To be completely honest, it took me a while to sit down and write this post. Not only because having a newborn is extremely time-consuming, but also because the whole labor and delivery left me a little traumatized. It was nothing I expected and I think I simply needed time to be okay with how birth left my body, and to emotionally process the intensity of the experience.
It feels like just yesterday when his 9 pound 4 ounce body came into this world. All of the sleepless nights already seem to be drifting into a hazy memory, especially as I become more confident and experienced at this whole mama thing.
All I know is that I’m so incredibly proud to be this little boy’s mama. I love his deep blue eyes, his little coos, his long fingers, his sweet side smile that’s starting to show, and of course, how he so lovingly nestles into my arms like I’m his entire world.
The best part of this entire motherhood thing is that I will forever be his mama. The kind of love I feel is so unique and unexplainable — one that I’ve never experienced before. All I know is that I’ll love him until the end of time.
So without further ado, here is Sidney’s birth story.
Sidney’s due date was January 3rd, 2020. I always had a feeling he’d be later than anticipated but had no idea just how late he’d be. Our due date came and went. The wait was difficult and somewhat boring, knowing that it could happen at any moment, but also feeling incredibly uncomfortable in my body. I had everything ready to go for his arrival so I was basically left twiddling my thumbs with anticipation. Mamas, if you’ve ever gone past your due date, you know how this feels.
During the last few weeks, we had a few appointments scheduled including a non-stress test, which he successfully passed. At that point I tried just about everything to encourage natural labor too, so I had kinda given up and expected that he’d make his arrival when he was ready, which I was ultimately okay with.
The day before I hit 41 weeks, I decided to get my membranes swept to try and encourage labor. During the sweep, my midwife said I was only about 1 cm dilated and about 60% effaced. After the sweep, I did end up losing my mucus plug and experienced some very mild cramping, but that was about it.
On Saturday January 11th, I woke up at 3am with wet underwear. Initially, I thought that I must have peed a little because I had drank a ton of water the night before. Being that I was also 41 weeks 1 day (overdue!) I assumed that my bladder was feeling increased pressure. Basically I ignored it, changed my underwear and went back to bed. I was told by my doula that less than 10% of first time moms’ water would break as the first sign of labor, so I figured that there was no way it could actually be that my water had ruptured.
Flash forward to 9am on Saturday when I woke up AGAIN with wet underwear. I remember thinking that it was a bit weird, and then realizing that my underwear didn’t smell like pee, meaning that it could have actually been my water breaking. I ate breakfast and kind of brushed it off, then read a couple online pregnancy forums about water bags rupturing and decided to call my midwife just to be safe.
Our midwife suggested I come in to get it checked if my body didn’t naturally go into labor on its own by 3pm (12 hours after I first experienced leakage). She said that if it was indeed a ruptured water bag, that there would be a higher chance of infection and I’d have to be induced within 24 hours.
After experiencing some trickling of additional fluid down my legs I started to think that I could really be going to the hospital to have my baby boy soon.
Tony and I calmly got all of our things together, called our parents to give them a head’s up and debated back and forth whether or not it was really my water. After being nearly 10 days late, I figured that he was probably going to stay in there a few more days — basically in denial of what was really happening.
We arrived at the hospital at 3pm on Saturday where my midwife was able to swab me to see if there was an amniotic fluid in my vagina. Turns out there was, and she told me I’d need to be induced immediately.
I was a big ball of emotion as I had the expectation I’d be able to labor in the comfort of my own home and this felt like it was the opposite of what I truly desired for my first birth experience. I did not want to be induced in any shape or form, as I was set on his birth being completely on his terms. I felt he’d come when he was ready and that my body would naturally be able to do the thing it was made to do: give birth! That being said, I also knew that it was out of my control and that soon we’d meet our son. The feeling felt exhilarating.
When my midwife checked me around 4pm, she said that since I was still only 1 cm dilated and about 60% effaced that I’d first need a vaginal insert called cervidil to help thin out my cervix, and that the insert would need to stay in for 12 hours in order to properly work. Right then and there I knew we’d have a very long road ahead of us.
Unfortunately, I also needed continuous monitoring, which meant I had to be hooked up to machines to monitor the baby’s heart rate and my contractions because of the induction. Not only that but they also said my blood pressure and temperature would need to be taken every two hours to make sure I didn’t have an infection due to the water bag rupture.
We were taken to our own room and at 6pm my midwife inserted the cervidil and said it would need to come out at 6am. She suggested I get some sleep and try to rest. Tony brought me Potbelly for dinner (the TKY sandwich is my fav!) and we tried to sleep, but the shitty part about being hooked up to a machine was that I felt like I couldn’t relax at all.
A few hours into the cervidil I felt the contractions kick in. They were about 3-5 minutes apart lasting for 45 seconds and progressing. I had always wondered what the contractions would feel like, and the best way I can describe them is very strong period cramps.
Tony suggested bouncing on the birthing ball while he put a rice sock on my back, which felt amazing. At this point I felt excited about the process, was easily breathing through the contractions and was confident (like all the other midwives said) that I’d meet my baby boy on Sunday, January 12th. How wrong I was.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to sleep at all on the cervidil which meant I had already been up close to 24 hours. I think not being able to rest was likely a combination of the contractions, feeling uncomfortable in the hospital bed, being hooked up to machines, and the anticipation and excitement of finally having my baby.
I should probably note that throughout my entire pregnancy I knew I wanted a natural, unmedicated birth. We hired a doula and I mentally prepared during those 9 months for his birth. I grew out of the fear and stepped into confidence surrounding labor & birth. I truly felt ready.
