TEDDY’S BIRTH STORY

I’ve grappled at length with whether or not to share Teddy’s birth story on the blog, not just because it’s extremely personal but because it isn’t exactly the story I thought I’d be writing. There are many, many happy parts and of course it ends with us meeting the absolute love of our lives, but it’s taken me a little while to come to terms with the birth experience I had and it would be dishonest to write this story without including those few less-than-perfect details. Ultimately I’ve concluded that writing has always helped me process how I feel and that if sharing my experience could help just one other mom feel a little less alone, I’ll be glad I shared it.

design darling teddy's birth story

onesie  //  bedding

Teddy’s birth story began eleven days before his actual birthday, when I first started having regular contractions. Apparently there’s something called prodromal labor where your body has fairly regular contractions that don’t result in any dilation — kind of like a practice run for labor where you don’t actually labor at the end of it. I wound up going to the OB-GYN four times in those ten days, convinced I was progressing only to learn each time that I was still only 1.5 centimeters dilated. I mentioned in my third trimester recap that those last couple weeks of pregnancy seemed to drag on forever, and most of that was due to painful on-and-off contractions and constantly getting my hopes up only to hear we were still no closer to meeting our baby boy. I’d been fully mentally prepared to go 41 or 42 weeks, but feeling like I was in frequent pain for no immediate purpose was a test of my patience I hadn’t anticipated.

It’s easy to gloss over those eleven days in hindsight, but I have the utmost empathy for all moms-to-be in those final weeks of pregnancy and particularly those experiencing prodromal labor. Everything I read online basically said be patient and know your baby will be here soon enough, but eleven days of contractions definitely did not feel soon enough at the time!

I feel the need to pause already and say that my birth experience ended with a happy, healthy baby boy and Will and I will forever be grateful for that fact. I know so many women, dear friends included, who have had much more difficult experiences getting and staying pregnant as well as giving birth, and Will and I feel extremely fortunate that our problems have felt very minor by comparison. But there were several times during my pregnancy (particularly with regard to hyperemesis gravidarum) where it helped me a ton to connect with other moms-to-be who were fighting the same battles, so I share both the good and the bad here with the sole goal of making other women feel less alone, and not to complain about what was ultimately the single most rewarding process of my life.

design darling birth story

bedding  //  robe  //  blanket

Moving on, let’s fast forward to Teddy’s actual birthday. I started having regular contractions at 1:30 a.m., which again wasn’t anything new at that point. I bounced on my exercise ball and took a shower to ease the pain before waking Will up around 3:30 a.m. and telling him I thought this could really be it. The pain wasn’t letting up and my contractions were getting closer and closer together, but we were both a little skeptical after so many false alarms and didn’t want to race to the hospital only to be sent home. The doctor on call said I could either put my feet up, drink some water, and see if my contractions slowed down (which I definitely did not want) or head to the hospital and get checked out for peace of mind (which I definitely did). Thankfully my hospital bag was already packed and Will threw a few things in a bag (and inexplicably paused to clip his fingernails, which is funnier in retrospect than it felt at the time…) and we were on our way!

Everything that happened when we got to the hospital is a bit of a blur. I remember learning in one of our prenatal classes that labor can last well over 24 hours for first-time moms so I was certain we still had all the time in the world, but suddenly things started progressing so quickly that I didn’t have time to process everything. According to Will, the timeline looked something like this:

5:30 a.m. Arrived in labor and delivery

6:00 a.m. Hooked up to a monitor for baby’s heartbeat and my contractions

7:00 a.m. Took a walk through the maternity ward, stopping every few feet because my contractions had gotten so painful

8:00 a.m. Doctor came in to check dilation progress, we were both praying hard because at this point I would have been a #problem if they’d told us to go home

8:05 a.m. Found out I was only 2 centimeters dilated but 100% effaced and my contractions were so regular that the doctor admitted us anyway #thankgod!

At this point I was in a good deal of pain, but I decided to wait until my mom got to the hospital to have an epidural (sort of an arbitrary goal and something I will for sure do differently next time — epidural ASAP! 🙌🏼). My mom was actually in the labor and delivery room with us when I gave birth which I know will sound crazy to some people, but it turned out that my OB-GYN was out of town the nine days leading up to my due date and I was nervous about having someone we’d never met deliver our baby, so having an extra member of my support team who also happens to be a registered nurse gave both me and Will great comfort. Getting an epidural wasn’t the most comfortable thing I’ve ever done, but the relief was an absolute godsend — so much so that Will and I were both able to close our eyes and rest for an hour!

After our little cat nap, our nurse Nichole came in and announced that I was 4 centimeters dilated. It might not sound like much, but after hearing 1.5 centimeters so many times over the previous two weeks, we were over the moon! I have to pause here and sing the praises of every nurse we came across at Greenwich Hospital and Nichole in particular. At the end of the day we spent less than two hours with the doctor who delivered our son — it was Nichole who kept checking in on us, reassuring us that I was making progress, and cheering me on right up to the moment Teddy was born. Seriously I cannot imagine how different our experience might have been without her there! Her shift ended at 6:00 p.m. and we were all praying that Teddy might arrive before she had to take off for the night. By some miracle, I went from 4 to 9 centimeters over the course of the afternoon and at 3:00 p.m., it was time to start pushing!

Even with an epidural and just over an hour of pushing, it turns out giving birth is exactly as hard as everyone says it is (who would have thought?! 😂). There were moments where I thought I couldn’t possibly keep going and that’s where having Will, my mom, and an amazing nurse in the room kept me going — because the doctor on call wound up really not being my cup of tea. I so desperately wanted someone to tell me that everything was fine, that I was doing a good job, that we’d be meeting our son any minute… and instead I had a complete stranger literally shouting “COME ON, MACKENZIE” over and over and over in a manner more suited to coaching a professional athlete than encouraging a nervous and exhausted first-time mom. His tone made me feel like I was doing something wrong, and nothing anyone else said seemed to drown out his constant barking of the same words over and over.

At some point, the doctor made the decision to give me an episiotomy. It seemed to me (and to my mom) to be a pretty textbook delivery up to that point, so I was surprised to read later on that episiotomies aren’t nearly as common nowadays as they were a few decades ago and that they’re actually not recommended except in a handful of decidedly non-textbook circumstances. I didn’t know it was happening at the time and the only explanation the doctor offered after the fact was that he’d done it because I was “losing it.” I remember lying there as he stitched me up thinking I had no idea what had just happened and feeling like I must have done something wrong to warrant that outcome. I’d gotten an episiotomy because I’d “lost it,” whatever that meant — and I had no one to blame but myself.

