A Cesarean is Not a Failure: One Woman’s Story

I recently wrote a blog post on how to have a positive experience with a cesarean birth. While we discuss the high rates of c-sections and unnecessary interventions, it’s easy to forget that sometimes they are necessary and when used in those necessary circumstances, they are a blessing. Nicolle shares her two cesarean births, what led to them and has a very important message…A Cesarean is Not a Failure. ~Mrs. BWF

Two Cesarean Births

When I was 19, I became pregnant with my first child after 2 months of TTC. We were thrilled. I read up in a lot of books, on the Internet, advice from friends who had children on what do when the day came to have my baby. I wanted a water birth at home. My in-laws didn’t like the idea and ended up talking me into seeing an OB they were friends with.

I was “due” December 22, 2008 with a baby girl. After that date, she wanted to see me every day, a few days passed and one day to another my placenta was full of calcifications and rated a grade 3 placenta. She said she couldn’t induce me, because I was not dilated. She wanted to do the c-section that day, which was Christmas Day. I asked to come back the next day to see. She said if I wasn’t there the next day she washed her hands of all responsibility.

I wanted to cry. I never had even cracked open the c-section part of the books, because this just doesn’t happen to someone like ME! I prayed for contractions to start, to dilate just a pinch so that she could induce me. I felt like I was getting pushed into this. I thought a few days more and this baby will come.

I called a few of my birth fanatic friends who told me I needed to do the c-section. I was just too afraid to trust my instincts and go against the doctor, so I went in December 26th for my c-section. I told myself on the way to the clinic that I could do this. I prayed for strength and peace. At the clinic I called my dad (I’m in Mexico, he’s in the U.S.). He prayed for me and then I proceeded to the operating room.

God gave me so much peace. The visions I had earlier were of me running away before they could give me the epidural. I was calm and let them do their job. When the anesthesia wore off, I have never been in so much pain in my life. I was unsure of what I had submitted myself to, why did I do this, it hurts so much. I looked at my daughter and didn’t know her, I didn’t love her. It was a stranger and she remained a stranger for 3 weeks. We were discharged the following day, in a lot of pain.

I never thought there was anything wrong in having a c-section. I was proud I did something I was afraid of for my daughter. That is, until a midwife friend of ours told me there was something wrong with me and that I needed prayer and deliverance from my c-section. Then I started to read.

I found ICAN, Unnescesarean, Birth Without Fear, and other pages that started to mold my thinking, but then I also started looking down on people who had c-sections, and I started looking down on myself. My next baby would be a VBAC, and if it wasn’t a VBAC, I wasn’t a woman.

When my daughter was 15 months old, we got pregnant again after 8 months of TTC. We were thrilled. I searched and searched until I found a midwife here in my town who was American like me…it  was the best thing ever! She was everything I wanted. She asked for my health history that my last OB didn’t even know. She asked about our family life and felt like a friend.

But then I started to feel deep inside me, in my spirit that God was saying, “No, this isn’t the lady you want”. I felt something was wrong. She messed around in a lot of spiritual stuff. When she came to my house she laughed at our Christian music streaming from IHOP in Kansas City. Something screamed NO! My husband felt it too, but left it to my choice. I prayed to see signs and I saw them, but I decided to keep going my way.

Nothing was going to break my chance of a VBAC. If I went for an OB here, it was a sure c-section as the rate here is 85% in private hospitals. I did not want to give birth in the government hospitals as I have friends that have gone there and lost babies and had bad experiences. God kept whispering “no” and I kept yelling “yes”.

Then, one day I started having blurring vision and I was horribly swollen. I went down to the a government clinic, because my midwife was not answering. I also had high blood pressure. They wanted me down at the government hospital ASAP. I was scared. I was alone as my husband was at church doing worship. Someone called him and everyone rushed down for me. Luckily a doctor who goes to the church was there, so she took care of me in my home.

I started getting steroid shots, because I was only 36 weeks and they wanted the baby out very soon. I finally understood. This was NOT punishment. This was God talking a little louder…this lady is not the midwife for you. Still I didnt listen. I started seeing an OB and my midwife never really called to see how I was .I was still contemplating birthing with her at home, but she started developing an attitude and one day she called me.

