bear’s birth story

6 weeks | 9 months | 4 months

4 weeks | 9 months | 4 months

i've been wanting to share bear's birth story for a while now, and thought i better do it now before i forget any of these sweet memories. he turned 4 months last week and i can honestly say these have been the best months of my life. it's hard to imagine life before him. he brings so much joy into our lives, and with it, a sense of completion (even though i know there will be more babies to come!). a year can make so much difference, can't it? the picture above on the far left was right after i found out i was pregnant. the 2nd one was taken the day before i had him and the third was taken yesterday (4 months old).

i won't go through my entire pregnancy, but if you're interested  you can read about it in detail here. in a nutshell, it was wonderful. i remained vegan with no problem, walked routinely and managed to gain a whopping 40 pounds. the only hiccup in the entire 9 months was that he was breech and wasn't interested in flipping.

bear's birth story

first, i want to say that everyone's birth story is different and very personal. this is ours and though i feel a little vulnerable sharing it, i want to share my life with you and let other mothers-to-be know more about what to expect and the options they have. each decision we made was well researched and decided upon with care. i know pregnancy, birth and babies come with a lot of opinions but i ask that we all be respectful of each others life decisions here. :)

i'll begin the story around 34 weeks. i had my routine check up when my doctor felt that bear might be breech. after an ultrasound to check, it was confirmed he was right side up (or wrong side up?). i knew i had a few weeks to try to get him to turn, so i made an appointment for moxibustion acupuncture, started doing lots of stretches and several inversions every day. we looked into having a external cephalic version (ecv) done, but due to the  risks involved and bear's particular positioning we decided not to try. long story short, after weeks of exercises and moxibustion, he was still breech, so we scheduled a c-section for one week before my due date, september 3rd.

i quickly mourned the ability to have a 'normal' birth. i would have liked to have let my body experience labor and tried to have him naturally. though i'm not sure if i could have made it without an epidural, we'll never know. i decided that i was happy to have a healthy baby and would just be welcoming him in to this world through a different experience.

my main concern was having the most 'natural' c-section possible. as long as he was healthy, i wanted to try nursing immediately and focus on skin to skin contact as much as possible. thankfully, my doctor was all for it and recommended we have a family centered cesarean (read more about them here, here and here).

september 2nd was an interesting day. we new by 9:30 am the next day we would have a baby, though monday felt like an ordinary day. david and i spent all day together, getting ready and spending extra moments snuggling. we ate a healthy dinner and went to bed early, though i'm pretty sure neither of us got much sleep. we woke up at 5:30 on tuesday to get ready and head out the door for the hospital. we were a little quiet, and i was a little nervous. all of it gave me a pretty weird feeling. i'm going to have surgery while awake today. i'm going to have a baby today. repeat over and over and over again.

the hospital was wonderful and very accommodating. i just so happened to be surrounded by female doctors and nurses the entire time and they were all so sweet and nurturing. after checking in, they took us to a back room where they hooked up a few monitors to watch bear's heart rate and gave me an iv (3rd try was a charm!). they allowed both of our families to come back where they hugged us and kissed us and prayed for us. shortly after, they took me to the cesarean room while they had david dress in scrubs. the anesthesiologist gave me an epidural while the sweetest nurse held my hands. it wasn't bad (in fact, i think the iv was worse!) and the numbing immediately began to take effect.

they asked me what my favorite pandora station was and put it on to play for us. i chose ray lamontagne because it's so soothing. david came in, sat beside me and began stroking my hair.

i'll stop here for a moment to tell you more about the family centered cesarean. it opened up several options for us to discuss and choose from, all of which i believe made our experience much better. in short, it means everything is a bit more relaxed. they allowed me to keep my arms free (sometimes they strap them down for the procedure) and keep my contacts in (i hate my glasses). and most importantly, if bear and i were both healthy they would put him directly on my chest for skin to skin contact and allow him to try and nurse.

back to the story. after they checked me for numbness, they began the procedure. david was wonderful the entire time and just kept looking at me and whispering sweet things. i felt no pain at all, though i did feel a lot of tugging and pushing which i hadn't really prepared for. it was fine, but very weird feeling. it only took about 5 minutes before i heard 'i see boy parts!'. i felt a huge weight lifted off of my abdomen. they quickly wiped him off (to keep him warm) and placed him on my chest within about 45 seconds. he was beautiful.

he first gazed into david's eyes for several seconds and then mine for several more. he was quiet and very observational. though it took 30 more minutes for them to finalize the surgery (aka stitch me up), i wasn't aware of it. i was so deeply consumed with meeting my son that i didn't care about anything else. after about 5 minutes on my chest, bear began to root around. 'he wants to nurse' i exclaimed! so i positioned him lower and he immediately latched and nursed for about 20 minutes. i couldn't believe it! i had been so nervous about the whole breastfeeding thing.

after they had finished my surgery, they quickly took bear across the room to weigh him, stamp his feet and give him the standard vitamin k shot. we decided to opt out of the eye drops (since i don't have chlamydia and he wasn't going through the birth canal anyways) as well as opt out of the hepatitis b vaccine. in most cases, they only give hep b at birth to help at-risk families get protection early, though there's a very low risk of having any issue with heb b until much later in life (if ever). since the major side effects for the hep b vaccine is poor nursing and crying, we decided to wait so we could get off to the best start possible.

