A mums experience of using donated breast milk for her premature baby Harry.
My surgical wound healed easily and my blood sugars returned to normal within 48 hours. DH followed and picked up our son and my in-laws so they could see her and 10 minutes later when my surgery was over, the nurses and doctors took me to recovery, and my midwife went to get Amy. My son could tell I was worried because he was right there. By this time I realized that I had been a bit arrogant about how much work this would all entail. Upon finding out about the pregnancy, I began overeating in an extreme way.
In This Section
Could something have gone wrong? But I believe the chances of that are greatly reduced by allowing my body to labor the way it wanted to. Also, I trusted my midwife, and I trusted my body that whatever could have happened, would be manageable.
The whole experience was wonderful. The baby is beautiful and healthy. I thank the Lord for all the wonderful blessings he has given my family. Kathy1's Story GD, baby's head tilted, vaginal birth. Kathy's long days of pre-labor 'false labor' and then stalling at 4 cm for a while was a good clue that something was wrong with the baby's position. Unfortunately, most doctors pay very little attention to this, and breaking her waters may have forced her baby into instead of through her pelvic bones.
Adding pitocin on top of that poor position to strengthen contractions pushing baby down may well have caused the damage and bruising she saw in her baby after birth, although of course it's difficult to know for sure. Kathy1's first child was delivered vaginally at about 40 weeks after being induced on a mostly unripe cervix. She found labor tolerable until the doctor broke her waters at about 3 cm, and then contractions became very intense and nearly continuous very common occurrence.
Eventually she opted for the epidural as a result, and did get some sleep. During transition, she desperately wanted to get up and move around, but was trapped in the bed by wires etc.
She began to feel the urge to push but was not allowed to until dilation finished, and had trouble keeping from hyperventilating. Eventually she began pushing, although it was not very effective due to the epidural. After an hour and 40 minutes of pushing, her son was born, weighing 8 lbs, 14 oz. However, the amniotic sac was not delivered with the placenta as it should have been and the doctor had to go get it, which was difficult, caused a lot of bleeding, and caused her to need a lot of pitocin afterwards.
With Kathy's second child, her father was diagnosed with type II diabetes during her pregnancy, and so she opted to be tested early for gd at 20 weeks. She did indeed have it, but was able to control it through diet only.
Because of the gd and the fact that her previous baby had been almost 9 lbs. Fearing a pit induction again, she tried a castor oil induction at 38 weeks instead. The following is her story.
I drank 4 oz of castor oil with equal parts orange juice about 7 pm. After about 3 hours, I began having diarrhea, which lasted for maybe 2 hours. And then about an hour after it ended, the contractions began.
A friend joined us at the hospital and she and I giggled and talked through the early labor while my husband snoozed. I walked the halls, taking breaks to be monitored for about 15 minutes every hour. The contractions weren't bad at all, and I was having no problem dealing with them.
The contractions got much harder and faster, and I was really breathing through them, but we were all still in a good mood and laughing and talking between contractions. By about 1 pm I was totally effaced and 4 cm, but my labor had stopped. I was getting very tired by then and discouraged. So I tried to rest and see if things would pick back up. After walking and trying various things, we started some pitocin about 4 pm. The contractions got much harder, and after about an hour I started to feel panicky, as it was getting more difficult to handle the contractions..
So they gave me a bit of Stadol to try to help me relax, but it wore off quickly. Just when I thought I couldn't take anymore, my friend Amy arrived. Amy has been an OB nurse for many years, and is now a lactation consultant and childbirth educator. Needless to say, she knows how to handle a woman in labor! I was crying when she walked in, and I started begging her saying "Please I want an epidural!! You need to calm down.
When I got panicky, she'd just get stern again and tell me to look at her. Then a strange thing happened. I relaxed and I began to feel empowered. If I paid attention, my body was trying to tell me what positions helped the contractions along. It felt better to be standing and swaying, and pacing around. I did that for a while, and Amy was keeping me focused and helping me breathe through each contraction. I was handling it!! But I was also awfully tired.
Soon they checked me and announced I was at 7 cm, but my nurse and Amy also had begun to suspect that the baby's head was in my pelvis a little funny. Amy had me squat on the edge of the bed through several contraction to open my pelvis, and I felt his head shift down into the birth canal, and the pressure was incredible!
I started to panic a little again. I kept saying "He wants to come out NOW! My husband said I was even snoring!! Resisting the urge to push was so hard! But thankfully I went from 7 to 10 in about 20 minutes, but when I pushed, he still wasn't moving down. Amy told me to lie on my side and draw one leg up to push. The doctor didn't argue with her although his preference was to use the stirrups! So I got on my left side and drew up my leg and I pushed through 3 contractions, and with every one they were saying they could see more On the third I pushed with all I had, and I remember making some kind of growling sound.
His head was partly out and Amy said, "If the contraction's over, rest. I felt something pop and he came flying out onto the bed all at once not the usual "head then body" delivery.
It sure was a good thing that I didn't have stirrups because I don't think the doctor would have been able to catch him! David's head was very bruised and the bridge of his nose and left eye were extremely swollen--further evidence that his head had not originally gone into my pelvis correctly.
It was hard, and a lot of work, but if I hadn't been able to squat and roll on my side and such, I just might have had an emergency c-section. And I am SO thankful that Amy was there, because she helped me fight the urge to withdraw into myself during the pain of the contractions, which was the only time when the pain would overwhelm me.
As long as I could remain focused on something outside of my own body, I was able to stay on top of the contraction and handle it. David nursed right away in the recovery room, and I was amazed that he latched on immediately. He was 7 lbs, 11 oz. Kathy writes that "My son has recently seen a surgeon He suffered a broken nose due to the positioning of his head in my pelvis.
This also explains the extreme swelling across the bridge of his nose and one of his eyes. Stephanie's Story PCO, gallstones, unmedicated vaginal birth. Although it does NOT occur with all PCO moms, there are some who develop problems with milk supply, even when being extremely proactive. Other PCO moms are able to breastfeed without problems; no one knows currently why some PCO moms are affected and others are not. More research is needed, but little is being done. We had a very healthy pregnancy and uncomplicated vaginal delivery which I attribute primarily to two things.
First, we were careful to find a size-friendly practitioner who didn't treat me as if I were a train-wreck waiting to happen. Her exact words at our initial visit 8 weeks pregnant were, "Yes, you have some additional risk factors, but right now you're fine and we'll assume everything is going to be fine.