What I wasn’t ready for was the Pitocin, which came after the cervidil. If you’re not familiar with Pitocin, it’s the synthetic hormone of Oxytocin that helps your uterus produce contractions. Unfortunately, it’s just not the same as your body naturally producing the hormone and can create incredibly strong, painful contractions. I had heard horror stories about Pitocin through some mama friends and online forums I was in, but didn’t think it would be THAT bad. BOY WAS I WRONG. So freakin’ wrong.
The cervidil was finally taken out at 6am on Sunday. We asked Tony’s sister to bring us coffee and bagels, and that would be the last ‘meal’ I would eat until Sidney was born. Soon after my midwife checked my cervix for the second time. I was 2cm dilated and 100% effaced, which meant I was now ready for the Pitocin. By 8am the Pitocin was being administered through an IV and about a half hour later my contractions started kicking in — right about 3 minutes apart and lasting 45 seconds. Immediately I could feel the difference in the contractions. Tony and I worked through them for two hours and as they continued to increase the Pitocin, I continued to feel the intensity grow. Soon the contractions were 2 minutes apart and a minute long. We practiced laboring on the ball, standing over the bed and pressing heat into my back with the rice sock. Tony called our doula as we felt like this could actually be a quicker labor than anticipated. The intensity of the contractions was incredibly painful as if I was already 6cm dilated.
I remember how good it felt to close my eyes and to breathe. How my body naturally wanted to be vocal to help release the incredible pain I was feeling. Little did I know that this was just the beginning. I had expected breaks and thought I’d be able to sleep for a few minutes between contractions (like all of my childbirth classes talked about!), but the Pitocin made it absolutely impossible. I felt like I was dying on the inside.
At around noon on Saturday, after 4 hours of nonstop, 2 minute apart, painful contractions without any breaks, my midwife said she wanted to check me. I was excited and anticipated being around a 5 or 6. After checking me, she told me that I was 3cm. That means I only gained 1cm after 4 freaking hours of the most painful contractions of my life. I felt defeated, and you could see it in my face. I started crying and feeling a little panicked because I really didn’t think I’d be able to do it. I started doing the math in my head and realized it would take me something like 40 more hours of labor before I had my baby; while I knew that scenario was highly unlikely, it still felt like I’d never, ever get there.
I knew that both Tony and my doula could sense the feeling of defeat kick in, but they encouraged me and suggested we move into the bath as warm water could help. The unfortunate part about getting in the tub was that we had to switch to a waterproof monitor and tape up my IV. Every 5 minutes or so the monitor would lose his heart rate, which meant that a nurse would have to adjust and touch me while I was in the bath screaming through contractions like a psycho. The last thing you want when you’re going through intense pain is for anyone to talk to you, let alone touch you.
My eyes were closed as both Tony and my doula poured warm water over my naked body, because at that point you don’t care who sees you. We played Mumford and Sons and piano music to help ease the tension, which gave me something to focus on.
To be honest it felt like I was blacking in and out through the pain, perhaps that’s what helped time go by a bit quicker. People would ask me questions and all I could respond with was an incoherent murmur of “I don’t know, I don’t know.” The pain felt like a knife was ripping through me and I literally remember thinking that I’d rather get hit with a semi-truck.
Soon I questioned what I was doing and why I was doing it. Was it my sense of pride? Should I get an epidural? What the hell was I thinking?
The fact was that this was my body, my story, my son and I wanted him to come into the world as naturally as possible. There were so many times when I screamed out in agony that I couldn’t do it, but my doula encouraged me by looking at me and saying, “you are doing this, you can do this!” That immediately perked me up and I repeated the same words to myself over and over again.
It had now been 30 hours since I last slept. Eventually, I lost all sense of time and everything seemed like a blur. At around 4pm the nurses made me get out of the shower because they could no longer find Sidney’s heart rate due to the monitors not working properly in the water. I could barely walk from the bathroom to the bed. I was in CONSTANT pain, worse than ever before. I remember standing next to the hospital bed bending over it and water pouring down my shaky legs (it was the rest of my water breaking). My vocals were deep and lasting at least a minute long, if not longer. Sometimes my contractions would merge into each other and the midwife came in asking if I was getting any breaks. I looked at her, almost looking through her, and shook my head no. I could tell in her face that she felt sorry for me. She looked sympathetic, but what I appreciated is that not once did she offer or suggest an epidural. She told me how strong I was, helped me relax my shoulders and made me feel confident.
Quite frankly I don’t know how I made it 6 more hours, but I did. Around 6pm on Saturday, my midwife offered to take me off of the Pitocin to see if my body could naturally continue to contract on its own, hoping that this would relieve some of the intensity I was experiencing. I was SO FREAKING excited to come off the Pitocin because that shit makes me feel like death.
My midwife also checked my cervix again and informed me that I was now 6cm dilated, which gave me a sense of hope that the end was in sight. I had always heard that getting from a 6 or 7 to a 10 usually takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, so I felt a huge sense of relief come over me. Little did I know that it would not be the case, but in the moment, I giddily looked at Tony and told him that we could do this. There was no turning back.
After about 2 hours off the Pitocin my contractions began to slow down, which meant my body wasn’t doing a job of producing contractions on its own. It was enough time to give me and my uterus a much-need break. However, it also meant I would have to go back on the Pitocin. At around 8pm on Saturday they began administering it again through an IV. I was exhausted.
Immediately the contractions kicked in like they never stopped. I could feel Sidney changing positions inside of me too, which caused me even more pain because he was getting lower and lower. I started to feel back pain and knew that I was experiencing back labor, which is the worst kind of pain you could possibly imagine. My doula suspected that Sidney was sunny-side up, meaning that he was in the incorrect position for birth and that his head was pressing against my spine. The best way to describe this is basically it feels like someone is breaking your spine in half, or stabbing you in the spine with a knife and twisting it.