“Are you HBACing with me or can I go be a doula to another mom?” I was heart broken and called back later to tell her I would keep going with the OB.

My blood pressure was very high and I felt very sick and we decided a c-section was the best route for me this time. I told him my fears and he made it the best c-section he could. God was there in the room with us and it made for an amazing birthing experience.

I had Malachi at 8:00 AM and was home 24 hours later with little pain and a great bonding experience with Malachi and with my daughter. I was even able to breastfeed this time around, because the bonding was there this time. I give God the glory for all of this.

c-section birth story

cesarean birth story

c-section birth story

Remember, just because you had a c-section it does not make you any less of a woman, a bad mom or anything anyone else would like to tell you. Sometimes we have to listen to God and sometimes it’s not what we want to do, but what we need to do it. I promise you He will be there with you every step of the way, even during the scariest times! He is faithful.


  • Miranda

    Thank you for sharing this story. I think I really needed to read it, because I tried so hard for a HBAC for my second and last baby which resulted in a transfer and another cesarean. I’ve been battling with myself almost daily over my grief of not achieving my beautiful, vaginal, home water birth that I wanted, when in reality I did everything I possibly could. I don’t know what went wrong or why I couldn’t do it, but I think I just wasn’t meant to. I only ever wanted two children (although I wonder if I’d had the homebirth experience I wanted, I might have wanted more… not sure), and after my last experience I know I won’t be having any more. I think I’m happy with that. Eventually I’ll not feel grief about the beautiful vaginal birth I felt was so close, yet so far.

  • Bethany Eyerman

    Thank you so much for posting this. I’m so glad that you are able to see the grace and love of God through your experience!

  • Alisa

    Thank you for sharing this. I had two c-sections related to high blood pressure and kidney/liver problems. It is very difficult to let go of the homebirth dream. I admire your strength and thank you for telling your story for other mothers.

  • Andrea

    Congratulations! What a beautiful son. I am so glad you were taken care of and your complications didn’t cause any harm.

    I know where you are coming from. You do everything as intellectually as possible and make the best kinds of decisions, but when it comes down to it, it is often a feeling or a pull that takes us down the path we need to go.

    I also firmly believe that God cares about the details of our lives and teaches us, blesses us, takes care of us through them. I am so glad you can see that so soon after the birth and can rejoice in that.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Atina

    Thank you so much for this post. Sometimes things do go wrong and warrant a c-section, and you are in no way a failure as a mother. The positive of a c-section is a healthy baby. I think a healthy baby is the goal of every mother to be. Fantastic post, and thank you (greatly) Mrs. BWF for posting this!

  • seili

    I agree! I felt peace about my c-sections; I even felt that it was the right thing to do and that I was being led in that direction. I was thankful for my doctor, too, who prayed before the c-section. I hope more people will begin to realize that although we should strive for people to be educated about c-sections, it does not always equal a terrible, sad birth. Whether it was an emergency or a carefully chosen or preemptive c-section, it can be meaningful and healthy.

  • Telula

    Such an encouraging story! God knows you better than you know yourself, and He nudged you in the right direction. Isn’t He an amazing Creator!?! Congrats and Blessings on your new little bundle.

  • Anne

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I also had an unplanned c-section for my first baby, and felt like a failure. It was painful and also affected my ability to bond with my baby at first. It made me scared to get pregnant again. But God worked with my heart and has given me the peace to know that no matter what happens next time, He is with me and will give me everything I need. We also listen to the IHOP-KC webstream, by the way…my little boy loves it! :o)

  • Flora

    Thank you so much for sharing your positive RCS story. I also had a c-section with my first son due to him turning breech during what I considered a failed induction. My blood pressure was high (no pre-e) and we decided to induce. I felt like a total failure and am still dealing with the trauma I went through during the induction. I am 30 wks preg with my 2nd son due in Dec and again my BP is high (I have dealt for years with hypertension) I just started on medication to try to control it. My new doctor is very pro-VBAC but I feel like I am on the road to a RCS. It is wonderful to know that if that is the route we must take the real important thing is baby gets here safe and we are both healthy. Thanks again for sharing.