all of that only took about 2 minutes, when the put him back on my chest and wheeled us to recovery. we spent a few hours in recovery where he nursed again and napped a while. we were up in our room and seeing family by 2:00 that day.

in a nutshell, everything after that was downhill. we spent four days in the hospital where david learned how to swaddle bear and change his diaper (in fact, he had to teach me how when we got home!). the recovery went well, and though i wasn't eager to jump up from the bed for awhile i was able to walk up and down the steps by the time we got home. 6 weeks later and i was ready to start jogging again. the weeks to follow were wonderful. though i had to get through about 2 weeks of extremely sore nipples (tmi?), i'm  happy to say that breastfeeding has gone exceptionally well and i'm so happy we stuck with it.

bear has been the biggest blessing to our lives thus far. i'm so happy to be mama bear!

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  • Thanks for sharing this story Bonnie! It’s so nice to hear a c section story with such a positive light. So happy that everything has gone so well these first 4 months! Bear is such a lucky little guy to have you for a mama!

  • This is so beautiful! I was just revisiting our son’s birth story today – we had an unplanned c-section, and I had to be put under general anesthesia because my epidural fell out. Despite the less-than-ideal birth experience, the baby is all that matters!

  • You have a beautiful family and story! I’m so happy for you! I’m having my #2 in May so I haven’t been keeping up on my blogging, but I do love to check in and see your sweet pictures. The first year was a huge adjustment for me, the lack of sleep, breastfeeding and colic were difficult times. But I absolutely adore the toddler stage we are in now! And I can’t wait to see our #1 with #2 in just a few months. I’m glad to see you are enjoying being a mom, it’s a wonderful time of life!

  • It’s been so nice to hear you story while you were pregnant, and also the “before” part of it. Bear is such a blessing and here all of his “virtual aunties” are very happy to see him so healthy and gorgeous!

    And your 40 pounds are nowhere to be seen!! CONGRATS! I gained 40 pounds too and they are gone already. Breastfeeding is the ultimate diet.

  • You’re so positive and brave. My son took 18 hours come into the world. I wanted no intervention but what I hadn’t counted on was that I hadn’t slept in more than 32 hours. I was so tired I was fighting contractions. I finally gave in at 16 hours and got the epi. I took the best 2 hour nap in my life and woke to my son crowning! It was by far the best experience in my life. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  • What a good birth story. I am always on the look out for positive stories. Everyone seems to tell the scary things and it makes mums-to-be more nervous than they need to be. I think if you know you are going to have a c-section and get to plan it like a birth plan it can still be a positive experience.
    And you still have the chance for a vbac delivery next time. I had a great midwife that introduced herself to me and said straight away that she would not offer me any drugs because she thinks it puts the mothers on the back foot from the beginning as they go into the birthing suite thinking they can’t do it. I’m so lucky I had her because she was so calm and lovely and really made me deal with delivery so much better.
    The medical team you have around you can make or break the experience you have in any delivery.
    Much love to your family. Bear is so precious.
    Thank you for your lovely blog it makes me want to strive for a cleaner life.

  • Well done Mama Bear! Its nice to see someone have a positive experience with a CS as most blogger I read about mourn the fact they had one, and are distressed about it for the longest time, which is sad.

    I myself have had three c-sections with my four children (I had twins). The first was very much an emergency after 36 hours of labour, a distressed baby and my uterus tearing, so I had to be put under a general. But my other two were very very laid back, even though the twins decided to come at 30 weeks and I couldn’t hold them straight away.

    I’m super glad in my country that C-sections are preformed basically like how you described unless there is some emergency.For example you would never had to ask to have baby given to you to snuggle and nurse, or an arm or two to remain free.

  • This little story of yours spoke to my heart…I believe you are a wonderful mother, and I only wish I may experience these amazing feelings quite soon. Thank you for bringing happy tears to my eyes :)


  • Wow… thanks for sharing your wonderful story with us!
    Even though I am not pregnant right now I still really appreciated it. I was always quite scared of ever having a c-section, so it was very happy & relieved to read that you had such a positive experience with it! And Jogging after 6 weeks – you have my full respect :)

    All the best to you and your precious little family.

  • It’s probably good that you didn’t do the ECV, I did and it was painful. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. But your story is quite beautiful, and I’m glad you shared it!

  • Awe, great story! I adore hearing people’s birth stories…I love being pregnant and the whole birth experience (with epidural, of course, ha!)…now, the new born phase I’m not so in love with…

  • Hi Bonnie,
    I just stumbled across your blog and birth story (can’t get enough of ’em!) and just wanted to say how beautiful it was. It was so comforting to read about your family centered c-section. I have never heard of that before, but I am so glad to know about it now! I know for a lot of moms, c-section is a four letter word – but your experience seems everything but that!

    Congratulations on your little guy!

  • Congratulations!
    My first, my son, was an unplanned “emergency” c-section after a long, miserable labor and 4 hours of pushing. I so wish it would have been a family centered one! This needs to become the norm… so much nicer for the family. My second, my daughter, was a complication free unmedicated VBAC! If that’s your hope, I am wishing the same for you!