Now this is truly where everything went to hell for me and I thought I was going to die. As I’m writing this, I want to note that it’s not my goal to scare anyone, but this was simply my experience. Birth is never like anything you imagine it to be.
I could barely walk. In fact, I couldn’t walk at all without at least two people helping me. My legs and feet were swollen like balloons. My eyes and face looked like someone just beat the shit out of me due to a lack of sleep and no food (wasn’t hungry). I was screaming in deep moans about my back pain. My legs began to shake uncontrollably. I had hot and cold flashes and thought I was going to throw up. I also didn’t know if I had to pee or poop. Or maybe both at the same time? Nothing was clear.
We tried laying on my side in the bed for a while with the peanut ball in between my legs, but I just couldn’t relax enough. My entire body was clenching and tightening and I knew that if I was going to make it I would have to get back into the shower. Thankfully one of the nurses managed to get the monitor working properly so that I could be in water again.
Tony and my doula sat in the small bathroom with me as hot water poured over my back. He also fed me sips of water and gummy bears between contractions. My doula encouraged me to put one leg on a ledge in the shower in hopes that Sidney would change positions and for my cervix to continue to open. The positions made the pain that much more intense, as if someone ripped my spine open and punched it with all their might, yet I knew I had to keep it together if I wanted to get this baby out.
My thought went from ‘KEEP IT TOGETHER MONIQUE, YOU CAN DO THIS. YOU ARE A FUCKING BADASS!’ to ‘I WOULD RATHER DIE’ or ‘GETTING HIT BY A TRUCK WOULD BE LESS PAINFUL THAN THIS!’
Just being honest here.
I also remember there being times where I glanced at Tony and saw him crying. I knew that he was scared, and I’m so impressed by what an amazing job he did keeping it together, staying confident and supportive through it all. What a fantastic partner in life I have. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate him.
Around 11pm and nearing 40 hours of no sleep, I got out of the shower and asked the midwife to check me as I was starting to feel some pressure below and the back pain was almost too much to bear. I needed it to be over.
When I heard that I was 8cm, I knew we still had some time ahead of us. Again, I was feeling defeated, desperate, out of it, and a little delusional. I didn’t want anyone talking to me. I just needed to get to the finish line so I could meet my boy.
My doula suggested sitting on the toilet with my legs wide to try and force the baby down. I did what she said as my hands and nails gripped into Tony’s shoulders and my legs shook uncontrollably from the intensity of the pain. I remember having several BRUTAL contractions there until I just couldn’t take it anymore and needed to change positions again.
Next we moved to the elevated hospital bed, where I kneeled over butt-ass naked and rested my head on the back of it. Tony was at the front of the bed holding my arms and my doula was massaging my lower back with some amazing scented oils. I went through approximately 30 more mind-altering, I-wish-I-was-dead contractions on the bed before I screamed, “OH MY GOD I CAN’T TAKE IT. I CAN’T DO THIS. I’M SO TIRED!”
Tony could see just how exhausted I was, and even though I knew I wouldn’t be getting an epidural, I just needed to pretend to quit for a moment.
Right then, my midwife suggested checking me again and I delusionally agreed.
Good news! I was 9.75cm dilated and almost there. She said that she could try and stretch my cervix and that hopefully I would be able to push him past. Immediately that gave me a second wind. I had trained for this. I was freakin’ ready for this. I WAS BORN TO DO THIS. I WAS ALMOST THERE!
By 1am on Monday, I was ready to (finally) push. At first we tried it on my back, then on my hands and knees. Unexpectedly, my back felt like it was easiest for pushing because it didn’t feel as intense.
Overall, pushing was interesting because you really don’t know where to push. I had never pushed anything out of my vagina before, so this was all a new experience. What I can say is that pushing was SUCH a relief compared to the pain of contractions; it was also completely exhausting. Every time I felt a contraction I pushed with everything I had 2-3 times in a row. I was told to hold my breath as I pushed, which was strange too. It basically felt like I was running a freakin’ marathon.
Eventually I got the hang of it and could begin to feel him bearing further and further down. Everyone was so encouraging, but about midway through pushing I could see the clock in the room and noticed it had already been an hour and a half — I felt like I wasn’t making any progress. How long was this going to go on for? Can’t I just meet him already?!
All of those questions were running through my mind and all of a sudden I WAS STARVING and felt like I’d never make it without some sort of food. Thankfully, Tony fed me honey nut cheerios and sips of water and juice in between pushes — it was exactly what I needed.
Another hour of pushing later, his head was finally crowning and I pushed him out, scooped him up and held my 9 pound 4 ounce BIG baby boy for the first time. He came out with his arm next to his head (ouch) so I did end up having an inner vaginal 2nd degree tear. To be honest, I couldn’t even feel the tearing or the stitches because I was so freaking happy to meet him, and also so proud of myself for doing what I did.
My experience has given me a whole new perspective in regard to women, pregnancy, labor, birth and motherhood. I cannot believe how much our bodies can endure.
Most of all, I feel like such a different person having gone through the experience I did. It made me appreciate my body more than I ever have before, and it gave me the family I always wanted.
A beautiful, perfect son with the sweetest blue eyes, long fingers and chubby toes. I’m so grateful to be his mama, forever. Sidney, you made it all worth it.
Thank you for reading Sidney’s birth story. xo.
Photos taken by Jasmine Nicole Photography.
Monique, you are super woman! Thank you for sharing your story, and congrats on your beautiful son!
Thanks so much, Emily!
It’s been over a year, and I literally could not tell you what a contraction feels like. You forget after a while, and it becomes a blur! I think that’s why people have more than one…you forgot how rough it was the 1st time!!