  • Michelle

    Thank you for sharing your story, it takes a lot of courage to share something so vulnerable. I agree with Krista, it is a rite of passage, your rite, and it is beautiful how you trusted. Much love to you and your family.

  • Cassidy

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I will only ever birth via c-section due to a very bad blood clotting disorder I am afflicted with. VBAC and HBAC are not options for me…Well, they are options…I’m just not willing to risk a dead baby and a dead momma. Not all c-sections are unnecessary. There is a reason they exist. I’m a huge advocate of homebirth with all my friends. For me…c-sections are not failures. They are God’s way of allowing me children. When done for the right reasons, they will never be failures in my mind.

  • Elizabeth

    Being happy in your choices is a great thing, and aside from that, what’s done is done. I still don’t think there is any harm in us trying our best to avoid C-sections, but if we have to get them, of course we are not lesser women. Congrats to every mother. Listening to intuition, or God, includes listening to who to trust and what procedures to get with. You have to be right with it in your soul. If it doesn’t set right with you, it will haunt you. Just do what is best for you and your baby and don’t judge others. That’s the best you can do. That’s why I try to spread good information and encourage women, rather than make fun of them and tear them down.

  • Isadora

    This story is amazing! I haven’t had a c-section, but I was hoping for a home birth and ended up transferring to a hospital … it wasn’t at all the birth that I was hoping for but I agree that it was what needed to happen. Still, it is hard to let go of the home birth dream.

  • Ashley

    You trusted your heart and God and delivered two beautiful healthy babies not out of fear mongering or putting undue trust in someone. You were educated and okay with taking a different route for the true safety of your babies. That is incredibly commendable and you are not a failure!! Beautiful story!!!!

  • Joy

    Congratulations! I think that for many people they think God is punishing them or “doing” bad things that would require them to have a cesarean. What we forget is that there is a battle raging around us and that we live in a sinful world where bad things happen to people. Requiring medical assistance or surgery doesn’t make Him a bad God or us bad people!!! I’m so glad you listened to His voice when He was telling you something was wrong so your child would be born alive and well!

    PS IHOP’s music is AMAZING! I’m lucky to live in KC and get to hear their music.

  • Cathy J

    Twenty nine years ago, I gave birth for the first time, my son was breech at that time, and two weeks over due. Scared to death, and told my doc wouldn’t be there for the birth, but a very very good OB/GYN would be there I went to the hospital for the first time, and surgery for the first time.
    Five years later, I did it again, this son was right one time, and we had a beautiful delivery with the help of a birth educator and another OB/GYN. My husband was present at both births of his sons. And I got to hold them immediately after they were both born. I agree, although maybe not what you plan for a birth, a c-section, if it is necessary to have a healthy outcome…that is a healthy baby and mother….then it’s the way to give birth and that is what we all ask for a pray for during those 9 months of thinking, dreaming, preparing and planning for — healthy mom and baby.
    There is no correct and proper way to give birth, just as there is no “less than” way to give birth, the only way to give birth is to have a good outcome of healthy baby and mom.

  • Andie

    This kinda helped me… in August I had to have a c-section because of high blood pressure and early signs of toxemia. My OB tried to induce (I was no where near dilated when I went in.. so I’m now thinking that was part of the problem) and because my blood pressure kept going up they did a c-section. Since then I’ve felt like a failure because I was told while they were getting my daughter out that my hips were far too narrow to have a baby vaginally. I think I might try to see if I can have a VBAC next time, but I’m almost kind of okay with having another c-section. I just feel like I didn’t do anything, you know?

  • Lisa

    Thanks for sharing your story. It was wonderful to read.

    I wanted to give you some information that you may already have, but also to your readers and some of the moms who have commented here.