We'll just keep a close watch on you. Second, we did everything we could to have a healthy pregnancy, following the Bradley method of education, diet and exercise. I think this really made a difference and allowed me to have an easy pregnancy. The low fat diet I had to follow for the gallstones didn't have the amount of protein I think I needed. I went into labor 4 days after my due date. Latent first-stage labor was fairly straight forward and slow, as is typical in first-time mothers--about 15 hours to get to 6 cms.
I didn't do anything special for pain management other than using the techniques I had learned in class and through my reading. Mostly I tried to remain physically and mentally relaxed, used even abdominal breathing, and lots of visualizations. The next 20 minutes were especially difficult.
I had to try NOT to help my body push, and the pain was very intense as my cervix finished dilating and the baby began her descent. Fortunately, I went from 7 cms to 10 cms during those 20 minutes and was then told I could push. It took one or two contractions to get the hang of pushing, but I pushed my daughter out in only 15 minutes! The only intervention we had was an episiotomy 2nd degree with no tears or extensions , and our daughter was and is wonderfully healthy.
We had our first breastfeeding attempt in the delivery room, and kept our daughter with us for about an hour. Then my husband accompanied her to the nursery, where she was weighed, measured, and bathed he dressed her for the first time, with a little help from the nursery staff.
She roomed in with me during my hospital stay and we came home 2 days later. Things I didn't anticipate: We're planning baby number 2 next year! Kathy2's Story induction, vaginal birth. It's very common to elect an epidural very late in the dilation process when the pain seems overwhelming, get into position for it to be administered, get it, and then be completely dilated and ready to push shortly thereafter.
There are several possibilities here: Probably it's a little bit of both. But often just when a woman needs the epidural most, she's nearly done, and assuming that epidural position can often finish the process for some women without getting the drugs. It's a trick many professional labor support people know to try before actually resorting to the epidural. My official due date came and went with absolutely so signs of impending labor, so Dr. T scheduled an induction for October We were supposed to report to the hospital at 7: They gave me prostaglandin to soften the cervix.
For two hours nothing happened. Finally, a little after 9: By midnight I had to start using my breathing exercises through contractions. As the nurse checked me, my water broke. Contractions started to pick up almost immediately after my water broke, and I asked hubby DH to call our doula, H.
H and the nurse provided suggestions on different laboring positions, and DH provided my emotional support. DH was completely wonderful, angelically patient, and absolutely perfect throughout the entire experience. During the interval from 2: The contractions became a lot more uncomfortable, and I started to doubt that I could make it much further without pain medications.
They told me that there was an anesthesiologist on the floor, and that he would be here in about ten minutes. Well, ten minutes took over an hour. The anesthesiologist arrived at 6: I had to sit up and hunch over and not move a muscle as he was injecting needles into my spine.
This was torture, because I was having transition contractions one on top of another. Finally, at 7 am, the medicine started flowing. But instead of feeling less pain, I felt the urge to push. I was 9 cm with only a lip of a cervix left. It was difficult to blow through the contractions instead of pushing like my body wanted to do.
The epidural deadened my pain, but I still felt some pain and a very clear urge to push. I guess I was a good pusher, because at only 7: T to deliver this baby! Finally, at about 8: T had arrived and set up, and I could start pushing again. After one or two contractions, the head was out. After one more "light push", my son was born -- 8: He cried lustily for a few minutes, long enough to assure everyone that he was breathing just fine, then he settled down.
He was 9 lbs. We were discharged two days later, to go home as a little family. Other than low progesterone early in pregnancy, I had a completely normal pregnancy. And other than needing to be induced for being 11 days overdue, I had a completely normal delivery. And my baby has a perfect bill of health.
I wish everyone the best of luck in their pregnancies. Here's to happy, healthy babies! I had a lot of difficulties with breastfeeding at first. We had a lot of difficulties with latch on, as he would not open his mouth very wide and my nipples did not protrude as much as I would have liked. Also, my breasts are very full and poorly supported, so I couldn't figure out how to manipulate them into his mouth.
Then when I got engorged, my breasts turned into two huge rocks. He lost a full pound off his birth weight. I consulted a lactation consultant and things improved for a little while, but then they fell apart again. I eventually resorted to using a pump and bottle-feeding him my expressed breast milk. This was extremely difficult on me and I spent a lot of time crying. With lots of additional support from several lactation consultants, we eventually got him back on the breast and he has been eating well and gaining well since about 2.
He is now I plan to continue exclusively breastfeeding until at least 6 months, maybe longer. In this adventure, I learned a few things the hard way. First, be as prepared as possible before-hand with information on breastfeeding. I found "Nursing Mother's Companion" to be indispensable. Read it before the birth of your baby because you won't have time afterwards. If you are having any kind of difficulties, they will usually get worse unless addressed properly. Third, experiment a lot with different positions and different kinds of support pillows.
Advice that works well for a small-breasted woman might be useless for you. The only thing that I found worked for me was the cross-cradle position using the large nursing pillow from Baby Becoming. I could have spared myself a lot of pain if I had read Kmom's breastfeeding FAQ before he was born, as this document told me most everything which I had figured out the hard way. This advice is pertinent to all women, but especially critical for large-breasted women because a lot of common advice doesn't work "off-the-shelf" for us.
Another case where the baby's position makes the birth difficult until it is fixed. In this mom's first birth, it was probably the combination of the hands-knees maternal position and the doctor using forceps that helped the baby to turn and be born vaginally.
Franny's second baby was breech. This may reflect a tendency among women who have had prior malpositions to have future malpositions as well. This may reflect a pelvic misalignment more than anything else, and we speculated that regular chiropractic care could help prevent position problems in the future.
She got that chiropractic care in her 3rd pregnancy. Did that help her to a vbac? It's notable that this was the only pregnancy of the three without a malposition, so the chiro care may well have helped.
However, she might have had a VBAC even without that care. It's more like an extra step to take, just in case. Another notable thing about Franny's story is that she was told that she had to sign up for an elective repeat cesarean because her hospital didn't offer VBAC anymore. Fortunately, there were other choices in her community, and rather than being forced into unnecessary surgery against her will, Franny gave birth at home with a good midwife.