Teddy was born at 4:18 p.m., 7 pounds 13 ounces, 20 inches, with a full head of brown hair just like Will’s. He was healthy, happy, handsome, and more perfect than I could have ever dreamed, but truth be told it took me a solid week to stop replaying the tape of his actual birth and start soaking him up in the present moment. We spent two days in the hospital bonding with him, learning to breastfeed, visiting with family, and being given painkillers every few hours. I had no idea how much pain I’d be in once we got home and I was trying to regulate the pain on my own with Advil and Tylenol, but I begged Will on more than one occasion that first week to take me back to the hospital because the episiotomy was so painful. We even visited a different OB-GYN five days after I gave birth because I was so nervous something had gone wrong (clearly I’d gotten very little idea of what to expect from the doctor who’d actually performed the episiotomy). I felt so much better after talking to a more compassionate doctor and having a chance to ask questions about the healing process — if nothing else, it was an excellent reminder for me to advocate for myself and seek out a level of care and clarity I believe all new moms deserve. (Don’t get me started on the insanity of new moms waiting until 6 weeks postpartum to see their doctors — I have so much more to say on the subject but if you think something is wrong, you have every right to seek out the answers you deserve.)

teddy's birth story design darling

Today marks seventeen days since Teddy’s birth and I am so madly in love with him that I would relive his birth experience one million times over, but I do hope I’ll have a different experience to share when we’re ready to give him a sibling a couple years down the road. As my physical healing continues, I’ve had to do some unexpected emotional healing that I believe could have been avoided with a little more compassion and a more professional explanation from the doctor on call that day. I’ve had to remind myself that I am not to blame for a game-time medical decision, that I did not “lose it” that day but in fact gained the most beautiful and perfect new addition to our family. It was the hardest work I’ve ever done and I would do it again in a heartbeat to have Teddy here and healthy and snuggled up next to me as I try to find the words to finish this post. I’m proud of him and I’m proud of the work I did to get him here, full stop. Together he and I (and Will, and Rory) are figuring it out, one day at a time.

I hope this story resonates with any of you who had a different labor experience than you’d envisioned or at least sheds some light on what I’ve been up to these first couple weeks of Teddy’s life. I am in the happiest, sleepiest, rosiest newborn fog right now and I’m grateful to have a place to process the time it’s taken to get here. We are all slowly finding our new rhythm and while part of me wishes he could stay this little forever, I know we have so much to look forward to in the coming months and years and it will be the greatest honor of my life to watch him grow into the person he’s meant to be. I’m so thankful for your support as we embark on this new chapter and I’m excited to connect with and learn from those of you who have done this before and those who are currently navigating similar waters. I have never felt more appreciative for my real life support system and this extended online community is truly the icing on the cake!

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133 thoughts on “TEDDY’S BIRTH STORY

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  1. Thanks for sharing your intimate birth story! I too, 6 months ago, had a similar experience. I spent weeks in so much pain that it was hard for me to enjoy and focus on our newborn. I wish more people would share these stories so I would have felt less alone in the process. Do know after the first month it gets better. You have survived the worst part!

  2. He is beautiful! You are blessed. That doctor needs to know how awful his bedside manner and everything else was. I sincerely hope that at some point you send him and the hospital a letter. I know doctors have to make last minute decisions for the health of Mom and baby but his words and tone were not professional or helpful. I had an episiotomy with my oldest too and recovery was tough but the doctor told me why i needed it (and I did as he was stuck for 2 hours of pushing and had some complications from being stuck so long (head surgery at 6 months old). It was the right decision and delivered in the right way for me. Your doctor did not handle it right.

    I hope you have let go of that and just moved on to completely soaking up these magical moments. So many firsts to soak in. And although every child is a blessing and uniquely special …..absolutely nothing comes close to the time right after your first child…nothing!

  3. First, I am so happy for you. You are the most beautiful family.
    I have two small kiddos, and labor is no joke, but you certainly
    didn’t “lose it”. That’s not what any woman needs to be told in labor.
    Labor is hard. We go primal. The prefrontal cortex literally shuts down and you just
    do what you have to do in those moments. This doesn’t equate losing ANYTHING.
    I am holding you in my thoughts and I am so proud of you for sharing this story.
    Now go and snuggle that sweet baby.
    You are STUNNING.

  4. Neither of my births have gone the way I’ve envisioned, and birth trauma is a real thing. I think writing it out (and finding out you’re not alone!) is totally therapeutic, and I think it’s important to share the good AND the hard, especially so that moms-to-be can go in with both eyes open rather than be blindsided (as it sounded like you kind of were, esp. when it comes to how hard postpartum recovery can be). Here’s hoping your body gets the rest and healing that it needs!

  5. I am a physician and I am so so sorry that doctor behaved like that. You certainly never “lost it” and you should be been consulted first. Bravo for sharing and shame on him! I teach medical students and I will
    Make sure to teach them to do better than this!!

  6. Mackenzie, thank you so much for sharing this vulnerable story! I have never given birth, but I have had many experiences where I have felt ashamed or confused by doctors. I applaud you for being your own health advocate and seeking out care you deserved. I hope you can let go of this unsettling experience and know that you did some pretty incredible things to bring Teddy into this world! (PS: Your side note about Will cutting his nails made me laugh out loud!) Wishing you and your family the best.

  7. It looks like you did a perfect job! We never know how things are going to go- I had a terribly unsympathetic anesthesiologist for my first epidural, and I was so scared. People can be so callous because they have done this a million times, and they forget that this is the most important moment in our lives. But you didn’t “lose it”- you ended up with a perfect, beautiful, baby boy. And YOU DID IT ALL BY YOURSELF. YOU birthed that baby. I remember after becoming a mom 19 years ago, I realized that I am much stronger than I ever thought I was. I can do anything. And so can you. Bravo, Mackenzie! LOOK AT YOU. 😘🙌🏻💙

  8. Oh, hon! My heart breaks for you. Please know you did NOTHING wrong! During my first delivery, I also had a nurse barking at me: PUSH YOUR BABY OUT, KRIS! It was awful, and I wanted to literally kick her out of the room. My only suggestion is to consider a midwife for your next delivery. I found that experience to be much more relaxed. My midwife wasn’t in a hurry to get the baby out; she helped ease him out (without an episiotomy). I’m so proud of you for telling your story. You have an amazing baby boy. You and Will are wonderful parents. These are the things that really matter. Hugs to you!

  9. Congrats on your gorgeous boy Mackenzie!

    A friend sent me your story last night because she knows my passion for empowering families to ask for informed decision making during pregnancy and labor. That means informing women of their options and letting them consent OR REFUSE. This is also the law. A doctor never has more power than a laboring mom to make decisions, even if they think something is necessary.

    Being flexible is in birth is standard (who knew labor could be that prodromal!) but you always get to make decisions for your own body (and baby) along the way. A woman, for the rest of her life, will remember how she was make to FEEL during her labor. Not if it was medicated to not, not if it was fast or slow, or if she had needed to have an assisted delivery, but rather how was she treated.

    When people say “but you and the baby are healthy” it makes me nuts! Of course you are thrilled with that. But that should be the rock bottom of what we expect. We should expect, so much more. Information, options, kindness, respect, dignity, empowerment, etc…

    By writing this story, and changing providers in the future. You are taking back your power and teaching other woman what is acceptable (or not) in labor. So proud of you!

    Hilary

  10. First of all, congratulations! He’s beautiful and perfect and you did an amazing job. I don’t have any kids myself but I look forward to watching your motherhood journey!

    I’m so sorry and sad to hear about your doctor. I truly feel rage-y for you. Women deserve their bodily autonomy regardless of the circumstances.

    You are very strong for taking care of this babe and managing all the heavy emotions that come with it. ❤️

  11. Dear MacKenzie,
    I so wish the story about the Stork delivering babies was TRUE!
    Be kind to yourself and sleep when beautiful Teddy sleeps (the house can wait!). Nap time was taken VERY seriously in our home when the children were small, I used to take the telephone off of the hook and threaten the dog (kindly) to “please don’t bark when the UPS truck comes by” (he napped too!).
    I have a vivid memory of my hospital roommate with a heating lamp after an episiotomy, I don’t know if that is a treatment recommendation anymore (but perhaps google that?). We were living in Germany when our daughter was born and I had an emergency c-section, I remember waking up being so annoyed with my husband (a lawyer) who said when I was signing the consent forms, “don’t worry, they won’t hold up in court.” (because they were in German and I didn’t understand them). He still thinks that is funny:) But truly, it took awhile to process the whole thing because nothing we read BEFORE labor happens can truly get you ready.
    Writing about your experience was a very productive activity because I just know you reached out a helping hand to other new Moms-to-be who have those Instagram pictures of a perfectly coiffed Mom and darling baby in mind!
    With a Huge Congratulations to You, Your Husband and Whole Family – – Teddy is going to be so much fun!

