Saturday, April 12, 2014

100% Family History of Cesarean

The maternal side of my family has quite the history of cesarean births.  Eleven to be exact.    My grandmother had three, my mother had three, my aunt had two, my older sister had two, and I have had one.  That is every single birth that we have had on the maternal side of my family for the past 80 years.  100%.  We blow the often discussed 1 in 3 babies are born by surgical birth out of the water.    And many of them started naturally - without induction.     The reasons for the cesareans in my family are varied  but several of them involved premature rupture of membranes, pitocin because of that, and then a ceserean due to failure to progress.   I realized this when I was pregnant with my son 5 years ago and I hoped maybe I could break the family tradition of births by cesarean.  I was really hoping to have a natural birth and knew that avoiding an induction I would decrease my chances of a cesarean birth.   Given my family history - I guess I shouldn't be too surprised how things turned out.  Premature rupture of membranes early in labor, pitocin, and then eventual c-section.   However, upon the c-section it was realized my son was brow presentation which is why I wasn't able to deliver him vaginally.

Thankfully I didn't dwell on the family history.  I actually didn't even think about it again until after the recent birth of my daughter.  While pregnant with her I worked my butt off to have a VBAC and just focused on doing what I could do to make that happen.  I found good providers, an excellent doula, I saw a chiropractor to encourage a good presentation during labor, I ate well, I trained for her birth using Hypnobabies, I didn't sit in a recliner because I was afraid I would mess up her presentation, and on and on.  And you know what?  I did it.  I had an amazing, empowering, all natural VBAC.   The first visitors to the hospital were two of my aunts and they reminded me of the fact that I was literally the first person in our family to have a vaginal birth.  The first!  That is crazy when you really think about it!  But at least now our family percentage of cesarean births went from 100% to 92%.  :)

So ladies -if you have a long (or complete, 100%) history of cesarean births in your family and you hope to have a different type of birth -  please have some hope.  Though we may be similar genetically or physically to our family members - how they birth does not mean that is how we will.  Though it might seem genetics or family history would suggest otherwise - my body knew exactly what to do.   It absolutely roared to life bringing my daughter into the world and my body did it. The entire thing - no premature rupture of membranes, no pitocin needed to "speed things along", and no failure to progress.  Ina May was right of course - my body really is not a lemon.  And you know what?  Neither is yours. 


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I needed to read this!