And then she had the strength of will to write about it for her local paper!! She put those local doctors on notice that women will NOT be forced into unnecessary surgery! I gave birth at the hospital where I worked at the time. I was swelling, but not spilling any protein and my labs were ok.
I entered the hospital at 6 a. I was having contractions, but they weren't anything. I was 4 cm when I started out. I walked the halls and rocked in the rocking chair. My husband and his parents were there. I stood in the hallway with my IV pump and listened to his in-service at 9 a. I thought, if this is going to last all day I'm going to try to get some rest. I went back to bed, got hooked back up to the monitor and my contractions were every 2 minutes, palpating moderate, but not uncomfortable.
I had been laying down for 15 minutes and just got my eyes closed when I had 3 strong contractions that I had to use my breathing techniques through I had coached so many other labor patients that I felt like I could do it. Then my water broke. Talk about warm soup down your leg! The contractions got really strong then. I was 5 cm.
Got up to the bathroom to get cleaned up and got some pain medicine, Nubain 10 mg. I got back in bed, turning side to side and in 2 hours I was 8 cm. The contractions hurt, but they ended and knowing there was an end to every pain was a relief in itself. Back rubs, ice chips, and a cool washcloth over my eyes helped tremendously. At 1 o'clock in the afternoon I started pushing. I pushed sitting up, lying on each side, on the toilet, standing up, squatting, and regular old lithotomy.
I just couldn't get him to budge and I had pretty bad back pain. Finally, my doctor came in and I got a spinal in case I would have to go for an emergency c-section. They got me all set up for delivery and the doctor used forceps. After contractions with pushing and pulling, we got him turned face down and delivered at 4: He was a bit exhausted and got a little oxygen, but cried well and after an hour of stitching, mom got to feed him.
He nursed for 20 minutes like a trooper. My pregnancy really went quickly and pretty smoothly. From about weeks baby was breech except for one brief period. Around 34 weeks I started doing the routine to turn herlying on the ironing board, used a moxibustion stick at home, homeopathic pulsatilla, prayer, relaxation, imagery, talking to the baby, flashlight, music, the whole nine yards.
I was on the verge of a breakdown about 35 weeks We had talked about delivering breech and they weren't really sure. We had planned to deliver at a birth center. That was all I was planning. I was thinking positively, I was relaxing and working on the imagery I was planning to use for labor I am a RN and work as a prenatal care coordinator for a community health clinic.
I do home visits, education and referral for pregnant moms on the Medicaid program. I have worked as a doula in the past, but don't have time for it at present.
Talked with a couple for about 30 minutes after class, then drove home, picked up my son at church my husband is a pastor. We came home, I [ate] and read my email. I had just got Ina May's new book via Fed Ex that day and while my son was winding down I started reading in the recliner. I had been sitting there about 15 minutes when I felt warm and wetI jumped up so I wouldn't get the recliner wet and freaked out, "OH NO, that can't be my water!
Now of course, I'd just worked about a 12 hour day, moving constantly, and not really noticing much movement from the baby. In class that night we talked about Cesareans and abruption was going through my mind. I'm absolutely losing it, my heart was pounding, I was shaking all over, I'm shaking now just remembering how I felt. I read Prenatal Parenting early in my pregnancy and I had worked really hard on remaining calm and talking to the baby, taking fetal love breaks, especially when I'd had a rough daynow when she decides to come, I'm a mess.
I called DH on his cell phone. My son could tell I was worried because he was right there. The next evening at Bible Study he asked for prayer for Mommy because she "Pooped blood in the toilet and it looked like Koolaid.
DH got home, helped me find my midwife's phone number and we called her. She was a voice of complete calm, "I'll meet you on OB. It's probably just your water. Now I was nearly a month early, I had just gotten finished saying that night at class that I would probably go close to my due date, I was too busy to have the baby early, I had home visits scheduled through the end of March, blah blah blah.
I had no bag packed, had no comfort items gathered, had only 2 outfits for baby clean I didn't have the crib pained, had no mattress, didn't have a pediatrician picked out, had not pre-registered at the hospital, I was going to deliver at the birthing center for heaven's sake!!
We got to the hospital and up to OB. They wanted me to change my clothes, I wanted heart tones. My midwife cam in and did a quick ultrasound, the baby's head was under my right rib cage, her bottom was inside my right pelvis, and her feet were over my cervix. My midwife sat on the bed with me, held my hand, and said, "We are not comfortable with delivering her vaginally this way, you need to make some decisions. When he came back I bawled in his arms for a few minutes then collected myself.
I made it clear that if the baby was OK, she was to be with me at all times. If she was not with me, DH would be with her. My midwife said that the pedi on call was a stickler about the baby going to the nursery, but she would do what she could. DH's parents arrived to stay with my son during the birth. IV started after 3 tries , into a gown, consent signed, we went to O. After the anesthesiologist got my fluids in she about froze my arm off pushing about cc in 10 minutes , she sat me up for my spinal again, third time was the charm.
The doctor was at my feet, my midwife at my side, and nurse on the other side. They were all awesome! I laid back down and felt everything go to sleep, boy that is a funny sensation. With [my first child], the spinal took the pain away, so it didn't feel so weird. With no pain, it just feels like they put lead in and made it all go to sleep, kinda pins and needles sensation. They put my catheter in gave me the option not to have it at all, but I figured I'd probably not want to get out of bed for a little bit once the spinal wore off and I knee it was also in place to make sure my bladder wasn't nicked during the surgery, so I got it.
I informed everyone that if my baby was ok, I wanted to keep her with me. I got this weird sense of humor and was defensive by joking about things, I was kinda strange.
She gave me something for my BP and I felt a little better. DH at my side, they started my baby's birth; tears rolling down my face, I asked him to pray with me. DH prayed from the moment he placed his hand on my face until we heard them say, "Here's baby.
During prenatal ultrasounds, we had a brief peek to see girl parts, but never saw them again breech , so I was not getting my hopes up. I knew that they would see sex before she was even out, but they weren't saying anything! After her birth, the doctor made the comment that he went in and felt limbs, he grabbed two and started to pull them out, but had an arm and a leg, had to go back and find a matching set.
She cried quickly and after a peek at her, to the warmer. The pedi checked her over and I kept talking to her, "Keep crying," "Hello Amy," etc. I had tears streaming down my face and into my ears. They wrapped her up and handed her to DH; I got to touch her. The anesthesiologist held her face right next to mine so I could talk to and kiss her. The doctor held a section of cord up for me to see.