  12. Congratulations on your adorable baby! After reading your story, I understand why you felt the way you did after delivery. Good grief. It made my blood pressure rise. I was lucky to have my OB/GYN deliver my son, and nobody barked at me. Even in the moment I was grateful for that, because I had no idea what I was doing and I wanted so badly — even during my labor — to be good at my job. My epidural made me throw up countless times the day I gave birth. I became so dehydrated and delirious that I asked for something to drink while I was pushing. I didn’t realize how close I was to having him. I fixated on that for weeks, thinking I looked like a selfish person who couldn’t prioritize my baby even when I was in the last few minutes of labor. So yeah. Labor is an emotionally sensitive time. You can’t even get a good look at what’s happening to your body. You’re literally in a spotlight. And seeing your baby doesn’t magically erase the feelings you have about that experience. I’m glad you sought another medical opinion. Your intuition about yourself is the same intuition that’s going to make you a perceptive mother. *Sigh* MOTHERHOOD IS A TRIP

  13. Congratulations in your handsome baby boy! I’ve not experienced labor myself, however I have been in the room during both of my nephews births and they could not have been more different. Her first was a horrible experience that involved her regular doctor. For the second, she found another health care provider and had a relaxed and easy delivery. You do have every right to do what you feel is best for you and to be given enough information to make an informed decision. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Thank you so much for sharing! I’m sorry to hear your doctor wasn’t what you’d hoped for (both in manner and in practice) and my heart goes out to you. Sending you all the good vibes as you begin to heal.

  15. Thank you for having the courage to share this story with us. I’m still single and have no children, but I have had 8 years of illness and far too many stories like yours where what happened to my body didn’t feel entirely like my choice. The way you were treated is simply unacceptable. It was disrespectful not only to you, but to your husband and to your precious son. You are the hero, the badass warrior in this story. You did the work. Don’t forget that. I’m grateful you have a strong support system and are giving yourself the grace to rest and process. You are certainly not alone. I admire you for sharing your story publicly because there are many women, specifically, who have medical ptsd. There is strength in vulnerability. Teddy is beyond precious. Sending all my love and blessings to your beautiful family as you get to know each other.

  16. I gave birth to Edward “Ward” William on June 28th. I had a horribly similar experience. Received an episiotomy out of nowhere by the on call doctor and never received an explanation (even after asking many times). The first few weeks of Ward’s precious and healthy little life are some of my darker ones. I could barely walk as we left the hospital. We were back in the hospital twice within the first few weeks from the pain. I’m really grateful you shared your story – a sweet reminder we are not alone.

  17. Hi Mackenzie,

    Congrats on your handsome, healthy boy! Such a beautiful blessing for you and your family! While I’m not a mom (yet) I’m currently in school to become a health care professional and just wanted to offer something from the multiple deliveries of moms who’ve been so generous to let an unknown student in the room to learn from this precious moment in their lives. First of all, it is SO hard to go through the last few weeks of pregnancy, labor, and then delivery, and you should absolutely feel so proud of yourself for that. I was in awe of every mom I worked with, and I hope I can have their same strength one day when hopefully having my own children. I’m so sorry that you didn’t feel supported by the physician who was there to help you through this monumental time in you and Will’s life. I know that sometimes everyone has an off day, but your story was another reminder to me to emulate the utmost compassion and respect when working with patients. Thank you so much for your vulnerability and for sharing your story – I think there will be multiple women who will find comfort and solace in your experience. Congrats again on your amazing baby boy!!

  18. I had sort of the opposite issue of you in that I wasn’t given an episiotomy when I probably should have (the option wasn’t even brought up) – I pushed for 3 hours and ended up with a 4th degree tear and major blood loss. Either way (episiotomy or tear), it’s really hard to prepare for something like that even when you’re aware it’s a remote possibility. I think I had less of a difficult time emotionally because no one told me what was going on at the time (partly because I was in and out of sleep for the last hour of pushing) – I was vaguely aware of being stitched, but that didn’t seem abnormal to me. Since it was my first baby, I had no idea it wasn’t normal to stay on the catheter or get morphine in your IV. Or to have someone checking your vital signs every 15 minutes around the clock. Looking back now I see that there were signs things were serious, so I’m grateful that the doctors and nurses didn’t let on and just let my husband and I blissfully soak up our time with the baby while they did their thing. The morning after I had my daughter, my doctor came in and explained what had happened – I think I was less vulnerable at that point so it was easier on me emotionally. I wish everyone could be given that treatment and I’m sorry the doctor in your delivery was so insensitive.

    Physically, healing from something like that is no joke. It was tough. And it’s both rare and a thing that not a lot of people talk about, so it felt a little isolating. No one I knew had experienced anything like that. Although it was a bit longer than a “normal” recovery, I ended up healing really well (on the advice of my doctor, I soaked in the bath as much as humanly possible and I think that made a huge difference) with just a bit of scarring left. It took me probably somewhere between 15-18 months to feel like I could actually attempt a vaginal birth again without fear. That was a big breakthrough for me. So just know that there are people who commiserate with you and have come out the other side of this.

  19. I’ve had three children in the last five years and i promise each one gets easier and easier. I will tell you that with my first I had a fourth degree tear along with another tragic injury (was in a wheelchair and unable to walk for a few months) from pushing too long. With my second child my NEW doctor did an episiotomy and it was SO much better then the tear as they were able to control where they cut.

    My first delivery was pretty awful but I went back again and again and with my third I was in Maine ten days postpartum and playing tennis three weeks out. So I promise there is hope for better deliveries! But I suffered some pretty bad ptsd with the first! And I have no idea why there isn’t most focus on that first awful week postpartum when you feel like you’ve been run over by a truck and are expected to take care of a newborn!

  20. Thank you for sharing your story. I had a 4th degree tear with my first due to a nuchal hand (his hand was up by his ear) when I delivered him at 35 weeks. I didn’t realize it at the time but it was a traumatic delivery for me, and took me a while to decide to get pregnant again for fear of a similar delivery. A supportive obgyn is so important to help women move on from a traumatic delivery. Good luck healing! Take your time and take care of yourself, and congratulations!

    1. I so identify with this — one of the things that made me most sad those first few days at home was realizing I’m more afraid of giving birth now than I was before I did it. Will for sure address those fears with my next OB-GYN before we try for baby #2. Thank you for reading and sharing your experience!

      1. I can totally identify with this Makenzie…and I am an actual, practicing OB GYN! My favorite thing is to help women get through the mental game that is labor and delivery…but despite what I preached I had such fear after my complicated first vaginal delivery. I had multiple failed vacuum attempts, severe tears, intrauterine infection and non-existent epidural. Even though my second dude was 5 weeks early and I was much sicker myself I had the most beautiful, redemption delivery. Be optimistic and brave..you can do it!

