An Unexpected C-Section

One mama tells us how she coped when her birth didn’t go as planned.

I have PCOS, so getting pregnant wasn’t easy. After 3 years, countless fertility treatments , 4 miscarriages and one round of IVF , my husband, Michael, and I learned that a healthy male embryo was sprouting inside of me. I was anxious and worried and scared. But I was also overjoyed and hopeful. Once I hit the 24-week mark (a point that I had yet to reach with my other pregnancies), I tried to set my mind free from all the worries and had a renewed sense of determination. I wanted to welcome my son into this world with a drug-free vaginal birth.

But I had gestational diabetes. So my doctor scheduled an induction at 39 weeks, right before Memorial Day. The morning of my induction started like any other day, except when I used the bathroom, I felt a huge gush. My water broke, and for once, I thought, my body was cooperating with me and I may avoid induction.

birth story

birth story

Our doula , Laura, advised me to get active to help my body get into active labor. For the next several hours, I bounced on my ball, walked around and did nipple stimulation. As the contractions came on, they were only about 8 minutes apart. I began doubting myself and decided it was time to go for my induction appointment at 5pm.

After we made a pit stop at Shake Shack for my last meal as a mom-to-be, we arrived at the hospital. I checked in, met with the on-call doctor, reviewed my birth plan  and was in a gown within twenty minutes. At that point, I was 1 centimeter dilated. About an hour in, the nurse hooked me up to four different IVs, the last one being Pitocin. It was like an IV web, and I was Spiderwoman.

birth story

birth story

I’ve heard so many horrors stories about Pitocin, so I expected the reaction to be immediate. But it took two hours to take full effect. I was able to watch the new Game of Thrones episode before the pain began to steal my focus. It’s when the doctors turned the Pitocin up to a level 8, that the pain kicked in.

These new contractions were fast and intense. By hour 3, we needed help to manage the pain. Laura arrived at 2 am, and her soothing voice and magic hands went to work right away. She, Michael and I  became a well-oiled machine. For the first hour, we talked, cracked jokes and tried not acknowledge the fact that another contraction was on its way. The contractions were now 1-2 minutes apart.

birth story

birth story

The pain became unbearable, cutting me off mid-sentence and turning me into a howling banshee. Before I could catch my breath, I had to jump back into counting down through the contractions. We moved from leaning on a chair, to squatting on a ball, to laying down. A few hours later, I begged to be examined because in my heart I knew (or at least I prayed) that I had made some significant progress. I was only 4 centimeters dilated. My heart sank. I felt defeated. I knew I could push through, but mentally I was nearing a breaking point and needed to get some rest.

So I opted for an epidural, if only so I can sleep. Once I got it, around 6 am, everything changed. I wondered to myself, “why did I want an epidural free birth?,” and after 15 minutes, I was finally able to sleep.

birth story

birth story

After about 2 and half hours, my doctor came in with a slew of others and told me that my baby wasn’t doing great.  Once you hear those words, nothing else in the world matters. She explained that his heart rate was dropping and recommended a C-section. I tried not to panic, but Laura could tell that I was very overwhelmed and needed a minute to evaluate what was going on. She asked that Michael and I had some alone time to discuss our options.

As my doctor went over the consent form and proceedings, I saw my dreams of having a vaginal birth vanish, but all I could think of was my unborn son. I gave my approval for the operation and signed the paperwork. The doors swung open and a slew of people came in. It was like a TV show.

birth story

birth story

I was rolled down the hallway and into the OR, strapped down to a table. My anesthesiologist was very good looking, ‘McDreamy’ good looking — a welcome distraction while I waited for Michael to arrive. Once the anesthesia kicked in, he asked what Pandora station we wanted to listen to. We chose the smooth sounds of Maxwell. My doctor then began the procedure. I felt some pressure and tugging, but within minutes, I heard his cry.

Three years of pain, stress, sadness and anger were all out-weighed by this sweet, sweet sound. Michael and I burst into tears. Minutes later, Michael brought him over to my face. I was in love and so relaxed that I fell asleep with his face still pressed up against mine. I awoke in recovery to Laura, Michael and Miko, my son. Life couldn’t have been any sweeter.

birth story

birth story

Photography by Laura Vladimirovaof; who also served as Terri and Michael’s birth doula

Terri Texidor is the proud mama of Michael Alexander, 3 months old and a Labradoodle named Rio. She lives in Long island with her husband, Michael Texidor, and works as an Administrative Business Partner at Google.