He felt that she was lucky to be here and that she would have probably not tolerated the version we had planned for 2 days down the road. Now, I have seen true knots before, even after vaginal deliveries, and everything was okay, but I also assisted a twin delivery where one twin had a knot and was stillborn, the other was ok. The anesthesiologist offered Demerol to help with cramping and I refused because I didn't really want to see my supper again. I asked to have my placenta and the anesthesiologist said, "Well, what on earth for?
I had a Magnolia tree outside my window growing up. The pedi took her to the nursery. DH followed and picked up our son and my in-laws so they could see her and 10 minutes later when my surgery was over, the nurses and doctors took me to recovery, and my midwife went to get Amy. I got her to the breast within about 45 minutes after delivery. She was cuddled up with her head on my breast My son came in and asked me, "Did you get your miracle, Mommy?
He got to see her, my in-laws were in the hallway looking in, and DH was walking around with my placenta in a bucket under his arm.
Back up to the OB floor at 2 a. They checked me often, but basically left me alone, never asking to take her to the nursery for her admission bath, etc. I got out of bed for the first time around Kept Amy with me around the clock and nursing went well. Went home Thursday afternoon around 3: I refused her Newborn Screen on discharge and brought her back that Saturday. OK, the last thing I wanted was a cesarean. But what I was praying for was an empowering, positive, healing birth and even though I didn't have the natural birthing center birth, that wasn't what I was praying for.
Next time I will be more specific, but I did get control in my birth experience, I was hyperaware of what I was feeling emotionally, physically, and mentally, and I feel I was so prepared for coping with pain that it has made my recovery super rapid.
As far as healing, in that I feel like I can delivery vaginally without the medical need for management. I have not had that yet, but our daughter is named for 3 very special women, 2 very dear to me. Amy's birth was healing to me in that way, a healing I didn't even know I needed, but God took care of nevertheless.
Positive, a resounding yes, I have a beautiful baby girl with a perfect round head, she has dimples just like mommy and lots of dark hair. Did I get what I wantedno, but I did have control over what I did get. Did I get what I neededdefinitely.
I will no longer feel sorry inside for women who had to have a cesarean, but instead I will ask how they felt about their birth. That is so much more important. A cesarean is not fun, it's not natural, it can be unnecessary, but it does sometimes save lives, and it is a birth of a precious little one, and an event that is no less memorable or special Sometimes we just need to be reminded of it.
Amy was 6 lbs. She is a good baby, nursing well. At three weeks of age she is 8 lbs. I love the Lansinoh Ziplock bags for breastmilk storage, and the Avent pump is great.
It's like "I can't believe it's not electric! Franny went on to have a home VBAC too. This is her VBAC story. I felt like I was pregnant forever, add to this that I took off work for maternity leave at 38 weeks and I felt a little like an elephant, in more ways that one.
My midwife recommended that I see the Chiropractor and get a massage. I chose the latter and by evening Wednesday my contractions had started. I went about my normal activities, fixed supper, went to church, bathed the kids, put kids to bed, went for a walk.
Contractions were regular, but not very strong, more like annoying. Thursday AM we were to drive an hour away to see the midwife I didn't think I could handle being in the car that long, so I told her to head our way. She has 7 kids of her own, the youngest just turned 1 in November. I napped and felt like they were fading away and she said she'd just drop in to see how I was. I had gone into work for a bridal shower on Tuesday and one of my co-workers, an OBGYN Nurse Practitioner said I should just go to the hospital and have another cesarean since I was so far over my due date By 5, my doula and our friends that were going to watch our kids were present and I was starting to get uncomfortable.
Around 7pm, I was 4cm the first time my midwife ever had her hand in me. I got in the tub borrowed a spa in a box from a friend and got hot, then had to get out to cool off. I had just attended a Michel Odent conference and had his words in my head.
If a woman gets in the tub at 4 and makes no rapid progress after 2 hours, he recommended a cesarean. I kept thinking that I didn't have the urge to push, so had I made progress? I got back in the tub and was very cold, my husband found a space heater and was holding it on me next to the tub and jokingly went "oops" faking dropping it into the tub and it took me over an hour to get back into a regular pattern.
Had to get into the shower to get warmed back up and they encouraged me to drink some really salty hot broth. By 11 I was loud and hurting, they also tried to cram a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and juice down my throat PB is NOT easy to get down with 'labor mouth'. I was all over the place position-wise, remember enjoying a forward leaning position. Was in the tub when I started to push, but kept a rim of cervix and got out to the birth stool so the midwife could help hold it while I pushed.
While on the birth stool I remember saying, "I give up. Take me to the hospital, Help me" and they gave me some homeopathy. When she was crowning I got back in the tub. I remembered what It was like with Daniel and I realized that I ever got to the point where I could push past the pain and make progress I finally figured out the pushing thing this time I was on my knees in the tub, resting my head on the side of the tub, Aryn put his arm along the back of the tub so I could rest my head and I accidentally bit him I got to the point where I felt like my urethra was going to explode and I reached down to support my labia and felt her head It didn't take long from that point Once her head was out, her body followed quickly, the midwife just allowed the water to catch her.
Once she was out, I flipped over and reached for her. Within seconds, I was pulling her up so I could see her, unlooped 2 nuchal cords and brought her out of the water to my chest. The information on this website is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your health provider. Over the years, many women have requested a section for birth stories of plus-sized moms. Pregnancy books and most websites do not fulfill this need; mostly they are filled with warnings about "obesity" and pregnancy, admonitions not to get pregnant until you lose weight, dire predictions of disastrous pregnancies filled with complications, or horror stories designed to scare you into weight loss compliance.
Although there are many birth stories online, most are of women of average-size. While these are also helpful to read, many women of size have longed for a collection of stories of just plus-sized pregnancybirth in all its beauty, and birth in all its variety i n women of size. It is so important for us to see that many of our fat sisters have traveled this journey before us. Stories have been separated into various categories vaginal birth, c-sections, twins, VBACs, etc.
Because some stories fit more than one category, many will repeat on different pages. Some stories are already up on the web in a more complete form elsewhere; with the mother's permission, Kmom has linked to these sites and urges readers to click on the link and read the more complete story. Unless specifically requested, all identifying information has been removed or changed to protect the privacy of the participants. All stories are copyrighted; none may be used elsewhere without specific written permission from both Kmom and the mother involved.