    Toxemia and high-blood pressure are in many cases preventable through diet, particularly a high protein intake. This is something I did not know with my first birth but did for my second, and it made such a huge difference in my pregnancy and birth experience. Eating the correct amount of protein took a lot of effort and keeping track, but it was well worth the effort!

    For more information on this, you can read about the Brewer Diet (part of the Bradley Method), which has been proven to greatly reduce or even eliminate toxemia, PROM, preterm babies, and other problems.


    This information is so important, yet so under-discussed. Just want to spread the word.

    Best wishes,

  • Katharine

    What a beautiful, moving story! I am so happy that your experience was so full of the presence of God and that you were able to bond with your little man. It is a good reminder to be thankful for the medical community and their ability to help rather than hinder.

  • Shannon

    Thank you for sharing this. I also have had two c-sections, and I have felt like I was missing out on something. God has a reason for everything, and I am so thankful we live in a time that sections are safe. Now to enjoy my children. 🙂

  • Raquel

    I was also told during my first pregnancy that the placenta was calcified and Grade 3. I experienced daily threats of stillbirth and agreed to be induced (although I put them off until after the holidays, everybody gets induced before Christmas). After my daughter was born, I demanded that the placenta be sent to the lab for analysis. The results came back TOTALLY NORMAL. I didn’t thank God, or anyone. I was too pissed off and refused prenatal care with my 2 subsequent children. Note that I went on to have a magnificent homebirth with a totally hands-off midwife. No ultrasounds, no threats, only the most wonderful treatment – that restored my faith in humanity, and in my ability to give birth the way God/nature intended.

  • Rachael

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m not in the USA but in New Zealand where the rate of c-sections is much lower. In NZ there is a push for natural births and the majority of caesars are only used when necessary. For my #1, my dream was for a water birth at one of the local birthing units (not home, but like home and nothing like hospital) but he got stuck and I ended up being transferred to hospital which resulted in an emergency c-section. I felt like a failure and did a lot of grieving in the weeks that followed and even now (#1 was born Dec 09) I still have pangs of regret but for the most part I’m fine. I’m now 31 weeks pregnant with #2 and was initially hoping for a VBAC but with the spina bifida occulta I knew I had and in this pregnancy I’ve also had an MRI which shows other spinal issues, I am now wanting an elective c-section. I am a Christian too and I know that God can speak through dreams. Within 10 days I had 3 dreams all with the same feelings, themes and outcomes – where I was anxious etc when trying for a VBAC but I felt absolute peace when I was wheeled into surgery. Once I made my mind up that I would most likely choose a c-section in consultation with an obstetrician, I haven’t had those dreams since. So my plan now is to have a second c-section – its the thing I feel the most peaceful about! I think I will be a lot more emotionally prepared for it and I have worked through the feelings of feeling like a failure as a woman. Reading this post and some of the comments definitely encourages me that I know my body and can trust that I can hear from God about what is best even though a repeat caesar isn’t what I initially envisaged but its what I now am sure is best for me. Thanks 🙂

  • Debbie

    Thank you for sharing this story! I take great comfort in it. I am 32 weeks along in my first pregnancy and am praying for a natural, uncomplicated birth. I’ve had very serious anxiety about a c-section, but I know that whatever happens will be alright and I have to trust the Almighty to guide me in doing the right thing for my baby.

  • Kathleen Neely

    My first child was born at 5 weeks overdue by c section. It was terribly painful and I was freaked out because I was barely 17 years old. I never got pregnant again for many years, I had one miscarriage and then in 1994 at the age of 31 I had another baby. This time I was really at ease and not afraid at all. I went with my best friend ( as I was single, and Christian) to natural birth classes, it was all good until they showed a movie of a natural birth,( crotch shots and all) I became very upset and started shaking all over from fear, fear of a natural birth?? I was very frightened. Then next day I met with my Midwife and started crying and shaking all over again, She assured me that It was my body and my decision on how I wanted to give birth. I really didnt have anyone close to me except for my aging parents. I just decided to have another c section. It was like breathing a sigh of relief, my fear vanished and I had a calm birth experience. My son was sent to the NICU for a week, and that was a bummer, but he is 18 years old now and a very lovely person. He has excellent Morals and values and Im exceptionally blessed to have him.No matter which route he took!! ( he was also Frank breech and I would have had a C section anyway) God helps us do what we have to do!!