Did you have an unexpected C-section? Or avoid one? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Comments {18}

  1. Thank you for sharing your story Terri I myself suffer with PCOS & struggled getting pregnant for 10 + yrs until 2014 but sadly miscarried my angel at 29wks gestation. I believe God has a plan bigger thanni ever could imagine for myself. I also believe he will bless you with more than you’ll be able to handle or contain. God bless you & your beautiful family.

    Barbara Barosy-Philogene
    1. We’re so sorry for your loss, Barbara. Sending you lots of love and support.

      Jessica Pallay
  2. It’s very important for expectant parents to research their doctor/midwife and hospital to assess what the c-section rate is for their chosen provider. I have had 2 unplanned cesareans after long labors, then a vba2c. Sometimes cesareans are unavoidable, but a lot of the time it is restricted access to evidence based medicine that lands moms in the operating room for multiple unnessesary surgeries. For more support and information research ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network).

    1. Thanks Valerie, this is really helpful info.

      Jessica Pallay
  3. Wow, I’ve never had a c-section, but this sounded intense. Congrats on your little guy, my oldest is named Mikko too, just 2 k’s:) I can only imagine how emotionally challenging it would be to have such difficulty conceiving, and very sorry Barbara of your loss. you are right, God has a plan that we sometimes cant see or understand, but He will always be there with you.

  4. My first cesarean was quickly determined. I was already 10 days past my due date when I started to have contractions. I went to the er immediately and they had me get into a gown and did an ultrasound and said he was breach. Immediately they said prep her for a cesarean. I was young, and figured doctors knew what they were doing. Now, I wish I would have asked about repositioning or waiting. My 2nd child I attempted vbac but after a couple hours, they called a failure to progress. Cesarean. My 3rd was scheduled cesarean but my water broke a week before. Still ended in a cesarean but with my 4th, they scheduled the cesarean earlier. My 4th, 5th, and 6th were high risk pregnancies and no hospital wanted to take me. Each time, it was a struggle to finally get accepted. My 7th cesarean was done almost 6 weeks early because I was contracting and they monitored me overnight and said it was risky to allow me to continue the pregnancy. They were afraid of rupture and had blood standing by. I know, 7 cesareans….but everything has always been ok. Despite the doctors being shocked when they hear how many. I am expecting baby #8 in December. But, they are scheduled to do the cesarean mid november. I’m getting my tubes tied. 8 beautiful healthy babies. I’m healthy. Life is beautiful.

    1. 8 healthy beautiful babies, Melinda, what an accomplishment! Thanks for sharing your journey!

      Jessica Pallay
  5. I myself have had 2 unplanned csections and I’m only 21. They were the scariest but most amazing moments of my life. With my first daughter who is now 2 1/2 I was induced “because of gestational diabetes” and my cervix started swelling at 9 cm. I cried so hard as they took me back to the OR but the moment I heard her beautiful cry nothing else mattered. I also have a 9 month old baby girl who was a csection, my water broke two days after my due date at 7am (I went to bed after 4 am Lordy no sleep lol) things progressed quickly I got to 5 cm before I got the epidural (not even 2 hours later) and then got to 7 before I stalled out for awhile. At that point they realized she was in there a little sideways and probably wouldn’t come down the birth canal, but I was determined to have a vbac. I started swelling again at 9 cm but when I changed position I finally got to 10. I pushed and pushed for 2 hours before I couldn’t take it anymore and we noticed she truely was stuck in there. So off to the OR we went, it felt like forever before she was here I didn’t even see her before they sedated me to clean up some scar tissue (btw thanks for telling me I was sedated doctors my husband was the one who told me) and woke up hours later super confused. My doctors ended up having to cut my uterus into a T shape which makes any more pregnancies and csections dangerous so I’m hoping for one more beautiful baby (boy dust) in a few years maybe 2 if number 3 goes well and then tying my tubes. Csections were scary but I would totally do it all again for my girls

    1. Wow, two amazing birth stories, Marti. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for that boy for you!

      Jessica Pallay
  6. To hear what you and your husband went through its unbelievable but of coarse I know it’s true. Keeps me giving God thanks! Yes my niece I am so glad you decided to share your story. May it help other parents that have to go through love to your lovely family.