  21. I can’t believe that the first time I comment on a blog, it’s to “reminisce” about my episiotomy! 🙂 First, congratulations on beautiful Teddy. Second, it takes awhile to shake off having something done to you that you don’t entirely understand and aren’t 100% sure was necessary. Eighteen years ago I had a full episiotomy. I had to lie in the delivery room in stirrups for almost two hours waiting to be sewn up because there was another difficult delivery going on that took my MD out of the room. I alway suspected my episiotomy was part of that, too. Fast forward, my episiotomy “ridgeline” became irritated this last spring (I run and spin and I think my workout pants disturbed it). I was told I should have been putting coconut oil along the line early on to soften it and could still do that. Ask around about treatments you can do as you heal to ensure that soon you’ll forget the episiotomy. Good news–at the birth of my much larger second child–no episiotomy necessary! Congratulations again!

  22. Mackenzie,first of all congratulations on your beautiful new son. You have many years of joy ahead. I follow you although I do not comment frequently. I am the Bucknell grad who is old enough to be your grandmother and I am so proud of you for sharing your story. As others mentioned you have empowered other women to be prepared to speak up and ask questions. Thank you for being willing to shed light on a far too common situation. I hope you and Will consider writing a strong letter to the Hospital outlining your concerns. perhaps you also want to acknowledge the positive nursing care as well . A letter to the State Medical Board is also something to think about to raise awareness. I am the mother of a physician. ( not ob gyn). You really had a unfortunate experience which could have been avoided. Your head will eventually clear and I know many happy and sunny days are ahead. Sitz baths are very healing physically and remember. …be kind to yourself. II I know you will use your resources and do well. Give yourself and that baby a hug!

  23. Oh Mackenzie. It has been 30 years since I went through a very difficult birth with my daughter.
    It ended up with a C-section but I feel as if you told my story. You did everything right and you learned to advocate for yourself in a very meaningful way. You are and will be, a great mom. Enjoy and love him every minute! And be proud of the amazing thing you just did – gave birth to a beautiful new life.

  24. You are amazing, strong and incredible!! You did nothing wrong, You brought your beautiful boy safely into this world and you will be forever bonded to him like no other. You just enjoy all these first moments. They are so precious. This bonding time is incredible. My 11 year old son is sitting next to me as I write this, and I will never forget our time together when he was a newborn. It was the best time of my life! Lots of love and sleep to you. Be kind to yourself. You will need more comfort, good food, sleep and rest than you have ever needed before. Big hug to you, mama!
    XO

  25. I am amazed when I hear that doctors are still doing episiotomies… I remember asking my dr about it specifically and she said only about 2% of births through their office had those and only because it was medically necessary. Enjoy the newborn fog… Some days I miss it!

  26. I’m so thankful so many women are becoming more comfortable sharing their experiences. It’s so unusual that our expected birth experience actually happens, and it is difficult to come to terms with that after the fact. I didn’t have an episiotomy, but had a pretty significant tear during birth. The surgeon who came to stitch me up told me it was my fault because I didn’t know what I was doing. What?! As a first time mom, I blamed myself for my pain and discomfort following my birth because, according to the doctor, I was not experienced enough. Absolutely unbelievable!
    Congratulations on your perfect bundle of joy! Enjoy the ride mama!

    1. Ugh this makes me so angry on your behalf! Of course we didn’t know what we were doing — we’d never done it before! I hope you’re able to show yourself the same grace that doctor should have extended to you. Thank you so much for reading and sharing. xoxo

  27. I’m so sorry they gave you an episiotomy without your consent. That is so violating. I’m 18 weeks pregnant right now, and one thing that has been incredibly frustrating throughout my pregnancy has been the feeling that my body is not my own. My doctor is great, but I still sometimes feel like an interchangeable cog in a machine. I tend to be pretty go-with-the-flow because I’ve never had a baby before and these people are professionals in that area, but it can be a bit frustrating when people think they know better than you do what’s best for you. Thank you so much for sharing your story. xoxo

    1. Congratulations on your pregnancy! I’m so sorry that’s been your experience so far. Do you have time to seek out a different OB-GYN or midwife? It’s something I contemplated several times and of course now wish I’d done. You should absolutely have agency over your body — no one knows it better than you do. Sending you lots of love and best wishes for an easy pregnancy and delivery!

      1. Thanks for your kind wishes and a sincere congratulations to you and Will.
        Things are a lot better now with my doctor. I went through multiple miscarriages before this pregnancy, so I had a really tough time with anxiety in the first trimester. I felt like I was getting patted on the head a lot and treated like I was crazy when I think my concerns were perfectly rational for someone with my history. Now, I’m frustrated with the lack of support for women who choose not to breastfeed. My doctor is 100% supportive of my decision, but the hospital offers zero information about how to feed a baby if you’re not breastfeeding. I just get really frustrated by the withholding of information from pregnant women. Knowing all the options and possibilities would solve so many problems! Don’t treat me like the baby; treat me like an adult!

        1. I’m truly so sorry to hear this and completely identify with the feeling of being patted on the head. I feel like the information/misinformation out there on breastfeeding could fill an entire library. Will recently read a book called Cribsheet by Emily Oster (incidentally I didn’t love her first book Expecting Better but he was OBSESSED with this one) that takes a very data-driven approach to breastfeeding and other parenting concerns — it could be a reassuring reference that’s less biased than the information the hospital doles out. Keep on trusting your gut — no one knows your body better than you do!

  28. Congrats on a healthy baby boy and thanks for sharing your story! So many people just share the happy stuff but birth is very real and can have so many crazy twists and turns. If its any consolation, every birth is different so your second will hopefully be more of what you had planned and wanted! I delivered my second a few days before you and I was definitely anxious since my first birth ended with some complications after pushing for an hour (my daughter’s shoulder got stuck and it was the scariest few minutes of my life), but my son popped out after 3 pushes and I was SHOCKED at how much better it was than with my first. Enjoy these newborn days, they go by so fast!

    1. So appreciate you sharing this story! It’s incredibly reassuring for those of us hoping for a different process the second time around. Thank you and congratulations on your new little boy!

  29. Thanks for sharing your story Mackenzie ! I had an episiotomy during labor with my son in early August. It was also unexpected and something I was concerned about afterwards. Things have healed really well, and I feel very much back to normal in most ways in that area. Just want to give you some hope that it keeps getting better, and of course so worth it for your precious little boy ! The early days are tough and really hard to prepare for. I think it’s great for Moms to openly share their experiences.

    1. This is SO nice to hear! I’ve found so little helpful information online when it comes to episiotomies (in fact many articles start by saying “your doctor will probably avoid this at all costs” or something to that effect) so it’s incredibly reassuring to hear from someone who’s experienced it and made a full recovery (something I’ll admit has felt impossible at times since I gave birth!). Thank you for sharing your story and giving me hope. It means more to me than you know!

  30. Mackenzie, I have been reading for a long, long time, and I am so touched by your birth story! Two years ago, I had a very long, traumatic labor, as well, including a failed epidural, several drops in fetal heart rate, medications that made me vomit, 2 hours of pushing, and a 4th degree tear. I remember being so exhausted that my nurse had to wake me up in between pushes. Then, my sweet boy had trouble adjusting to life on the outside, and just couldn’t keep his body temperature high enough, so he had to go stay in a separate room with a warming table. I felt like all of it was my fault, and I really COULD NOT get past the birth experience. I thought, maybe if I’d done more stretches, or if I’d been more fit, or if I’d spent more time being vertical during my labor, etc., then it wouldn’t have taken so long, I wouldn’t have torn, and my baby wouldn’t have had such a hard time adjusting. I cried at totally random times for weeks, and it made it hard for me to bond with my baby.