This particular FAQ presents the stories of the cesarean births many women of size have experienced. Big moms do have a higher cesarean rate, though many are probably unnecessary. For some large women, a cesarean is no big deal, for others it is unwanted but endurable, and for still others it is a horror story, full of fat-phobic treatment or intense trauma. How women of size experience cesareans is as varied as women are.
However, the point of this FAQ is not to promote one particular style of birth, but to show the wide spectrum of births that women of size have experienced, and this includes cesareans, repeat cesareans, and VBACs. All of these are represented in this FAQ. More stories will be added over time, so keep checking back if you are interested in reading further stories. If you are interested in sharing your birth story, click here for more information, birth story format, and submission guidelines.
New birth stories are always welcome; Kmom updates the birth stories FAQs about once a year so be patient for your story to show up. If you do submit your story, please carefully follow the format and directions given in order to shorten the amount of work involved for Kmom.
Kmom's family will thank you! Different Meanings for Different Women. In general, larger women DO have higher rates of c-sections, for many reasons. They tend to have somewhat higher rates of complicating conditions that often result in c-sections pre-eclampsia, gd, PCOS which often results in pre-eclampsia or gd, etc. In addition, although it's not true for all fat women by any means, some fat women are out-of-shape and don't eat properly or exercise, which also tends to increase the rate of complications in pregnancy.
Unfortunately, medical studies rarely differentiate between large women who take excellent care of themselves and those who do not, making the risks seem to apply equally based on size alone. Therefore, many providers apply interventions equally to all women of size, when only a few may actually need them.
Or the size prejudice can be somewhat subtle, from doctors expecting that you WILL develop complications often a self-fulfilling prophecy , to treating you as ultra high-risk or telling you that you'll probably not deliver vaginally anyway, etc. Studies show that large women are induced at much higher rates than average-sized women, and often are not given the same chances at Vaginal Birth After Cesarean that average-sized women may get, resulting in more repeat c-sections.
In addition, there are often subtle psychological battles for large women to combat as well. Many fat women have been programmed all their lives to believe their bodies are 'defective', incapable of performing normally, and often have very significant body trust issues that tend to come out during pregnancy and birth.
They are often disempowered by the people around them, who may make them feel like they should apologize for even 'daring' to be pregnant at a larger size. They often face a world hostile to the idea of larger women having romance, let alone having sex or giving birth!
Most childbirth books are full of dire warnings about being pregnant at a larger size, and these horror stories and warnings tend to lead large women not to expect a normal birth. So although larger women tend to have higher rates of c-sections than average-sized women, it is unclear how much is due to problems from size and health concerns, how much is due to provider bias and patterns of expectations, and how much is due to deeply-placed body trust and empowerment issues.
However, it's worth noting that many 'alternative' birth attendants note that with proactive attention to health, nutrition, exercise, and empowerment issues, they have found that even very large women usually have excellent birth outcomes.
Research from the 50s, 60s, and 70s shows that cesarean rates in women of size used to be much lower. If fat were truly an intractable cause of cesareans, these low cesarean rates would not have been possible even back then.
In fact, many studies then showed that fat women had no higher cesarean rates than other women. It is practice patterns and expectations that have changed the cesarean rate in women of size, not size itself. Now, many OBs and even midwives believe that having a cesarean is a logical consequence of being fat; that fat women cannot birth normally. But we know from history and the many fat women today who choose alternative births that this is not true.
Unfortunately, the biggest obstacle is sometimes getting people to believe that this is possible, or even to care that it happen. But together, we can act to change this indifference. Women, fat or thin, do NOT all need to be cut open in order to have a baby. Here are two articles that discuss why women of size have high cesarean rates and give concrete ideas for lowering your risk for an unnecessary cesarean: In our current societal climate, it is true that a significant percentage of larger women do have c-sections.
Some then go on to have subsequent vaginal births VBACs , some try to have vaginal births but end up with repeat c-sections, and some are happy to choose another c-section and bypass vaginal births altogether. In fact, as in average-sized society, there are occasionally even women who actually prefer to have a c-section from the very beginning and are relieved if they develop a condition which necessitates one.
C-sections can be a very political issue. It is very important that we all understand that a c-section means different things to different women, and to RESPECT our differences of opinion over that fact. For some women, a c-section experience can be almost akin to rape or assault, yet for others it can be a perfectly normal or even gratifying experience.
There is a great deal of bad feeling generated on email lists between those who 'love' their c-sections and those who do not. The key is to try to understand and empathize with the other person's feelings and recognize their right to have a different opinion. To a woman who has had a c-section and is not happy with it, it is insulting to be told that the important thing is that the baby is healthy and it doesn't really matter how the baby gets there.
Of course the most important thing is a healthy baby, but for many women it does matter how the baby arrives. To have a disappointing or disempowering birth experience DOES matter; to have that experience dismissed as unimportant or insignificant is tremendously frustrating. The mother matters too. In some cases, a c-section truly is life-saving and the mom can be grateful it was there to help. While some women feel only gladness and relief over a life-saving cesarean, it is completely understandable and normal that some women might still feel upset after a frightening or less-than-ideal birth experience.
Even when a cesarean is truly necessary, women can have ambivalent or even negative feelings about it. However, many c-sections are not necessary, or only become necessary after a great deal of intervention and questionable management. Imagine the bitterness of moms who must face not only their disappointment in having a c-section, but also to know that it was probably an unnecessary one. That's a tremendously bitter pill to swallow, and it has long-lasting implications for any subsequent pregnancies and births.
Women who are disappointed in their births need and deserve to grieve that experience, despite being thrilled to have a baby in their arms. Yet few moms with disappointing births are allowed that space to grieve. They are often told to 'just get over it' or to 'move on' with their lives, or 'just be grateful' they have a baby. But although most women valiantly try to move on, it is very difficult to move on until the original experience has been fully grieved, and there is very little understanding of this in our society in general.
A c-section is simply thought of as 'no big deal' and just a 'different way' to give birth. Women who feel differently are rarely given validation or space for their feelings, but it is possible to love your baby deeply yet still have ambivalent feelings about how they arrived. On the other hand, some women 'love' their c-sections and would never choose any other way to give birth.
Some women have had prior long hard labors often induced , full of pain and difficulty coping; in this circumstance a cesarean can feel like a dream come true, a 'rescue' from an unending cycle of pain and exhaustion.