    Wanda Miranda
  7. thanks for sharing your story, terri. after 2 years of struggling, I had a successful IVF and gave birth in june. I was induced at 41w, but she didn’t arrive until 41w2d. I went through 36 hours of labor only to be told that I couldn’t progress past 8cm. since her heart rate dropped when they increased my pitosin levels, a cesarean was recommended. at that point, the words “birth plan” go out the window. it’s all about getting your baby delivered safely. my “birth plan” didn’t involve the OR but I am glad it did after all I went through in those 36 hours. all that matters now is that she is here, healthy and happy. one big lesson I learned through infertility is that you have to be flexible. that didn’t end when I got pregnant or even went into labor. I remain flexible today, which is hard for me since I’m such a planner, but it’s helped me to be the best mom I can be for my beautiful daughter. xo

    1. Katie, you’re so strong! Thanks for sharing how you found the positive in your challenging situation.

      Jessica Pallay
  8. I did 12 hours of contractions at home before even heading into the hospital – I had hoped for a natural vaginal birth.

    A last minute ultrasound was done in the delivery room and it turned out my little man was breech – what they had thought was his head being engaged turned out to be his butt – and with the location of the umbilical cord they were hesitant to try and do the natural birth I had wanted.

    I cried – my husband and Mom comforted me – and I had the c-section. Seeing my healthy baby boy made up for most of the disappointment in not having the birth I wanted.

    I’m currently pregnant with my second son – he’s due in 10 weeks. We are hoping for a vbac – but a c-section will be scheduled for 41 weeks if I don’t go into labor naturally. This boy was also breech at the last ultrasound- if he hasn’t flipped by 39 weeks I’m also going to need a c-section.

    At this point I’ve resigned myself that some babies just don’t want to come into this world through the door- and instead opt for the window. I hope this one will use the door because recovery from a c-section was horrible- but it is what it is and as long as he arrives I’m a happy mamma.

    1. “The Door” and “The Window” – LOVE that. Good luck, mama!

      Jessica Pallay
  9. What a beautiful, challenging story, thank you for sharing. I also had an unplanned csection. My goal was to have a unmediated vaginal birth. But at 37 weeks I was induced due to hypertension.

    They broke my water and I went into labor naturally. It was 23 hours of labor, 17 1/2 hours of unrelenting painful active back labor, and 5 hours of pushing. Even though I was fully dilated, my son could not pass my cervix due to the his heads angle. My only option was a c section.

    Unfortunately, I have severe scoliosis and the anethesia did not work properly and I felt most of the procedure. It began with feeling the pain of a contraction in my back, then the pain wrapped around my hip and eventually to the front where I could feel the surgery. I felt extreme pain and there was nothing more they could do until he was out. My pain was dismissed by the doctor during the surgery. Only the anesthesiologist believed me, as soon as he was out of me, I was given more medication and was knocked out.

    I was unable to enjoy the fist several hours with him consciously due to the medication and the loss of 1/2 my blood volume. But my husband was able to give him skin to skin and the nurses helped my son breastfeed while I was asleep.

    I’m grateful that he is healthy and as am I. It was an unexpected journey and incredibly difficult. Each day my emotional trauma heals and the flashbacks lighten in intensity. Women are such strong powerful beings. Own your story, it makes you stronger, love on your child and enjoy every day.

    1. What an emotional journey, and how lucky you were to have an anesthesiologist (and husband and nurses!) that supported you through it. Lots of love to you and your baby!

      Jessica Pallay
  10. Terri, congrats to you and your husband! Miko is beautiful.

    Your experience and mine have so many similarities. I’m type 1 diabetic and thus was high risk and my doctors pushed induction at 39 weeks. Every part of me wanted a natural, drug free delivery, and I did everything in my power to avoid induction – pushed back on my docs, hired a doula, tried to naturally bring on labor, etc. Like you, it sort of worked – my water broke 10 days before my due date…I thought, “yay!”, no induction! However, my contractions didn’t progress and while the docs waited it out with me for a while, they eventually told me we had to do something to move labor forward. So gradual pitocin and eventually a foley balloon it was. I still didn’t have significant progression despite crazy contractions and pain that turned out to be back labor.

    After hours with no end in site, and despite the best efforts of my amazing doula to help me through the pain, I opted for an epidural. My baby’s heart rate dropped with the epidural, and around the same time I was told I had a fever and thus a potential infection, which would require antibiotics for us both. The baby’s heart rate recovered, but then soared, and when the doctors couldn’t get it to come back down, they said we had to move forward with a c-section. At 3:18am on July 9, Hudson was born! Hearing his first cries and finally seeing his sweet face was the most amazing few minutes of my life.

    Ultimately, people always remind me – and I know it’s true – that what matters most is that we both came through the experience safe and healthy. But it doesn’t change the fact that it wasn’t what I wanted for us both, and I still have moments of sadness about that. They quickly dissipate with one look at his gorgeous face 🙂

    Best wishes to you and your family!

    Nicole Graham
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