    It was so easy to feel like I was doing something wrong, because all we ever see on social media is how completely over the moon new mommies are, and how incredible it is to give birth and have a newborn. All I could think about was pooping all over the place (even though my sweet nurse swore I wasn’t) and spending forever getting stitched up. I also strongly believe that internalizing these feelings contributed to postpartum depression for me, and fortunately, my husband could see I was struggling and helped me schedule an appointment with my OB. New mommies need ALL the support, and they need to know that what they are feeling is totally normal!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this story with all the moms and moms-to-be. You are doing a great job, and your family is so sweet and adorable!

    1. Oh my goodness, that sounds unbearable. I am so sorry you and your son had such a rough start and I hope you know that absolutely none of it was your fault. I hate that you’ve had to battle postpartum depression and I’m incredibly thankful your husband helped you seek out the support you deserve. Thank you so much for your kind words and sharing your story — I’m certain it will help more than one woman reading here today. xoxo

  31. Oh MacKenzie, I teared up for you! I’m so sorry you had to experience stress and confusion and pain alongside such joy. You definitely deserve the space and time process all those things and I hope you continue to find comfort. You have such a wonderful outlook, as always, and I so admire your openness.

    Teddy is adorable and I hope you are filling up on healing newborn cuddles!! Huge congrats to you and Will, over and over again!

  32. Sorry – I pushed send. I don’t know how common it is to have your regular OB deliver the baby? My OB wasn’t on call – I, too, had my son at Greenwich and the Dr. I had was dressed in her Lilly outfit straight from dinner at the club.. I think make too big of a deal about this. It’s not a scary thing Ladies!

    1. Everything is relative and no two births (or episiotomies) are the same! What’s scary to me may not be scary to you and vice versa. I’m incredibly appreciative of the many women who have shared their delivery experiences and I’m truly happy that you were pleased with yours, but we’re all entitled to our own experiences and our own feelings about those experiences.

    2. I don’t know why you think it’s appropriate or helpful to say “it’s not a scary thing ladies!” in response to something that was scary for someone? Your experience is not going to be the same as another person’s, and being dismissive of that is ridiculous. Episiotomies aren’t common medical practice and it doesn’t sound like Mackenzie participated in informed consent. Both of those things would be jarring for even the most prepared person. There’s no reason for you to be unkind to a new mom.

  33. I’m happy the baby is healthy but I thought you were going to say that you had a c-section or the baby was born with the cord around his neck or you started to hemorrhage. I think it sounds like you had an average delivery experience. You actually make it sound quite scary. I had an episiotomy twice as my children were close to 9 lbs. The recovery is not the most fun but it’s better than c-section recovery!

    1. This is simply not true. Every birth experience is different and what seems no big deal to you could be traumatic to someone else. Criticizing her personal experience is not helpful. I had both a c-section and a vaginal birth and my c section was far easier than my vaginal birth (in which I tore but did not need an episiotomy which I think would have been so much worse). Try a little compassion before jumping on the Internet to criticize a stranger.

  34. I am so sorry you went through that. You did nothing wrong, and I can not fathom a doctor who would do that procedure without your consent unless it was deemed an emergency.

    I do agree that moms are sent home from the hospital without all the info they need. We are smart. We don’t need anyone to gloss over the facts of what happened, what decisions were made, or what comes next. I was shocked by how little info about my labor was in my hospital chart – i expected to be able to see written proof of every step and every decision and that didn’t happen.

    I also went in about a week postpartum because I thought my stitches (from a tear) were infected. They were fine, but I needed the reassurance. I think postpartum visits should coincide with newborn visits – even if all they accomplish is a thumbs up because things are great.

    Anyway. I also had a traumatic birthing experience and I still haven’t completely wrapped my head around it 11 months later. Sad that so many of us have experiences like this in order to hold our sweet babies.

    Many congratulations on your sweet baby boy!

    1. 100% — a simple thumbs up when you have no idea what to expect, what’s normal, etc. would go a long way in reassuring new moms (the same way our pediatricians’ visits — three so far! — have reassured us that Teddy is doing well). I’m sorry you’re still coping with this 11 months postpartum — I too have been blown away by how many women have experienced subpar deliveries in order to bring their children into this world.

  35. I can’t imagine not losing it during labor, so hard to describe that feeling- and postpartum. The first two weeks are the hardest, by six weeks the fog starts to lift, so definitely keep writing down your memories and routines, it’s crazy how much you can forget!

  36. Your baby is absolute perfection! Congratulations a million times over. And well done telling your story. My delivery experience wasn’t what I planned or imagined, either, and I wouldn’t wish it for anyone. BUT, it resulted in my beautiful, beloved twin girls and really, nothing is better than that. Reframing the delivery experience with them as the outcome healed the trauma from that day. And your experience/story is never wasted… for sure there will be more than one mama-to-be who will read this and be empowered to advocate for herself because of your words.

  37. I am a labor and delivery nurse. I am so sorry you had that experience. Episiotomies are rarely done, and in my experience those done for any other reason then an emergent need for baby to be delivered NOW, are done because the doctors 1. Is old school, and 2. The doctor wants it over with.
    In my own practice I speak up, advocating for my patient, to the point that ( again as long as it’s not an emergency) the doctor refrains, and allows the patient to deliver without the need for an episiotomy.
    First pregnancies are unpredictable, and can be disappointing for the mom.
    Delivering a healthy robust baby is never a failure no matter the journey.
    Your next delivery will be quite different, second babies commonly come into the world MUCH quicker.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry you have grieved your experience. Welcome to the world your beautiful Teddy!

  38. Thank you for sharing!! Moms do not share this information enough! My husband and I both agreed that before you give birth all emphasis is put on the baby but nothing prepares you for how you will feel afterwards emotionally and physically (I had three tears 😖). For me I was shocked at how long it took me to start feeling “normal” again but hearing stories from my sisters and friends made me feel so much better that it is normal to not feel yourself and it takes time! Everyday gets a little better and at almost five months I can say that you do forget the pain and every smile from that little man makes it worth it!!

  39. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I am 2 months post partum and was surprised how it took me some time to process my birth emotionally (and I had a good experience, just not exactly what I was expecting). Two things became incredibly clear to me after going through labor and delivery. First, your care provider is SO important. I didn’t realize the power they have to impact one of the most profound experiences a woman will go through. And two, all women who have ever carried, delivered, and/or mothered a newborn are absolute badasses. We are in this together! Thinking of you as you recover and enjoy sweet Teddy. XO

    1. Amen to both of these! Will be doing much more research on my care provider next time and have endless compassion for all the women who have commented here with their own triumphant birth stories! xoxo

  40. Loved reading your story. I had a very long and difficult labor with my son 18 months ago and I also am so grateful it turned out the way it did in the end, but hope it goes very differently next time! You did an amazing job! I’m so sorry for that uncompassionate doctor!

  41. Thank you for making the decision to share this. I wish your experience had been better, but your strength in recovery and deepened perspective on the situation are admirable. Was the doctor part of your OBGYN practice
    – i.e. had you met him before, or on staff at the hospital? Curious to know, as my practice has you meet every doctor during your pregnancy so you will have some experience with them for labor.

    Sending good thoughts to you as you enjoy the newborn time and continue on your path of recovery. You got this!

    1. I hadn’t met him before as he was part of a different practice that covers for my doctor’s office. I do plan to switch doctors before baby #2 and ask to meet as many doctors as possible. Thank you for your kind words!