Some women who have experienced traumatic labors choose a planned cesarean in a future birth in order to avoid any repeat of the same difficult scenario; they see it as a way to protect themselves from experiencing that trauma all over again, and as a way of "controlling" the experience and making it more predictable.
It might not be how they would ideally have given birth, but they have come to a place of peace with how the baby arrived and are thankful. Some women are relieved to simply schedule their birth and remove all the unknowns; the enticement of a known and familiar outcome is less threatening than the uncertainty of not knowing what the outcome will be. Women who are not disappointed in their births also need and deserve to treasure that experience, even if it doesn't meet someone else's expectations of a 'good birth'.
No one should have the right to make someone else feel bad about their birthing experience. Nor should women who did not love their c-section be made to feel like they are ungrateful wretches who place their own selfish experience above the baby's well-being, or that they are emotionally stunted because they are still working through negative feelings about the cesarean.
Their feelings are just as valid, and they deserve the space to mourn that experience and those feelings too. To undergo major surgery for another person is an act of love, no matter the circumstances. For other women, it is simply no big deal, a tremendous relief, or a treasured and beautiful memory. We need to understand and RESPECT that our feelings and reactions may not apply to someone else's experience, and to allow them the space to have different feelings than our own.
This FAQ is a kaleidoscope of all different kinds of cesarean stories and reactions. Kmom has had 2 c-sections, one a truly horrible experience and one a relatively good and loving experience. Please do not read that into this FAQ. However, Kmom's personal opinion is that as a society far too many women and especially fat women are being cut unnecessarily, and that this has deep public health implications that should not be ignored.
Cesareans are NOT simply 'another way to give birth' because they DO have significant health risks and implications for future births. You will find this opinion reflected in Kmom's commentary. However, this is in NO way a judgment about any woman who is happy with her c-section or who chooses further c-sections in the future.
Most moms will recognize most of these terms, but women new to reading about childbirth may be puzzled by some of the terms and abbreviations used in these stories.
This section briefly defines some of these in order to help women understand the stories better. The circumstances of the labor suggests that this baby might have been posterior and gotten 'stuck'.
Shawn confirms that her baby was indeed 'sunny side up' but that this was not noted in her medical records. This is not unusual; many doctors don't see posterior position as relevant and fail to note it in records or mention it to parents, yet many other providers feel that it is the cause of many c-sections.
Positioning often helps facilitate rotation, but Shawn was not able to try these. Also, although the midwife felt that rupturing the bag of waters more fully would help dilation by bringing baby farther down, doing this tends to fix baby in its poor position and make a normal vaginal birth difficult to impossible. Breaking the bag of waters is the last thing that should be done if baby is in a poor position for birth. When I went to see my OB about fertility treatments, I remember one of her first comments being, "You really should try to lose some weight prior to beginning treatment MY OB was skeptical, however, and ran at least 3 progesterone tests and two ultrasounds before she was convinced.
My physician had not been derogatory in our visits, but I was concerned about her pessimistic approach to my care. What a sigh of relief! After a great 'start OB care' appointment the doctor commented, "Things look really good, but because of your low progesterone I don't want you to get your hopes up until after the first trimester. Although the pregnancy had been progressing fine and all signs were good, she was treating me as though the pregnancy was a risky one.
Her attitude when I visited her was usually apathetic. I remember feeling that she just couldn't believe that someone my size was having such a healthy pregnancy. False labor pains begin at 2: Contractions begin at minutes apart.
I figured it was more false labor pains since I had not had a bloody show but ultimately learned that these were in fact the real thing. I called my midwife when the office opened at 9: She thought I may be right in assessing the pain as false labor. I had not slept all night from the pain and she prescribed a sleeping pill.
She said, "If it's false labor, the pills will stop them and you'll sleep, but if it's the real thing, you won't be able to sleep through the contractions.
I didn't want to be in pain AND groggy! Once there, she confirmed that it in fact my water had broken and then informed me that the fluid was stained with meconium.
She also stated that I was only 1 cm dilated and at this point I had been in labor for over 13 hours. She recommended pitocin to get things going. I'd learned that those moms induced with pitocin had very hard labor pains and my midwife confirmed that this may be the case. We then left for the hospital. I am confined to bed with external fetal monitor. I am told that I may be able to walk the length of the bed if the baby responds okay to the contractions.
So far so good. I admit defeat and request the epidural. I breath a sigh of relief that I can't feel anything but pressure. Midwife checks and I'm still only dilated 3 cm. She waits for a contraction and stretches the cervix another 3 cm to 6! Midwife tells me there have been a few drops in the baby's heartbeat and asks to insert an internal monitor for more accurate readings. Realizing this would confine me to the bed but wanting to do what was best for the baby, I reluctantly agreed.
Midwife discovers that my bag of waters had not completely ruptured and may have been delaying the baby's drop into the pelvis. She breaks the sack and the baby moves to -1 station. I am exhausted and disappointed, but ask to be given more time before considering a C-section. The baby had several heartbeat decelerations after contractions and she was concerned.
I am dilated 8 cm and he tells me to push although I have not yet felt the urge. It is unproductive and a C-section is recommended. I begin to cry from the exhaustion and disappointment, but after We had chosen not to learn the sex of the baby and although we both wanted a girl, we felt very strongly it was a boy.
She was suctioned well and the meconium had minimal effects on her. Apgars 8 and 9. My husband left to go video the baby for me and I was whisked off to recovery.
I invested a lot of time developing my birth plan and although this is the farthest from my dream birth, my daughter far surpasses any hopes I had for my baby.
I wish all of you the best in your pregnancies and pray that each of you have an uneventful labor and delivery. Things were bad; fortunately they didn't turn out even worse. In , my husband and I were told that I had almost zero chance of becoming pregnant we had been trying for over a year and that if we did get pregnant, that I had almost zero chance of carrying to term. The reasoning given for my inability to get pregnant were: I realize now how ridiculous most of these reasons are, but I had doctor worship issues at the time.
So, we decided to start saving to adopt. In , I found myself pregnant. At the first visit 7 weeks , the doctor sent me straight to a perinatologist because I was too high risk. I was heartbroken, but I believed him. However, I didn't schedule because I needed to hold onto hope for this blessing in our lives.