I hope so! 😉 Thank you, Mallory!
Thank you for sharing! You are a warrior!
So glad I could share. Thank you!
Congratulations on your beautiful boy! Wow, hats off to you Momma! My first birth story also didn’t turn out quite like I’d imagined. I wanted natural, but I’m all for the epidural so had that (though it felt like hell before I had it and kicked in), but I ended up having an emergency c-section. Disappointed, but none of this mattered after I could hold my daughter. And I managed a natural birth a few years later with my son. Perfect little family! And I can definitely sympathise with the pain of tearing up! So now just enjoy those precious moments with your beautiful new baby, because it goes by really fast! Never take it for granted, even those sleepless nights. 🙂 Congrats to you both!
Every story and birth is so different! Happy for you and your little family 🙂 Thanks so much!
I am in awe! Pitocin is the absolute worst pain and your description of its relentlessness is dead on. I am so happy for you and Tony! Sidney is perfect and you are amazing.
It’s no joke! Thanks so much, Kelly!
Thank you for sharing your story! My oldest just turned 18 a few days ago but even after all of these years, your story brought back so many memories! When you talked about back labor, my back started to hurt, remembering that pain. But the joy of seeing him and holding him really did make it all worth it…you are so right! Your son is beautiful!
Time flies! And yes, seeing our little ones make it all worth it. Thank you, Kristin!
Congratulations Monique and Tony, and welcome to the world Sidney Jude! He’s absolutely gorgeous. Doesn’t the earth move the moment your baby is born? And kudos to you for having the courage to stick to your birthing plan. I had three inductions and no epidurals either. But 35 years ago, they weren’t even offered in my area, so it wasn’t a choice! God bless you all.
So interesting how even the options have changed over the years. Thanks so much!
It took a lot of courage to remember and record this birth. I, too, had a difficulty delivery of my first son. I thought I was totally prepared and would have a quick and easy time of it. NOT! The long and stressful process was also hard on him, and he was born a “blue baby”. We got extra support for him early in life to prevent a DD label. I hope this is encouraging as my second son was born 18 months later and we almost didn’t make it to the hospital before he arrived. I had anticipated another long and drawn out labor and it did NOT happen. I was calmer and so focused on family that my body responded much better.
Congratulations on your beautiful son. Happy Valentine’s Day to the 3 of you. May each day be a blessing to you.
Each birth story is so unique! Thanks so much 🙂
Hi Monique, Your birth story mirrors mine in many places. I was in labor at home with 2 mid wives for 40 hours with my daughter now 31. She weighed 9lb. 2oz. I didn’t have monitors to get wet in the tub. I had back labor, finding some relief kneeling on all 4’s. But to this day I remain telling my daughter that that day was the best day of my life. I share many of your moments of despair, lack of sleep and pain that could not be described in words. But 2 years after her birth I gave birth to my son with the same 2 mid wives at home. His birth although excruciating only lasted 4 hours. He was 7lb. 6 oz.. Growing a human being inside your body and giving birth is the most amazing privilege God gave us. We are so special to be women.
Women are superheroes! Thank you for sharing a little of your story. Such a privilege!
this is so, so beautiful and i’m sobbing while reading this. you are such a rockstar. i’m 18 weeks pregnant and have loved following your journey on instagram – so inspiring! thank you for being so open and for sharing all the details of your process. you are so strong and sidney is so lucky to have you as his mama! xoxo
Thank you so much, Kaitlin, and congrats on your pregnancy! Enjoy the ride, it all goes so fast 🙂
Oh. My. God!!! You are seriously a warrior. Thank you for sharing this incredible story!
Thanks so much, Erin!
All I have to say is you are one badass woman and Sidney is so lucky to have you as a mother ❤️❤️❤️ Thanks for sharing!
Thank you Marie!
We have similar stories! I, too, bought into all the hippie stuff, skipped the epidural, had to have Pitocin which was followed by a traumatic labor and delivery. Fast forward to baby number 2, and I opted for a c-section. There was no way I was going to put myself or the baby through that stress again. I know others may not agree, but it was the best decision for me. Seven years later and I still haven’t forgotten the pain of the first go round. Enjoy that delicious new babe!
I had a medically recommended c-section that I was happy to go along with. It went very well for my babies but ended in deadly serious complications for me. After reading this heartfelt and truthful post and your comment, for the first time feel I made the right decision with the c-section, even with unforgettable medical trauma. I’m glad you found your path confidently after a traumatic birth.
So sorry to hear that you had complications. I hope all is well with you now! Thanks for your note, Belle.
Everyone’s story is so unique and you always have to do what’s best for you! Thanks, Mandy 🙂
You are SUCH a rockstar Monique!! You’re going to make an incredible mother for little Sidney (and Tony an amazing dad as well!). Thanks for sharing your story and congratulations on your beautiful baby boy❤️❤️❤️
Thank you so much, Anna! 🙂
Oh Monique..I am so blessed to have read your Sydney story. You have your precious angel in your arms and your life is forever changed. I love your honesty and honestly am blown away about how you can remember so many details with such clarity having gone that many hours in that much pain. Hats off to you! I was blessed with very quick deliveries in hindsight once the Pitocin was administered..4 hours with my first (I was 18 and fit and healthy so that was awesome), 12 with the second (although I had been on a drug to help stop contractions when I went into premature labor at 7 months and went back into labor at 36 weeks, two days after I went off the drug) and 6 with the last one. So to hear you tell your story with such detail is amazing to me. God is so good that the memories of the labor pain fades into..I remember it hurt like the dickens, but it isn’t as real as say, remembering the pain of a burn from the oven or a serious cut with a knife (can you tell I spend a lot of time doing those things ?:). Those are things you avoid like the plague, but you would do childbirth again. Maybe not anytime soon for you though! 🙂 In any event, I just wanted to pray blessings from our loving Father in Heaven over your sweet family. I pray He will bless you with love, joy, peace and great health. I pray he will protect your family and keep you always safe from complacency and evil. And I pray that your family will prosper and be joyful always. In Jesus name we pray! Diosito me los bendiga siempre! Joanne
Every birth is so different! Thanks so much for your kind words, Joanne 🙂
You’re amazing Monique. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Reading about Sidney’s birth really resonated with me as my births (2) both were not as I hope or expected and let me feeling sad and a bit traumatized. Thankfully time has mended my memories and now I’m just grateful for my two beautiful, healthy children. Sending you and your family so much love!
