handled it admirably.
I am proud of you.
I hope I can be as proud of myself.


I think you did a great job! And I agree, no matter how your delivery goes: c-section, epidural, drug-free, etc. as long as you got a baby, you did your job!

And I did it with no epidural or pain meds, but needed pitocin, and did OK too. She'll be turning 5-years-old next week! Time flies. I need the drugs now. I hear I'll really need them when she's a teenager!


When I was pushing (for more than 3 hours) I was just waiting for someone to say, "ok, c-section." I would have so gratefully agreed. As it was, when the resident suggested she could make a "tiny episiotomy" and the baby would come out on the next push, I yelled, "Cut it!" so eagerly that the whole room -- seemingly dozens of residents -- burst into laughter.

Actually, the tiny episiotomy turned into a 4th degree tear. But the baby really did come out on the next push, so at the time, I could have cared less.


And YOU DID IT! It's also awesome that Sophia will one day have access, should she be curious and should you be inclined to share, to it in the written word. (I would always ask my own Mother what her experience was with me and I never got such bona fide details)

This trilogy and post script has been quite a ride, thank you for sharing.


I hope you know how inspiring you are, Jo. Really.


Two unmedicated births, here. The first was long and painful and shook me to my core. I spent a lot of time thinking about all the whining and complaining I did, too, Jo, but finally came to the conclusion that that was part of the hormonal experience. And as such it was necessary for me to have that experience, even though the breakdown wasn't something I was necessarily proud of. Now I knew what I was really made of--foul-mouthed complaining, sobbing fall-apart on the outside, but tiger mother on the inside.

So then I got my second birth: long, pokey, contractions as bad as I knew they'd get, but only every 12 minutes. So far apart that my endorphins didn't even look up from their crossword puzzles to think about visiting me. Far enough apart that the hypnobirthing did nothing because I was too busy cursing at the inconvenient pain. And yet I *still* called up my midwife to beg her to meet me at the hospital and OK a c-section. (She laughed at me.) I think the complaining is part and parcel of the unmedicated labor experience.

And, yes, I know that the only way I made it through my first birth was with supportive people telling me I could do it. I can't blame or fault or think any less of any woman who ends up with a baby any other way, because it's all just the luck of the draw.


When I read Louise's comment the first time, about how this won't be the hardest thing you'll ever do for your child - I cried. I cried because I know it's so true. Perhaps its the journey of birth, no matter how we come to it or through it, that prepares us in some small way for the rest of our job as mothers.

Again, thank you for describing your experience with such clarity. It makes me feel better about my unexpectedly unmedicated birth with Thomas, during which I kept thinking I was a world-class wimp. Who knew that epidurals can come out?


Thanks for writing part 4, Jo, I needed to hear that.

You ARE amazing. This story blows my mind. Thanks for sharing it.


Your birth story reminded me of a lot of things I felt when giving birth myself. I remembered wanting a natural birth. I wanted to walk the halls, sit on a birthing ball, take a hot shower, get on my hands and knees. I got to do none of those things. My water broke 6 weeks early and I was on constant monitoring, received Pitocin, went from 0 - 60 in, well...0-60. I had no contractions in my abdomen, they started in the cervix/vaginal area and were intense. And they seemed, at least, to be coming every 30 seconds and lasting oh, about an hour each. My blood pressure was up (and had been for a week) and my sister said, "you don't look good. I decided if I was going to be forced to lie on my back and suffer motionless, I might as well get the dang epidural. Looking back, I realize I was in transition then. Had they checked me before giving me the epidural, I might have changed my mind. As it was, I was complete within an hour of the epi, and after pushing for 49 minutes, all 6lbs, 11oz of him came sliding out. He spent a week in the NICU and when we brought him home I thought the nurses must be on crack to let us take him. I look back and realize that he's mine, and the experience was mine, and it's okay.

No one can tell you how painful it is. First of all, we all have a different pain tolerance, do forget. Third...even if they could tell you, if you haven't experienced it yourself, you just can't prepare for it.

In telling your story you may feel embarassed for what you think is weakness, or ungraceful behavior, but it made you seem human to me, if still amazing. If you had gone through all that without some sort of fit I would assume you were lying anyway. Your family is beautiful and I can't wait to hear more about Sophia. Being a Mom changes everything.


That was really, really, really well said.


(I was referring to what Jo said. But I think the comments were well said too!)