At 8 weeks, I went to the ER with major abdominal cramping--thinking I probably was miscarrying. They did an ultrasound and again, couldn't get a good heart beat, but said everything looked normal and that there wasn't any bleeding. So, they looked around and found a large cyst forming on one of my ovaries. Hubby and I just could not wrap our heads around why we would be given such a blessing, only to have it taken away. So, we decided to wait and see.
At 10 weeks, we saw the Peri again - he did another ultrasound and finally found a good heart beat. Of course, he also saw the cyst and a fibroid on top of the uterus. The cyst had grown since the ER visit, but the fibroid was small.
At 11 weeks, my cyst burst and caused excruciating pain. I was afraid to go to the doctor at this point as I didn't want to hear abortion again. At the 12 week visit, I had a fever and major abdominal pain. The peri did an ultrasound and saw the fluid around the ovary assumption that the cyst burst as it was no longer there.
I clearly had an infection, so he put me on antibiotics. I can't remember which one, but it was a class C I believe. I also had a UTI, so it would take care of both said the peri.
Anyway, he said again that I should abort as he couldn't say whether the antibiotic would hurt the baby or not "better safe than sorry-right.
At 16 weeks, the peri did an ultrasound that showed everything seemed to be going okay. Baby looked "normal" and my infection was gone. I was reminded that it didn't mean everything was fine and that I should be getting the AFP and so on very soon to see. I also was sent to do a glucose test since I was overweight.
I had lost weight so far, but since I was fat, obviously I had to have GD--grrrrr. At 18 weeks, I decided I had had enough of the abortion talk and can't carry to term stuff, so I switched to a regular OB with a different practice.
We hadn't talked about it much with the old practice since they didn't believe I would "produce" a baby anyway.
I was happy to have an earlier due date though--I wanted to get this pregnancy over with so sad I thought this way and see if she would be healthy. At the 24 week visit, I was told that everything looked good including no fibroid growth , but after examination, my pelvis would not do well with a large baby.
Yep, even being a very large woman, I clearly couldn't birth a baby of normal size. And the cesarean talk started I was a good patient and went straight to the ER where the contractions measured just enough to call it pre-term labor. Fortunately, I had a great nurse who sheltered me from all the interventionists I had told her about my experience so far and she helped tremendously.
She put me in a quiet, dark room. Soothing music and lots of water. Had me lay down for two hours and then re-checked. Contractions had reduced to what they considered safe and she got me sent home. By 36 weeks, the OB had me do another ultrasound for size. More cesarean talk and my relief at having "what appears to be a normal baby" was replaced with the destruction of my wish to have a vaginal birth. For so many of the wrong reasons, at 38 weeks we scheduled my "induction" for the due date.
To the OBs credit, she did say that I was not a good candidate for induction--she told me I would end up with a cesarean. I believed all of it. Induction, however, was my last ditch effort at a vaginal birth as I was having this monstrous 10 lb baby and was just high risk I thought.
I'm so sad for my lack of knowledge and for what I put my poor baby through as I let the hospital manage my birth. I was contracting when I arrived, so they waited two hours before starting with the cervical softener and pit doh, I wish someone had told me that I could go home at this point.
I wish I had thought of it. I was hooked up to machines, given a blanket to put between my legs and told to not move, but try to go to sleep. There was no way I could sleep.
The OB on call came in and told me that she could break my water, but it would hurt. Gushing, gushing fluid and way more pain. At this point, the pit had been going strong for over half a day, being turned up every couple hours and I was in a lot of pain.
My OB came in as she was starting her shift and told me that I was not progressing and should expect a cesarean. If I wanted to keep trying, she'd "let me go longer. I got the epidural around 22 hours after pit started. I needed the constant negativity to end. The monitors showed slight dips in baby's heart rate with some contractions and I signed the paperwork to get my cesarean. I thought I probably had a baby with major problems and I was in pain with constant fluid running all over the place from AROM.
I was wheeled into the OR. I weighed too much, so I had to help the nurses move me from bed to operating table just the beginning of the too fat punishment.
My arms were strapped down and the anesthesiologist started the numbing process. My BP dropped drastically and I tried to throw up, so they started administering several medications not sure which ones to help with that. I was "re-stabilized" and forced to breath through an oxygen mask as I was so numb, I was having trouble breathing. I know my BP dropped several times as the nurse kept telling the doctor that my BP was too low again and medications were administered. More anti-puking meds were given each time as I kept feeling like throwing up.
They held her up over the screen for like 2 seconds and then brought her over to the warmer table where the pediatricians worked on her.
She didn't make a sound for what felt like an eternity, probably 2 full minutes, but then we heard her and felt relief. At least she was okay for the moment. Elizabeth's apgar scores were 6 and 9. All of the constant interventions had caused some distress, but she was okay. A healthy 9lb, 12 oz baby girl. I began swelling immediately afterwards, even though I had almost no swelling in pregnancy.
I was also in a lot of pain. I kept asking for more pain medication and received a lot of percocet. Nothing seemed to help with the pain though. It was searing, burning pain.
And Elizabeth wouldn't nurse. She had been heavily medicated via my induction and then was given formula while I recovered--the staff had told hubby that Elizabeth was hungry and since I was in recovery with no visitors, he would have to feed Elizabeth formula grrr again.
About 4 hours after the surgery, my mother and husband came to see me. She's with my sister and brother-in-law, bonding with everyone but me. So, my sister finally brought her in and I got to see my baby. I was still too numb to lift my arms, so everyone had to pass her around and hold her so I could look at her. Finally, about 45 minutes later, I could move my arms enough to hold her.
She wasn't interested in nursing and began her extended sleeping regimen. Nursing never worked out well. Why didn't she get help? Finally, I decided I couldn't take it any more and asked to go home. I was released with a prescription for vicodin and went home. At my 8 week checkup, I still complained of being in pain and was told that I was too overweight and out of shape.
If I'd work on exercising more, then I'd heal faster. Of course, the OB did find a strange bulge in my abdomen and ordered an ultrasound. Ultrasound showed nothing, so I never heard from the OBs office again. At 17 months post partum, I went to my PCP because I was getting uncomfortable and the cyst was too big to be an ovarian cyst. He felt it and told me I probably had cancer.
Basically, he said that 17 months out from having a clear abdomen, it didn't look good and that I should start making plans for my death. He sent me to get panels of tests for cancer and another ultrasound. Everything came back negative no cancer and no baby.