So true that time is the ultimate healer (and seeing our babies grow up!) Thanks so much, Vanessa!
You are such a rockstar. I had a baby 3 weeks after you and went through a very similar experience— it was SO hard and nothing like what I planned for or anticipated. I’m still struggling to process it. I really hope you do a postpartum recovery post because that part is almost as hard and traumatizing as labor itself. Again, way to go and thank you for this honest post. And congratulations to you and your family!!!
Congrats Kelly! It definitely takes time to process – writing this out actually helped for me. I’ll be publishing a postpartum recovery blog post very soon, so stay tuned!
Well done! You are the best, woman are incredible, the power is a woman 😊Oh I can feel your pain! Ive had back labor as well and I had it from the beginning till end (from Sunday evening till Thursday 2 am when my first boy was born) and felt same as you-„I want to die, I cannot do this” After my son was born I was going through post pactrum depression which actually was ignored by my siblings, I was keep telled that I should be the happiest person on the world, what is wrong with me…I even dont know how I went through this on my own but believe me it was difficult. Thank you to share your story😊
Women are incredible! So sorry to hear about the lack of support postpartum – taking care of ourselves is so important after such a life-changing experience. Hope all is well, Dominika and thank you for your note!
Thank you so much for sharing. As a mama who’s had 2 Pitocin birth experiences and one without, I felt your pain so deeply reading this. I did get the epidural I swore I would never have because it was just too much. I truly truly admire you for sticking it out.
You are a kick ass mama and will carry that experience with you forever. Congrats!
It’s so important to do what’s best for you in times like this! Thanks for your note, Amy 🙂
Your story made me laugh, made me cry, made me remember my time of birthing. You are incredibly brave and I’m so glad you stuck to your plan as you can wear it like a trophy and never forget how badass you really are. Congratulations to you both. He is absolutely beautiful and he will be the key to letting go the trauma of birth, as you would do it again to get him.
Absolutely. Thank you so much, Kathy!
What a beautifully written birth story. I love reading open and honest birth stories. You are amazing for laboring so long. Beautiful photos and baby boy.
I cannot express how incredible you are for sharing your journey. I’ve absolutely loved following your Instagram stories and have been eager to read precious Sidney’s birth story.
You’re honesty about the fourth trimester has been so reassuring (actually the opposite of scary.) It’s incredibly comforting to see the challenges of birth and know that if my future birth is similar, I won’t feel alone. Thank you. You are so incredibly strong!
You are definitely not alone! Women are superheroes 🙂 thank you, Diana!
Holy shit, you ARE a badass. This was equally terrifying and inspiring all at once. 😳 My sister had Pitocin for her first baby (maybe even her second too? I can’t remember) after having to be induced early, and I remember her telling us how badly she was shaking and how intense the pain was during all of it (vomiting, etc.). It sounds awful. Appreciate all of your honesty and transparency of the experience, good and bad. So happy for you guys! xo
Wow it was a crazy experience! Thanks so much Laura xoxo
tears rolling down my face as I read this beautiful story. Thanks you so much for sharing your raw emotions and your experience, Women’s bodies are the most beautiful and magnificent and powerful things in this world. It has been such a joy following your journey!
Absolutely! Thanks so much for your note and for following along!
Thanks so much for sharing this and congrats on your perfect baby boy!! I am admittedly not pregnant nor planning on being pregnant soon, so I haven’t done much research.. but I was shocked to read your candid description of the pain but your determination to not get the epidural. Guess I don’t know what’s so bad about it! Most of us take ibuprofen so our period cramps aren’t as bad, I’m all for pain meds hahaha. But CRAZY respect for going through that the way you wanted, even when things didn’t go to plan. Congrats again!
Everyone’s so different! Thanks for your note, Amber 🙂
OH MY GOSH Monique! You are literally a superhero, not gonna lie, reading this makes me not want kids of a WHILE, but I am truly so amazed by you. Thank you for being honest, and I’m so glad he is healthy and you are okay! Sending you so much love, you are so powerful!!
Thank you, Giuliana! I hope I didn’t discourage you from kids – they’re truly such a beautiful miracle even after a rough journey 🙂 everyone’s different! Thank you again!!
Thank you for sharing your story, Monique! You are so unbelievably brave and strong. So happy for you that you are in this new phase of life and thank you for letting us follow along.
Thanks so much, Katie! Very excited about this new phase and glad I’m able to share with everyone 🙂
This story made me cry. It brought me back to my first labour. It was everyhting I thought it wouldn’t be and it took forever. I was also induced. I can only tell you it made me traumatized and I never wanted to go through it again. It took me three months to be able to take short walks without any pain.
The only comfort I can give you is that when I finally had my second baby the story changed completely. It was such a different experience and I am forever grateful for the second chance and the change of feelings around giving birth. But reading stories like yours can still bring me back to the first time and all the emotions around it is unreal.
You are awesome! You did it! Your body did it. It is insanely impressive! Especially for someone who has been through a very similar story and truly can relate. Well done you!!!