  42. I am sorry to hear about your experience with that doctor. When I had my third child, I was seeing a new doctor who was great. My water broke about 5:00 in the evening, as I was picking my older two up from daycare. I dropped them off to my parents and went to the hospital. I wasn’t really having contractions, nor was I in any pain until about 10:00 at night. At about 12:30 they gave me stadol for the pain, as I wasn’t dilated very far. However, in the next 30 minutes, I suddenly went from a 3 to a 9, and she came really quickly.. at 1:13am. My doctor was down the hall and didn’t make it in time to fully deliver her. So the doctor got mad and refused to clean up anything from the birth or really check her out (she came out blue and had to be put on oxygen, which the nurses handled) and I think only checked in on me once before I left the hospital. You sure have a precious little guy there, to snuggle. Congratulations on that beautiful little boy!

    1. I’m so sorry your birth experience was so stressful. It’s been crazy and upsetting to read so many stories of women who were disappointed with the care they received! Thank you for sharing yours. xoxo

  43. Good job, mama! It’s so hard when things turn out differently than anticipated! I have followed your story, as I also had hyperemesis and was going through my second HG pregnancy with you (my baby is 3 weeks old now and my first is 18 months) and I actually ended up on bed rest & meds for the last 6 weeks due to early labor/contractions. As you said, it’s so nice just to know you’re not alone in the craziness of it all!
    Not sure how interested you would be, but I used a hypnobabies course with both pregnancies (still chose to get an epidural because back labor sucks!) but there is a part of the course on fear clearing and it helped immensely in mentally preparing for birth number 2.

    1. I’m so sorry you had to battle hyperemesis twice! I hope you’re feeling much better now that your little one is here (I was blown away by how fast those symptoms disappeared and wish the same for you!). I will definitely look into hypnobirthing and fear clearing — that sounds amazing!

  44. Dear Mackenzie, thank you for sharing this story.
    I’m actually reading this from Finland – born and bread Finnish, yet also with American roots – and am a bit older than you. Have two sons and two very different birth stories.
    My teenager son and I had a very similar experience to yours. My first-born, perfect as can be, but with a less than easy birth, which was not made any easier for the doctors (there were two) in charge. I replayed it all in my head for YEARS! And that was probably one of the reasons we didn’t really consider having another baby with my husband for a quite some time.
    Thank goodness I eventually got pregnant with our younger one. And his birth couldn’t be more different from his brother’s. The thing is, the body remembers. Going to the maternity ward that afternoon I was so unsure of myself, but as soon as we got there, I had it. I knew exactly what my body would and could do – and I knew what I wanted. And of course, the second time can be fast. I was aware of myself and the baby much more, and my nurse was fantastic. She believed in me and believed in us as a team. It was a good birth, and the bonding afterwards was so much easier.

    What I’m trying to say is that you will be terrific parents. It all takes time, and maybe one messes a bit with the first one – because one DOES try to do so much. And that’s okay, too. Because the little one teaches you as much as you him. Wish you the very best! Enjoy it all, take it in and just be. Everything else will wait.

  45. This is so beautifully written and poignant. So well said. I am thankful you are taking the time to process all of the trauma, and I am sorry you encountered that. I love that you are using your platform to share and educate and open a dialogue with women about our experiences in that very personal and vulnerable time of our lives. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that about Will stopping to clip his toenails!! That is a long running inside joke at our house now- in the first couple weeks after my daughter was born, at some point, I heard my husband Ryan cutting his toenails – as I sat there bleary-eyes, nursing the baby once again in pjs that had probably been in for 24 hours and my only break through rather sleepless days and nights was one shower a day- I literally screamed in disbelief, “YOU’re CUTTING your TOENAILS?!” At the time is seemed a luxury right up there with booking a week at a spa. Funny now in the rear view but at the time I definitely saw red. Lots of love 💕

  46. Sooo you now have 100% experience over any male doctor! When my doctor laughed at me and told me to go home when I knew I was in labor with my 2nd, a very kind and smart nurse said you have 100% experience over that doc…stay put! Of course I was stubborn and mad and left the hospital…only to return 2 hours later and promptly give birth. No one should ever make you feel bad/guilty while trying to give birth. It’s not an exact science and no 2 births are alike – so there is never a “right” or “wrong” way to do it!

  47. Argh, I’m so sorry to read this! I too had a subpar experience during labor and even postpartum with some concerns that were not taken seriously and kind of glossed over. I realize these doctors see babies born all the time and they act like it’s nothing out of the ordinary but some are truly lacking a bedside manner. It’s such a fragile time after you give birth and it’s also quite confusing going through the healing and the emotions, I didn’t feel I received much compassion. I asked about healing and my doctor said “what did something abnormal happen” I thought well this is all new to me. It was truly a crazy time and also very difficult to deal with the postpartum pain post baby. I feel for you but I’m 2 years down the road now and while I look back on the experience with some remorse for the situation, I truly will be on the lookout for a better situation next time! I understand why more people are seeking different kinds of birth providers and settings! The horrible experience does pale in comparison to the love you feel for your little one, but it’s still there. Sending you hugs!

    1. Ugh it sounds like we had pretty similar doctors — you’re exactly right that what may feel routine to them can feel earth-shattering as a first-time mom! Compassion and empathy go a long way in any profession and medicine in particular. Wishing you better luck in round two! xoxo

  48. I don’t often comment, but I have to tell you I had the exact same experience 13 years ago, with my oldest.. Same hospital, HG at the beginning of pregnancy and then PL for two weeks before, episiotomy for no reason that I could ever figure out . In retrospect, I can’t believe I didn’t advocate more for myself. But I was exhausted and no one seemed to care. It was an awful way to start my motherhood journey. I can tell you my two subsequent pregnancies were much better!

  49. Mackenzie, thank you so much for sharing your honest story. I am so grateful to hear women’s experiences with how things ACTUALLY went, to help me better mentally prepare! I am sorry to hear about your experience with that particular doctor…certainly there was nothing you did wrong! Enjoy your handsome little bundle 🙂

  50. I am so sorry to hear that your doctor was less than supportive and I completely understand the emotional challenges of delivering differently than you expected to. I was talked into a scheduled c section because the doctor was concerned about my son’s size. I felt like a total failure for taking “the easy way” out, and my little guy ended up having to go to the NICU right away, so I didn’t get to hold him until he was almost 6 hours old. I also ended up having postpartum preeclampsia, which resulted in two more hospital stays. Our first month was pretty rocky, and my recovery and returns to the hospital interfered with breastfeeding, but I am so grateful to have a healthy baby. As each month passes, I feel a little less sad about how he came into the world, and try to focus on being present for all the fun and exciting moments each day. You are so brave for sharing this, mama! I know so many other women who didn’t have the birth they hoped for, and talking about it absolutely helps the healing process. So do baby snuggles, so enjoy those with your perfect little man! 💙

    1. I’m so sorry you had such a rough start! There is definitely no easy way out when it comes to having a baby and it sounds like you’ve had to soldier through a lot in the first few months of your son’s life. Thank you for sharing your story and encouraging me to share mine. Grateful to have moms like you reading!