By 18 months Post partum, the cyst had grown to the size of a 20 week fetus. All the tests kept coming back negative, so I was sent for a cat scan.
The cat scan showed that there was a lap sponge and surgical tape with something that looked like metal strings. For months after my cesarean, I was told that I was just fat and had no tolerance for pain because, of course, there couldn't actually be something wrong with what the OB or staff did during the cesarean. For almost two months, I thought I was going to die and leave my 1 year old with no mother. All of that because I believed the doctors from before I even got pregnant that I was broken.
Everyone was still thinking it was no big deal, so a laparoscopy was performed. There was too much damage and the "foreign objects" were too big. So, I then had open abdominal surgery. There was a ton of scar tissue, of course.
I was told that it would be highly unlikely that I could get pregnant, but if I did to at least wait a year or more to ensure my abdomen could handle such a high-risk thing. There was no additional scarring to my uterus, but I'm "just so high-risk now.
Most OBs had heard of my case and didn't want to see me as a patient. I interviewed 3 and found one that I thought was going to be VBAC friendly and sympathetic to my history. Stacy's extreme problems with ketones in gd are unusual. So was the level of calories she needed to have normal levels.
Most gd moms are given around calories; some docs restrict obese gd moms to calories but this raises the danger of ketones and brings up whether the mother is adequately nourished at that level.
However, Stacy ended up with the highest caloric totals I've ever seen for a gd mom calories! She also had to stop exercising to stop the ketones; this is very unusual. However, her ketones had probably become so out of whack previously in the pregnancy that such drastic measures were needed to stop them. Fortunately, her providers did measure them regularly not all do and experimented till they found what worked best for her.
They didn't simply apply a uniform protocol, which helped a great deal. I was diagnosed with GD at 28 weeks. With my other two pregnancies I had failed the 1 hour glucose test, but passed the 3 hour one.
My fear for the health of the baby and being absolutely terrified of blood tests, wreaked havoc on my emotions. I was determined to do everything possible to avoid insulin injections, even though I knew that it may be inevitable.
First, a little history. This was my 3rd pregnancy. My first baby was born when I was 29 years old. I was a dress size 20 when I became pregnant with him and gained less than 5 lbs during the pregnancy. Not because I was trying to not gain weight, I ate very normally.
My body simply didn't gain weight. At 32 weeks gestation I noticed that he had become suddenly a lot less active. Thank God for the doctor recommending counting kicks early on.
I went in to see my OB and was put on a fetal monitor immediately non-stress test. The baby was having dips in his heart rate. They rushed me to a local hospital that had a more advanced neonatal ICU.
As soon as we arrived there, his heart rate took a drastic plunge and he was born by emergency C-Sec. He is now a perfect, simply amazing, brilliant little 6 yr.
Baby number 2 was born 14 months later. My dress size was still a 20 but I had gained about 10 lbs since the first pregnancy. Again, with this pregnancy I gained little weight. On his due date, after 14 hours of labor, the baby went into fetal distress and was also born by an emergency C-Sec. His situation was totally unrelated to his brother's.
He was born with a rare skull bone abnormality, that was corrected by surgery when he was 2 months old. But because of that problem, his head was simply unable to pass through the birth canal.
He is now a perfect, hilarious, brilliant little 5 yr. Ok, now back to baby number 3. With this pregnancy I was 35 years old and had again gained about 10 lbs since the last pregnancy I was now a size At the beginning of the pregnancy, after much discussion with my OB, I decided to have a planned C-Sec. Once I made that decision, I was completely relaxed about the rest of the pregnancy. We also decided at that time, that this third child would be our last, so I planned to have a tubal ligation at the same time.
The decision was made long before the GD diagnosis. After being diagnosed at 28 weeks, I began the diet and exercise program given to me by the doctor and registered dietitian. I stuck to it to the letter, but something wasn't working right. My ketone levels were registering "high" everyday. I had been very inactive due to an accident I had been in for a few months prior to and throughout my pregnancy. So, not only was I a plus size person to begin with, but my metabolism was certainly not normal either.
Although, like many large women, I had gained almost no weight up to this point in my pregnancy. At first the dietitian and doctor told me to not worry about it since many people lose weight when they begin the program. My blood sugars were all fine. But then when they saw my ketone levels they decided to take action. I figured that my body was just in so much shock from actually exercising, that it just couldn't help losing weight.
I cut the exercising down to 5 minutes after meals Finally my ketone levels went down to "small" and "trace" readings, but I was still losing weight. With the agreement of the dietitian, I stopped exercising altogether. In my case, that worked. I stopped losing weight, had no ketones, and by just lowering my calories back down to , my blood sugars stayed within normal range.
I was able to control everything without insulin injections. A planned cesarean is a LOT more relaxing than an emergency one. Everything went as planned to the letter. It was almost comical, shaking the doc's hand and saying "OK, now go get my baby. I was given a spinal block and had no ill side effects from it. For some unknown reason, the baby's blood sugar was low at birth.
It registered 29 which was well below the hoped for reading of 40 or higher. My husband was handed a bottle of formula and he fed her about an ounce of it right away. Her blood sugars came up to normal and have remained that way ever since. I was a little concerned that she might not want to latch on to me after trying a bottle nipple first, but she latched on like a pro on the first try, a couple of hours later. The baby did not have any shoulder dystocia any other troubles associated with GD or anything else, for that matter.
It was a lot of work, but very much worth it, and I have a whole new understanding of my body and my metabolism. My emotions went through typical upheaval after her birth, but I think that was probably due to lack of sleep as much as due to hormonal fluctuations. I am now slowly adding exercise back into my daily routine and am amazed at the difference it is making in me both physically and emotionally.
My boys like Richard Simmons better than Big Bird. Basically a regular pregnancy Also because of my age there were concerns that the baby would have problems down's syndrome, spina bifida, etc so the clinic did test for AFP The results came back high, which led to more concerns and we were scheduled for an ultrasound. At the ultrasound, we found out that the reason the AFP was high was because there were 2 babies, not one, which was a great relief.
The pregnancy was generally uneventful, other than the fact that I was miserable through most of it because of my size and it being a twin pregnancy. I had horrible heartburn most of the time, sciatica which I have still The doctors initially suggested to me that if we made it through to 7 months that would be great and then we'd see how it was going, since twin pregnancies generally wind up being pre-term. Albert Andrews Franchising Corp. American Lenders Service Co.
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