So sorry you also had to have this experience! But I’m glad the second time around was a whole different story. Thanks so much for your note, Andrea — women are so powerful!
I should not have read this at work because by the end I was in tears. What a powerful story! Thank you for sharing this with us.
Aw thank you, Calie! I’m glad I could share.
Congratulations dear Monique, you are my super hero, I am sure it was hard but you have now your beautiful baby son and it is so wonderful for you and your life.
I love your blog and posts, I follow you since many years, I wish you all the best in this world.
Greetings from Bolivia in South America.
Thank you so much, Andrea! That means a lot 🙂
you are truly amazing! and thank you for sharing.. i have been dying to read what your experience was.
and also, HOLY SHIT!! i am due in 2.5 weeks and have always mirrored your way of thinking and plans for labor/delivery.. now i am just a bit anxious.
i know we are all different, birth stories will all be different but my goodness, what a story you have!
Thanks so much! And you got this, Cassy 🙂 everyone’s story is different and yours will be uniquely your own!
Wow, you are truly a superwoman! I had natural birth with first, and it was truly the hardest thing I have ever done! Sidney’s birth story is truly amazing, I cannot believe you went through all of that and did not cave., propr to you mama!
Thanks so much, Sadia!
Amazing mama! You are so strong! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I wish I had written mine down but I really don’t think I can forget the big moments. I also had back labor, my little boy was sunny side up, then turned half way and needed to be yanked out with a vacuum delivery. It was traumatic. I did end up getting my epidural but after a couple hours my blood pressure dropped too low so they had to stop it, leaving me going natural after all! I remember feeling like dying too. Truly it’s the scariest most out of body experience but YOU DID IT! Your baby is beautiful and I hope you’re feeling better in regards to your healing process. I’m a year out and I swear I’m still not completely healed or normal!
Right back at you, strong mama! Thanks so much for sharing and thank you for your note – hope all is well!
So much of this is familiar. Pitocin is no joke. I’ve run 11 marathons, but giving birth is definitely harder – the greatest endurance test of your life, and you CANNOT QUIT. Worth it, though. 🙂 Congratulations!
Absolutely! Thanks, Wendy!
Monique, reading this story and all the comments below has been such an incredible experience. I teared up reading it and I feel exhausted now just finishing reading it – I cannot imagine going through what you did! You are a superhero. And clearly, from the comments, you can see the way your story resonated with mamas around the world. Childbirth, if it’s in my future, is a way off for me, but I’m going to call my mom today and thank her for everything she did to bring me into the world. <3
I’m so happy I was able to share and that this resonated with so many. Thank you, Melanie! Great idea to give your mama a call too 🙂
Well..congrats..you did it and survived …just a distant memory now. He is a lovely BIG boy..wow! Can’t imagine squeezing him out. Anyways..I honestly don’t understand the whole midwife and doula thing? Nothing you said sounded like a natural way to give birth. They gave you drugs (which wasn’t what you wanted). So, you had no say as to what you really wanted once you were in the delivery mode? I also always thought the main purpose of a midwife was to have the baby at home. It seems the whole process was far too stressful on you, your husband and the baby. I think if it had been me, I would’ve said I wanted to have a C-section, than go through that. I found that to be almost cruel.
Everyone woman’s birth story is beautiful and unique, regardless of the logistics. Sometimes things change in the moment, adaptations need to be made for so many reasons. There is nothing cruel about the way you chose to have your experience, Monique, and I’m so glad you chose to share it with us.
Alyssa Swanson..I didn’t mean Monique was cruel at all?? So, I don’t know what you are talking about? I am referring to the midwife actually. To let someone go through 40 hours of excruciating pain was cruel. I actually had two babies at once..(twins) One came naturally, the other by C-section…(so yes.I was cut at both ends) The doctor was in a bad mood because he got called in, snapped at the nurses continuously and actually ruined the entire “first (and only) babies” experience. I know things change in an instant. 40 hours is no instant. Giving her drugs that caused terrible pain, taking her off of them, and then giving them to her again, faulty equipment…The entire experience sounded horrible and chaotic. I think the midwife was in over her head. I’m just happy that she gave birth (finally) to a healthy little boy after all of that.
Because I went so long we had to go a bit of a different path than our original plan, which is where the Pitocin came in. I would’ve liked for things to have gone differently but in the end everyone tried to do what was best for me and baby 🙂 Thanks for your note!
You did it!!! Just wanted to say that this made me really emotional and teared up after reading it all. I also had a natural unmedicated, extremely long and painful first labor and delivery…. I remember leaving the hospital thinking I was nuts for doing that. I couldn’t believe what it took to really pull through! We’re super hero’s for real! I remember thinking I never wanted to do it again; now pregnant again – and of course considering a home birth 😊. It’s all worth it!! And you’ll forget the trauma with time. Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy 💗
We are absolutely superheroes! Thanks so much, Dylan, and congrats on your second pregnancy 🙂
That was such a beautiful story and so so similar to my own. It’s an amazing thing to have gone through an experience that is so powerful and so uniquely yours, yet is so relatable to so many other women who have gone through what you just went through. We have all felt the anticipation, the determination, the fear, the defeat- we have all dug deeper than we ever knew possible and relished in the pure joy of holding our baby in our arms. Welcome to the mom club:)
Absolutely! What a unique but relatable experience. Happy to be in the mom club 🙂
You are amazing! I had a son 6 months ago and went 2 hours “naturally” and I couldn’t do it, I had to get all the meds!! Way to go girl!!
Thanks, Brigid! Meds or no meds women having babies is incredible – huge congrats on your son!
You are amazing!!! Such an interesting read!