  • Jayme

    I am about to have my 3rd cesarean, but it’s only my first planned. The other two were after I did everything in my power to have a natural birth.. I felt so condemned! I felt like such a failure! I am really proud of you for sharing. I have come very far in my beliefs in so many areas of motherhood / birth / labor/ medical intervention. But I have to tell you the best part of reading your story, was finding out you are associated with IHOP-KC. My husband and I just moved out of state from there after living there for several years. So I just had to say that I think it’s so neat I found this blog and all you had to say about your experience and how God is using it for me tonight. Thank you so much again!

  • Gina

    Thank you so much for sharing your birth story! I still have to be a scheduled csection because my daughter was a “failed” delivery and emergency csection. I am scheduled in 4 weeks and i’m very nervous- especially because my first labor and delivery was traumatizing! I know God is always with me and He will help the baby and I through. God bless you and your babies!

  • Colleen

    I started to type this on Facebook but I don’t want another lecture from my family (“well imagine the alternative!”) so I’m going to put it here instead. (it turned into a bit of a novel. So sorry!)

    I have struggled with my cesarean for years. I do not feel like less of a woman, but I felt intensely cheated by the experience. I had WANTED to experience birth ever since I was a little girl–I was reading technical stuff about pregnancies long before it was even a possibility on the horizon–and to suddenly one day just have my baby cut out of me, well…it was wrong. I never went into labor but it was not an emergency (complete breech + “low” fluid), and by all accounts I had a really good experience (they lowered the drape so I could see her birth, they let my husband call her sex, it was very calm and there was laughter when he wrongly thought she was a boy)…but I went home feeling like I had missed out on something. I had a baby and had no idea what a contraction felt right; that didn’t “click” in my head. It is probably a huge contributing factor that I don’t entirely believe it was necessary but was not given a choice. I found out later that my amniotic fluid–which was SO LOW they had to do a cesarean right then at 36 weeks 6 days and couldn’t even attempt an ECV–is listed as “moderate” on my operative report. Moderate. Screw that.

    Nobody has ever said anything critical to me about having a cesarean. It wouldn’t matter because I am my own worst critic. But my beautiful little cesarean baby is now 5 and I have a 2-year-old VBAC baby and I’ve been on quite a journey these last 5 years. VBAC was never a question for ME (it wasn’t about proving I was a woman, it was about experiencing something I’d wanted to do for as long as I could remember, and the circumstances just didn’t really warrant a repeat cesarean) but I’ve talked to/counseled/helped friends who either had a difficult choice or who had no choice at all (one, in particular, had a classical incision with her severely premature son and is currently preparing for her second ERCS. I helped her plan a beautifully healing planned cesarean and have learned so much thanks to her). I wish we could remove the shame and blame from cesareans and work on education so that women know they have options. I’ve told my friends I don’t CARE if they choose a repeat cesarean, as long as they’ve read up on both options. If they know the risks and benefits of each (yes…there are benefits to each), and choose a cesarean, then I support them. It’s about what the mother wants. It’s the women who aren’t given a choice but who *could* have one that make me sad. It’s about what the mother wants…not what the doctor wants. (whew, that was a marathon, sorry!)

  • Larry

    C section is nothing to be ashamed of. My wife had to have one with our first and we choose it for the second, to minimize complications. The first was due to our baby’s heart rate dropping dangerously low. The second we choose as there are a ton of complications that can happen if you try naturally after cesarean. Nothing was wrong with the second we went home after a couple days in hospital. There is never anything wrong with cesarean don’t let anyone tell you different. I love my wife that she choose the babies over keeping a scar free belly.

    • Mrs. BWF

      You are right, a woman should never feel ashamed for having a cesarean. However, there are not a ton of complications that can happen in having a VBAC. Your wife is wonderful, strong, and created life and that is something she should always be proud of!

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