  51. First, congratulations on your beautiful baby boy!

    Second, I had prodromal labor that was extremely painful. I was awake for almost 3 days straight before my daughter was born because the contractions were so intense and conveniently got worse at night. When I look back on it, I’m amazed I soldiered through it! By a stroke of luck, I had happened to discover at 38 weeks that my OB had the highest episiotomy and c-section rate at my hospital. I somehow managed to get a new midwife at a different hospital which I’m so thankful for. I’m sorry you had to go through all that trauma and pain. You did nothing wrong. It sounds like your doctor needs to be retrained in modern birthing methods.

    Lastly, it’s really good that you can talk about it. My midwife told m that talking about traumatic births helps you process them. It has certainly helped me!

    1. I’m so sorry you experienced prodromal labor (mine was worse at night too!) but grateful you were able to find a different hospital and midwife to help you have the delivery you envisioned. Thank you so much for sharing!

  52. I’m so sorry your delivery wasn’t what you imagined. Teddy is absolutely perfect. And I can tell you from my own traumatic birth experience (which was basically the opposite of what they prepared me for in ALL THE CLASSES) almost 3 years later, I don’t cringe at the thought of birth and I’d do it all over again for my perfect little boy. There are a few good books available on this subject but I’ve found talking about it — and writing — to be the best for me. Sending healing thoughts your way as you soak up all the newborn snuggles.

  53. Hello! First of all, congratulations on your little baby! He is absolutely adorable. I just had my baby about 3 months ago but it all goes by so quickly. And you all with totally figure things out. I think around the 6 week mark everything got a lot easier all of the sudden. I could distinguish her cries and we got more into a daily rhythm. Soak up all those baby cuddles! If you don’t have a Friday Mom peri bottle I highly recommend it. I had a second degree tear and that peri bottle made all the difference. It was so much nicer and easier to use than the one the hospitals give away (which aren’t made to be used upside down…). I also totally agree with you re the 6 week check up.

    Also, please consider reporting your experience to the hospital and the medical board of your state. What happened to you simply should not have. It’s as simple as that. And if it’s happened to you, it’s very likely it’s happened to hundreds of other women in your state. Medical professionals need to remember patients are vulnerable, in pain, and going through an experience for the very first time. I’ve worked in hospitals for years and these are typically taken very seriously, but most people don’t say anything.

    1. I so appreciate your encouragement about getting to the six-week mark (so refreshing to hear!) and will for sure be sharing feedback with the hospital. Thank you for reading and congratulations on your little one!

      1. To jump on this, you can also file a grievance with your health insurance company. I work in herh insurance and they also want to know if providers in their network are not doing a great job. I know this is obviously not a priority for you at the moment, but wanted to throw this out there for anyone that has an issue with a healthcare provider.

      2. Totally agree with the above comment. I am an RN and also was present at the birth of one of my daughter’s sons and was allowed to cut the cord…what happened to you should not have. Birth, although painful, should be a happy experience, not traumatic as yours seemed to have been. Our hospital takes patient comments very very seriously and every effort is made to rectify a bad situation. So sorry you had to go through such emotional bullying, the doctor was inappropriate and your needs were simply not met. Glad your beautiful son is helping to heal the hurt.

  54. Thank you for writing this as it makes me feel even more sure about my scheduled C section. No one should have to go through that!

  55. Mackenzie,
    Thank you for sharing this. I’m the one who wrote to you about my Teddy (still cooking away for a while yet) and I love reading other people’s birth stories to prepare myself but also because women just rock and their stories make me feel like we can all do anything.

    It seems really crappy and unfair that your dr was out of town for arguably the most critical point in your pregnancy. I know life happens but maybe he/she should make more of a point to introduce other physicians to their patients if they are going to be away for an extended amount of time! Also I can’t help but be angry for you about the episiotomy. I know my mom had one, but like you said they are less common nowadays. Can’t help but think if the dr was a woman maybe they wouldn’t have been so quick to do that procedure. It also makes my heart hurt that you didn’t really know what was happening at the time. I know this post is about you digesting and coming to terms with your own story and I think it is so strong, but it might also be worth a letter to the hospital about the dr. Your opinions and feelings are valid and maybe the hospital would address it so it doesn’t happen again! Anyway, congratulations on your new addition and thank you for being so candid. I hope as time moves forward your mind and body both continue to heal.

  56. Mackenzie, this is another post, like your interview with your grandmother, that show how talented you are at writing. It is, without question, a huge part if your value proposition as a blogger/influencer. Thanks for sharing this intimate portion of your life and I’m sorry you had such a rough experience. Laura Robbins is a great pelvic PT in CT should you need it. I wish you more healing physically and emotionally!

  57. I’m so sorry this happened to you… my birth too was nothing like I had imagined (I ended up having a C section) and 11 days later I still feel so sad and like I did something wrong. Thank you for sharing, I’m sure it wasn’t easy but it really made me feel less alone with what I’m feeling. And congratulations on your beautiful baby boy! He will be your smile whenever you can’t find yours.

    1. Paulina, I’m so sorry to hear you’re in a similar boat. The last sentence of your comment brought tears to my eyes! You are absolutely not alone and I hope you’re able to come to terms with and feel proud of the hard work you did to get your baby here. You deserve it! xoxo

  58. I’m so sorry about your birth experience, it sounds truly traumatic. I would suggest placing a complaint to the hospital; no doctor should be undertaking any medical procedures without your consent. I remember being so terrified while I was giving birth, it did not feel normal or straightforward to me (even though it was, if very fast!) I don’t know how I would have done it had I not had a kind yet stern midwife. From what you’ve said it sounds like your doctor was more keen to get out of there than care what you were going through. Of course none of that negates your love for Teddy (argh, isn’t that feeling just so amazing?!) but you have the right to feel sad or even angry about your birth and happy about the outcome at the same time!

  59. Thank you for sharing! We ended up having an emergency c-section. I had wanted a scheduled c-section and was talked out of it by my doctor and husband, so then the possibility of a c-section wasn’t even on my brain! I cried for a week after if anyone mentioned the surgery or my scar. Not to mention I’m a red head too and the anesthesia made me throw up and shake so violently I could only hold my baby for 15 seconds before they took her to the NICU.
    It helps to share and talk about it- I tell mommies to be to be prepared for the unexpected but it’s all worth it in the end! Your baby boy is beautiful and I’m so grateful you chose to share.

  60. Glad you shared this! My boys are both grown but I to had a similar situation and remember after having our first born in less than 15 minutes, no time for epidural! I was flooded with emotions. I delivered at Stanford Hospital with an intern doctor, it was a little crazy. I am so excited for you and your little family! All the best to you three!

  61. Thank you so much for sharing this Mackenzie! I’m so sorry you went through that, but I’m glad you shared because I think it really is helpful to hear birth stories from women after society made it taboo for so long. I am still on the fence about having a child, and the delivery is one of the reasons why. I was wondering if you had a doula? I have read it can be good to have a doula advocate for you needs during the birth process, especially if your primary doctor isn’t there. I was kind of skeptical of this at first, but now it sounds like it might have helped to have one. i also really wouldn’t want a c-section and have heard they will help prevent the doctors from doing one unless its absolutely necessary.

    Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy! No matter what the doctor said, you did an amazing job!

    1. I didn’t have a doula but I can certainly see the appeal, especially if you’re nervous about a particular outcome (which clearly I wasn’t and perhaps should have been!). I didn’t know my primary doctor would be out of town until very short notice or I would have loved to explore other options. Best of luck making the decision that’s right for you! So appreciate your kind words. xoxo

  62. Thank you for sharing your story, and huge congrats on your little one. Even though my youngest is almost 9 months, it is still SO nice / healing for me to hear about the experiences of other moms. (We are all in this motherhood thing together!) My “perfect” birth plans went out the window entirely and I ended up with two c-sections, but most importantly two equally healthy, strong, and perfect little girls, so I am one of the lucky ones. The first couple months were a blur and I don’t care how many books you read, or how many people you talk to, but caring for a newborn is HARD and for me a bit isolating (even with loads of family around.)