Thanks Lindsey! It was quite the journey!
I have been hopeful you would open up to us about your birth story, thank you so much for sharing the intimate details. This was beautiful, Monique. Having just had my first baby 8 months ago, wanting it as unmedicated as possible but being two weeks overdue and also induced with pitocin I felt I was reliving a few of my own birthing moments through your recounting. I hope you can find peace with your birth story knowing that it was perfect even though it wasn’t what you envisioned going to the labor room ❤️ Sydney is a charmer! Congratulations to your little family of three!
Absolutely. Thank you so much, Eryn!
You are a freakin rock star mama! Your commitment to natural child birth and that sweet baby boy are so admiral. Thank you for sharing your birth story, the story that brought that little miracle Sydney into the world.
Thank you Allison!
Thanks for sharing. It’s so, so important for us all to share birth stories that are real and raw like you have. I’m in awe that you did all of that unmedicated! And congrats!!!
Agreed! Thanks so much!
Congrats. You’re a warrior. Tour next delivery, God willing, will be so different and hopefully easier. If you made it through all of that without an epidural YOU CAN DO ANYTHING haha seriously. Had epidural with my 1st cuz the pain was shocking and i didn’t know how to handle it. #2 & #3 were natural. #3 was on my knees amd by far the fastest & easiest. #4 coming July 2020. Motherhood is a miracle. Draw on Jesus during those difficult days/nights. 🙂
Thank you, April! And congrats on baby #4 coming your way 🙂
Thank you for sharing your story, it’s important to hear each woman’s experience and I’m sure this wasn’t easy to relive as you wrote it. I’m pregnant and also hope to have an unmedicated birth, and I want to hear the good and tough stories. Congratulations on your beautiful boy!
Absolutely. And thanks so much! Wishing you all the best on this journey, too!
Congratulations on your beautiful baby!!
Thanks so much!
I am so sorry that you experienced birth like this. You are such a gifted writer, and I felt as if I was in the room with you as I wavered between fear for and admiration of you. I am glad you are both healthy and O.K., but don’t let the fact that you both came out fine invalidate your experience. Sit with your trauma, and let yourself heal. You owe that to yourself and your new son.
You are strong and amazing. Congratulations.
Thank you so much, Emma – I’m glad I could write it all out!
Thank you for sharing your story. You are amazing and your son is beautiful!
Thank you so much!
I have tears running down my face reading this wonderful post. CONGRATULATIONS, and thank you for sharing this story. Pitocin is no joke, I had to be induced with my first son and people had always said ‘contractions are like bad period cramps’ …um yeah no, With Pitocin, you feel like you will die. So happy and excited to see beautiful Sidney and you as an ever strong, amazing woman!
Seriously no joke. Thank you so much Phi!
Literally crying while I read this, I am due on April 13th and I can’t wait to meet my baby girl but man am I scared out of my mind. I think throughout the entire pregnancy I had kind of blocked out the actual labor and delivery aspect because even just thinking about it gives me intense anxiety. Everyone keeps telling me it will be okay, and that woman have been doing this since the beginning of time but those comments don’t settle my nerves at all. What I have come to realize is reading birth stories and watching birth vlogs is helping because it makes birth just a little less unknown for me. I don’t need people to sugar coat it to spare my feelings, I need the raw nitty- gritty details so I can prepare as best possible. Anyways, thank you so much for sharing your story, it has helped this mama- to- be immensely and just know that you are a freaking BADASS and Jude should feel so lucky to call you his mama. Congratulations!
The unknown part is hard, which is why I’ve loved sharing my whole experience in hopes to inspire other mamas and soon-to-be mamas! Sending all of the strength and positive vibes your way for April – you got this!
Very happy to see that heathy, adorable little fella, but incredibly sorry to hear that your experience was so harrowing! What a bloody challenge. And you are smiling! I think I would be unsmiling for about six weeks after what you’ve described. (But then I’d probably look at that cute little face and just melt…plus little fingers and toes!)
He is as cute as can be; I wish you a speedy recovery and that he learns to sleep through the night quickly!
Can’t help but smile with his little face 🙂 thanks so much for your note!
Well done Monique, it was all worth it in the end!! Your pain endurance was amazing!! And now you have your lovely son.
Frankly, if I was in that position, I’d be the first to request a c-section if the wait became too long,
SO happy for you guys! Great job getting him here momma!!!! <3
Thank so much, Rebekah!
Congrats! Thank you for sharing your birth story. We women are truly warriors! What an amazing experience. You thought you could and so you did!!!
When I was 9 months pregnant with my first, I was at the pool and an older lady wished me and my husband luck and said “no one tells you but birth feels like shitting a watermelon.” My husband and I looked at each other speechless. Three kids later, I’ve said this is the most accurate way to describe it (except the most adorable, amazing watermelons ever)!!!
For those planning to give birth, I also had NO idea how to push, but push like you are pooping- it’s the same sensation. And I 100% agree that the contractions are much worse than the pushing- when you can actually push, the contractions give the momentum to move that baby out and help you to know how and where to push. I highly recommend the Hypnobirthing home study audio tracks by Kathryn Clark.
Empowered women empower women! Thank you for sharing and empowering those that follow. 💕
Women truly are warriors! And yes, cutest watermelon ever 😉 Thanks so much for your note, Michelle!
This is an amazing story, and you are such an amazing woman with incredible courage and strength. I also had a large baby (9 lb 5 oz) thirty years ago. I was in labor for 54 hours and ended up with a c-section. There was no internet then, so I had limited resources that I could turn to in advance for research. From the minute I got to the hospital I was in bed. My labor never progressed despite the Pitocin, but I was not able to get up and walk around or change position. By the time my doctor said a c-section would be best, I was exhausted and happy to just get the baby out any way possible. For my second child, I didn’t want to go through all of that again, so I had a scheduled c-section. It all worked out and I have no regrets, but things are so different now and it’s nice that women have more choices.