You continually amaze me with your insight. I love reading your blog. I am currently 34wks pg with our first(after 4 years of Infertility and IVF) You have given me an insight into childbirth that I am so grateful for. Out of all of the books I've read, websites I've been to, videos I've seen, and the one birth I witnessed (sorta - she wound up with a c-section after the baby got stuck - so I didn't actually see the birth. I did see the labor and transition - she pushed for about an hour and a half) I feel like I have learned more from your birth story than pretty much all of that combined. Your story is very empowering. I somehow feel a little more prepared. Prepared isn't really the right word. I'm not really sure what is but I feel it :)
Thank you again for your inspiring words. They are very touching. I found myself reading them and getting chills. I could just be hormonal from the pg but there were many points where I just wanted to cry.
You are amazing and inspiring. Thank you again


Thanks so much for sharing your story, Jo, and the follow-up. Really amazing, and you are a heck of a writer.

I also had a natural unmedicated birth by the luck of the draw of my skilled midwives. A OP baby, 9 lbs. 10 oz., very slow dilation, intense pain, vomiting. When he did turn to OA, though, it was only 1.5 hours from 5 cm to 10 cm, and only 1 hour of pushing. Yet, I begged for an epidural at various low moments through the labor. I cried, and lost it, and told everyone in the room I was terrified, and I was. They just kept telling me I could do it. Right afterwards, I was so embarrassed. I kept apologizing for all the things I said, and finally the midwives told me to shut up (in those words!). I'm so in debt to them--without them, I'd have had a section for sure. Since colic boy was so colicky right off the bat, I'm grateful I didn't need to deal with colic and post-section recovery.

I don't know what I'm trying to say other than to tell you I understand how you can be proud of yourself and still think you were a wuss. :)


Well, then, I'll say it: You are *definitely* more badass than most women.

In a good way.


Your story was incredibly moving, but this post especially so. I'm going to have my partner read it. We had our baby not long before you had Sofia -- in fact I was following your labor-not-starting saga as we were trying to get labor to start ourselves. And though our experience was much different than yours, I feel that this post has so much to offer my partner just as it has so much to say to anyone who's giving, given or about to give birth.


Well said, Jo. I second that. And I love what Louise said, cause she's right. It is not the hardest thing you'll ever do for your kids. I have a dear friend that knows that all too well. She has a seven year old that has been battling brain cancer for four years. We ain't got no problems, ladies.


wow thank you for sharing your story. I had a totally different birth experience but, it is just amazes me how similar too.

congratulations and hang on it's a wild ride!


As one of the first time pregnant gals staring down the barrel at her due date reading I have to say I wouldn’t call your birth story scary per say. I would call it real and in it’s own way real is scary because you didn’t gloss things over, you didn’t sugar coat things for us. Your birth story was no Hollywood version of birth, and although I think the Discovery Cahnnel and the like do a slightly better job of telling real stories none of them come as close to real as yours does Jo. If anything I find a lot of courage for myself when I read your story, courage in knowing that it will be worse that I currently think it will but that I can (and have to) get through it, you know one way or another. I remember thinking “so true, so true” when I read Louise’s comments during your birth and Summer’s post in your comments. In a way yes I’m scared, scared of the unknown, scared of being out of control of my own body, but in a lot of ways I’m clam, ready, and (I laugh as I type this) resigned. There is only one way to go and that is forward.

Thank you so much for sharing and you’ve done (and are doing) an incredible job.


I think what Louise said about your choice not being the hardest one you will have to make for you child really reverberated with me too. You are going to have many more choices to make for little smouse and hopefully they will always be the best choices for the both of you.

I can still can't get over the fact that 911 didn't answer the phone. It's good that you filed a police report but still what about all the other emergancies! At least you had people who could help you get to a hospital.


I am in awe. And while your story of the whole ordeal scared me shitless, you also did a marvelous job of making it clear that it is ok. You are incredible. Thank you a million times over for taking the time to write all of this.

Love you Jo!


I'm glad I came to this in one sitting, reading it pc by pc would have driven me nuts.

You did an amazing thing, and you did an incredible job writing about it.....with so much grace and knowledge and understanding. Birth pain is like no other, for better and for worse....and there is no one right way to do any of it...any more than there is one right way to parent.


Linda B

Disappointment is the last thing you should ever EVER feel. Your story is amazing and so are you.


After I came home from the hospital after being hit by a car, my mother and I had a talk about what was most painful.

My mother said that most women thought giving birth was the most painful experience of their life. Then she said that *she* thought surgery was much more painful (she had open heart surgery after her heart collapsed when I was an infant). Even though she was in labour for 39 hours with my brother (her first child).

I'm hoping she's right. I have an extremely high pain tolerance level, but I don't think I *want* to deal with the amount of pain that occurs when one shatters their elbow again.


Thanks ;)

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