    I learned there is no “perfect” way to have a baby, or care for it (breast / bottle / etc..) and that we all need to be kind to ourselves, listen to our bodies and demand the care that we deserve and most importantly know that we are strong, and capable women. Also, a mother is always right! (And what is “right” for one mother may not be right for another one, so grace and understanding a little knowing smile goes a long way when I see other moms. ) Welcome to the mom club! It gets easier. Kind of… 😉

  63. Mackenzie, I am so sorry to hear your birth team (well, one member of your birth team) did not support you in the ideal way. It sounds like you did everything perfectly—and I’m glad you’re able to look back on it (even so soon) with a sense of compassion for yourself and gratitude for your adorable son.

    For what it’s worth, I am of the opinion that you are SUPPOSED to “Lose it” in labor. Pregnancy and childbirth are outside the realm of the rational and logical mind; they exist in the mysterious realm of the miraculous.

    Of course, people who have never entered such realms will see “losing it” as a negative—but that is because they cannot understand. Maybe that doctor has delivered hundreds of babies, and I’m so glad he delivered your son safely, and yet I view him as someone who has picked 10,000 strawberries but never tasted one.

    My due date is in less than a month and I am so grateful for all you share here 🙂

    1. Joyce, thank you as always for your thoughtful perspective! In spite of all the above, I’m so excited for you to get to experience this incredible miracle in less than a month! Your baby is lucky to have you as a mama. xoxo

  64. First of all, your baby is adorable!!! Congratulations! Second, I’m sorry you had such poor luck with that doctor and that you had such a challenging experience – specially after having such a rough pregnancy! My first birth experience was also not what I thought it would be because is was an induced labor, took way too long and was more painful than I expected even with an epidural. But my second was quite the oposite: very quick and I felt no pain at all. So there’s hope 🙂 As for the episiotomy, is actually quite common in my country because the doctors rather make it than risking the tearing of the skin and the complications that might result of that. Luckily I didn’t need it (I moisturized and massaged for a few weeks before following the nurses advice) but a lot of my friends have and so I hear it is very painful and uncomfortable! Fortunatly, Nature is wise and soon you will forget all the bad and focus only on the wonderfull baby you have in hands. When I was thinking of getting pregnant for the first time, I thought about the first labor and concluded that a few days of being uncomfortable and in pain are a drop in the ocean of a lifetime of joy! That being said, 2 babies are enough joy so I think I’m done :))

  65. I’m so thankful for you that Teddy is here and wonderful and healthy but holy crap Episiotomies are NO freaking joke. It’s an actual trauma and THANK GOD you got the epidural.

    I had an extremely traumatic birth with my now 8 month old in February. She had a shoulder dystocia after 4.5 hours of pushing (I should’ve had a c-section and my doctors have corroborated this), I had a 3rd degree tear and an episiotomy. I was given a continuous stitch and was told I was “good to go” on day 3. I was in so much pain a few days later I was screaming, couldn’t sit, couldn’t stand, couldn’t think of anything but the pain. I went to urgent care to have them tell me my stitches were all torn. I had to go BACK into the hospital, get put under, and re-stitched/ have a complete wound revision. (In retrospect.. I should’ve gotten individual stitches but for whatever reason the doctor didn’t want to take the time to do that.) I THEN two weeks later was still in pain and had to be put under for another wound revision. Obviously while this is all going on I’m trying to learn how to be a mom, and care for my newborn, not get addicted to pain meds, rest, VISIT with family who all don’t realize and just want to meet the baby. ALAS I’ve made it out the other side but not without the constant wondering of “will I ever want to have another child????” I feel for you Mama. All my love and hope that your healing has picked up and you’re starting to feel a little more “normal” I promise it does come with time.

    1. Oh my gosh Lindsay, my heart is aching for you! This is exactly what I was afraid of and I hate that you had to go through any of it. I so identify with not being able to sit, stand, visit, etc. without a ton of pain — all you want is to spend time with your baby and loved ones and really what you need is to be in bed most of the day. I’m so glad you’ve made it to the other side and can’t tell you how much I appreciate hearing from someone who’s been there, done that, and lived to tell the tale. Thank you so much for sharing!

  66. Oh my gosh…..I’m so sorry about the unfeeling doctor.. He should have been saying “you go Mackenzie, keep it up….great job.”. I also had an episiotomy and my daughter was delivered with forceps. The difference for me was they kept me in the hospital for 5 days and I had a sitz bath. Here is a brief medical description: a sitz bath is a warm, shallow bath that cleanses the perineum, which is the space between the rectum and the vulva or scrotum. A sitz bath can also provide relief from pain or itching in the genital area.
    In other words, heaven on earth. I used to tell the nurse if you can’t find me, look in the bathroom where I’ll be enjoying a nice warm sitz bath
    Thank you for sharing pictures of your beautiful son. Job well done! You have been blessed! 🙂

  67. I’m so glad you delivered a healthy baby, but I can’t believe that doctor. It may be worth submitting a complaint to the hospital. “Losing it” is not a medical diagnosis nor an indication for the procedure. It’s totally up to you but I would bet this doctor has caused problems for other women too. Regardless, congrats again on the beautiful new baby!!

  68. I just had to chime in and say I totally agree with you on the 6 week thing, makes ZERO sense! There is so much going on and wayyy too much you can read about, a simple check up could be such a relief! I had some issues giving birth and because of it they scheduled me for a 2 week follow up and I was so happy, but then when I went they didn’t do a physical exam! I should have spoken up but was also nervous for anyone to get near there 😉 I kept telling myself, ok if I dont feel better in 2 days I’ll go, if I dont feel better after the weekend I’ll go. It would have been nice to get checked and have them say “yes the pain is normal, no your insides are not falling out” kidding. kind of.

    So sorry you had an unfortunate experience with the doctor, but thank you for sharing your real raw story!

    1. Completely identify with your train of thought! I kept thinking, I’ll feel better in 24 hours, I’ll feel better in 24 hours, but having a doctor tell me everything looked good vs. trying to guess myself when I’d be able to focus on anything besides being in pain made a world of difference. Thanks so much for reading and weighing in!

  69. I think you addressed this very difficult time well. Thank you for sharing. That was absolutely nothing to do with you and entirely down to the doctor being an ass. I’m sorry you had that experience. You’re allowed to feel grief for the birth experience that you ‘lost’, regardless of how much you love the final outcome!

  70. Oh Mackenzie, I relate so much to this your post almost brought me to tears. I have a 6 week old and nothing about the birth experience was what I expected and actually ended up being pretty traumatic, involving several blood transfusions and an emergency c section. Like you, it took me a good week or two to emotionally process everything once we were home (the hormones don’t help!), so thank you for sharing your story so honestly. Of course I’d do it all again to get our perfect, healthy girl here. I’m so sorry to hear about your experience with the doctor, it’s so hard not to take all of that personally in those early days. Thank goodness for nurses who are angels and great moms and husbands :). Teddy is so perfect and is blessed with an amazing family!

  71. I’m glad you & Teddy are happy, healthy & whole and I hope that someone gives your post to that doctor to read!! I’m sure sharing your story will be helpful to someone.