Thanks so much for your note, Linda! It’s incredible how many more resources there are now. Everyone’s story is so different!
Holy moly, Monique! That sounded so stressful and crazy, but I’m so glad you got to have your birth YOUR way. Congratulations, Sidney is gorgeous, and he is lucky to have such a strong mama and supportive papa. My Teddy was born this past April via emergency C-section, and it’s so true what you said that every birth is different, but the one thing they all have in common is that you NEVER know what to expect. Thank you for sharing, and all the best on mamahood!
Thanks so much, Katie! And yes, you truly never know! Congrats on your little one, too 🙂
Wow, just WOW you are superwoman. I’ve been a fan for a long time and was so elated to hear of your pregnancy- especially since I was just 8 weeks (ish?) ahead of you!! This is my first baby and I too wanted to labour at home as long as possible, in a bath, natural birth…and I too had my water break before anything else…And had to be induced. What a crazy experience- I ended up with the epidural (no regrets but not the plan) – you are amazing for managing to stick with your plan! I also had a little boy. Anyway such deep congratulations to you and your beautiful family!
Everyone’s story is so unique! Thanks so much, Danyel, and congrats to you and your family too 🙂
Wow, you sure are strong. What a rough labor, good for you for trying to stick to your plan was much as possible. And congratulations !
I’m shocked they let you go 40+ hours from breakage of water to delivery.. That’s some major risk for infections (ie endometritis).
I too had unexpected need for induction. My baby was measuring small and suddenly at 38 weeks, with closed cervix, I had to be induced. Luckily, I had a very positive induction experience and had my baby in less than 24 hours from start of induction. . Even though my baby was sunny side up and I pushed for 2 hours, I am glad I’m someone that can say induction wasn’t bad. In fact my body took over and I only needed 0.5 unit of pitocin (which the labor nurse said isn’t even a dose they start at , I think they start at 4) and pitocin was eventually stopped. Also, I did get an epidural and never needed to push for doses for further pain control. I just had a low basal dose, enough to make me enjoy the process but still feel pain and actually feel my contractions. So everyone has a unique story and induction/epidural doesn’t make it any less natural , IMO. and I am impressed you pushed out a 9lb baby! That would have been a c section going for that long in any other hospital I know.
I’ve been meaning to read this and I’m so glad I did! You are amazing! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your birth story and in such detail to help others.
I started following you because I love your recipes… each and every one I’ve tried! Now I enjoy all of your posts~ about your life, exercising, products you love, and especially being a mom… It’s so crazy how someone’s posts, someone you don’t even know, can brighten your day the way so many of your stories and posts do. Thank you for sharing all you do!❤️
Hi Leslie! Thank you so much for your note – really means a lot! I hope you keep finding recipes and a dose of inspiration here 🙂 xo!
Congratulations!! Hi my name is Kim a new fan to Ambitious Kitchen.
I want to thank and Congratulate you on sharing Sidney’s Birth Story.
You share your experience so beautifully and honest. It’s so hard to express what labor and delivery feels like. Especially when you experience the journey epidural free. Bravo!!! to you and your Bad Ass “Mommy Warrior” strength. There are two of many thing we share in common. Natural delivery and the gift of a baby boy born on the same day.. Years apart, My son Tyler was born Jan 13th 1997. LOL
I came across your blog looking for a ChickPea & Butternut squash recipe, I took a peak at your blog and was delighted & signed up to continued to be inspired.
Thank you again. Welcome Baby Sidney. Have a fabulous day. Be safe and Healthy during this trying time.
Kim from NYC
Holy moly girl! You DID IT! So happy for your family of 3!
Thanks so much, Samantha!
I have a similar story. I was induced and ended up choosing the epidural. Pitocin is hell. I’ve run three marathons and a 50k and they were all much easier than that birth. I give you a standing ovation!
It is a wild ride! Three marathons and a 50k are amazing, too!
Thank you for sharing your story! I too had to have pitocin after my water breaking with my first child. It completely changed my birth plan as well. I didn’t end up laboring as long as you did, but it wasn’t a fun experience and I feel you on all of the incredible swing of emotions and physical symptoms. Congratulations on getting through! Enjoy your beautiful boy and all the joy he will bring you for many years to come! <3 Another Boy Mama x2
Absolutely. Everyone’s experience is so different (and such a mix of emotional + physical aspects!) Thanks for your note 🙂
Thanks for posting your labor experience! It honestly made me laugh and get emotional too. I want a completely natural delivery too, even with the horror stories of pitocin. (Though I hope I don’t need the pitocin of course). It’s helpful to just read about how you really felt through it. Better to go into something aware of the potential difficulties, than to sugar coat it. I like to think I’ll be so zen with my deep breathing but who am I kidding? I’ll probably cry and be psycho too 😂
Absolutely! Everyone’s birth experience is so different – I’m glad I was able to share my honest story with everyone. Thinking of you and yours!
We made the Turmeric Pineapple Healthy Chicken Marinade and it was fabulous. My daughter is on a FODMAP diet and allergic to soy, so we replaced with the soy and garlic with 2 Tablespoons garlic infused olive oi and barbequed the chicken. t was easy and delicious.
Amazing! Happy to hear that 🙂
Birthed 3 kids all with Pitocin and your description is spot-on…the best I’ve ever read! Very real and honest! Congrats and great story
Wow – power to you! And thank you!
Thank you for sharing this!! I read it through tears not just because I am also pregnant and I will soon relate to this, but also just a reinforcement on how amazingly strong women are.