The Day My Choice Was Taken

I knew going into the delivery of my twins that anything could happen, but I had tried my best to be prepared and to be educated on all of my choices.

I had read everything about delivering (double) breech twins, and I had even switched doctors at 36 weeks in order to do so. But at 10 centimeters dilated and ready to push, our little girl twin decided to kick one foot out. Just one…

The only way that my doctor would not attempt a vaginal delivery.

It was in that moment that my choice was taken away from me. I knew that I could say no and just try to push them out, but at what cost? Was my choice a higher priority than her safety and the safety or her twin brother who would come after her? No, it was not.

I quickly realized that my birthing choices, that I had written out and planned for the past 9 months, were gone. It was the end of that road, and the start of another that I was traveling down blindly.

Travel concept. Cracked asphalt and curve road.Road lines

In that moment, I no longer had a choice. I felt like I had been hit with a ton of bricks.

I battle with this daily. I have flashbacks of that moment in time when the doctor looked at me and told me I had to be prepped for an emergency c-section. I still have nightmares of every moment of that day.

I sat there helpless, being wheeled away while my husband had to stay behind. No one was there to hold my hand or to tell me it was okay. I only had my thoughts, my babies, and the prayers in my head crying out to God to get me and the babies out of this safely.

They did. We have two healthy, beautiful babies now. Nothing major went wrong during the surgery, and I am here spending every day with my four amazing children. Something that I more grateful for than I could ever express.


But, I also spend every one of those thinking about and mourning the loss of my choice, trying to repair myself emotionally, and praying that I feel like myself again physically at some point.

I battle daily with this day, trying to tell myself that I didn’t have a choice, that there was nothing I could do to prevent the choice from being taken from me. The anxiety that I now combat with every waking moment of my life is a constant reminder of all this.

It’s easy to fake a smile when people congratulate me on our twins. I am thankful for their congratulations, but the reminder of that day always comes with pain.

When I hear anyone talk about the fact that people get c-sections every day, and women should just be thankful that they have healthy children, it crushes me. They don’t understand that for some, for those that had no choice especially, this seemingly simple “procedure” has a debilitating effect.

babies birth

It’s true that birth is birth, no matter how it happens. But, that doesn’t take away the fact that it is hard. It doesn’t devalue the choices that every women should have in her birth experience. It does not diminish the pain, both physically and emotionally, that you have to recover from as a woman.

I write this not to get sympathy, but to create a voice in the fact that it is okay to grieve in these situations. Thankfully, you are not grieving a loss of life, but there is still a loss that took place.

This day, the day that my choice was taken away, has left me forever changed.

joanna at motherhood and merlot


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  1. Thanks for being vulnerable. I am thankful you have two beautiful healthy babies, but I pray you find peace at some point. That your body will heal to feel normal, even though it will never be the same. Many do not understand the magic of birth and what a HUGE impact it has on not only our bodies, but our souls as well. <3
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  2. This is such a hard topic to talk about. You are an amazing woman for sharing your story and helping other women feel safe and valued in sharing theirs as well. C-Sections seem to be such a “normal” part of the world, I think we sometimes forget that they are an entirely different than natural, and while having a healthy baby is of utmost importance, a woman’s body takes a LOT longer to heal or ever return to some sense of normalcy. Hang in there, and keep being the amazing woman you are <3
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  3. Your eloquence in being able to express this is amazing.

    Like you, with my pregnancies I had a plan in mind fully knowing the possibility that I could have an unplanned c-section. I’m so happy that it didn’t but having choices taken away is hard. People always think that you should just settle for being grateful for he health of the babes and that you can’t have the feeling of being robbed simultaneously as having the feelings of joy but you can.

    Very much so like people survive and recover from rape with help, you will too.

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  4. It is a loss. I’m so sorry you had to experience that. I had a birth plan too and it was all thrown out. It’s true, my daughter and my safety was most important and I was thankful, but very disappointed. It takes time to heal physically and emotionally. We’re allowed to grieve.

  5. I can’t even imagine. I know quite a few people that have PTSD and major post-partum issues because the choice was taken from them.
    So far I’ve gotten lucky 3 times, but there were a few close calls where the “threat” was mentioned. Yes, it felt like a threat and I prayed and talked God. Then I spoke with my husband and begged and told him it would be the LAST option.
    I’m sorry for your experience, but I’m glad you get to write about it and help others.

  6. I know how important your birth plan was.. and how you fought through that entire pregnancy to try and make it happen. I am so sorry that it didn’t go the way you hoped, and it is totally ok for you to feel the way you feel about it! I am sure lots of other moms feel the similar about having to have a c-section.. and this is so awesome that you are sharing this!
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  7. Thank you, Joanna, for sharing this story with us. I have a similar story and I know the exact place you are speaking of. I too am still dealing with the loss of choice in my birth and how quickly it feels it all happened. None of what I wanted happened and we jokingly say that my son had his own plan in how he wanted to come into this world, but it still doesn’t negate the fact that I did not have the birth experience I wanted and how it makes me feel like less than because of it.
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  8. I read a piece by someone else on this very topic, and you are in mourning. It’s natural and normal and fine to feel this. Let the grief wash over you….and then eventually each day it will fade. I understand post partum anxiety, I had it for 8 long months, I thought I was going crazy….but this too shall pass. I’m sorry you went through this, know that you may not have had anyone to hold your hand during delivery, but you do now. So lean on them.
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  9. Thank you so much for sharing this!!! I had two c-sections and it was totally unexpected with my first. I had always been so scared of natural child birth but worked so hard to prepare for it once I became pregnant. When the day came I was finally looking forward to it, excited, READY! Only to have that all taken away. It was so hard, so scary and a big let down. I’ll never know what it feels like to deliver my baby. I’ll always mourn that loss. For a long time I felt like less of a mom because of it. I don’t think I’ve ever said that out loud! My second baby was a planned c-section. It made me sad and it was still super scary but at least I knew it was coming this second time around. Thanks for voicing this so beautifully! It’s okay to feel the way you feel and no one should tell you different. Your post will help so many mommas out there πŸ™‚
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  10. Joanna, thanks for sharing this. It’s definitely been a fear of mine that through every pregnancy I’ve pushed to that back, ignored, and got through with a choice. I imagine I would be feeling the exact same way you do though had I been in that situation. I’m sorry, and at the same time, I am still so happy that you have two beautiful little twins with you now.
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  11. I can so totally relate to this. My birth plan with my daughter was “Open to anything, I just don’t want a c-section.” I’m a carrier for a blood disorder that makes any surgery more complicated. When my daughter was posterior and not descending into the birth canal a couple days before 42 weeks, they told me there was a chance for a cxn. After labouring through the night, my daughter’s heart rate decelerated and didn’t come back up. I was both relieved and scared that she was coming. It wasn’t until I was home, I experienced so many of the feelings you very beautifully described. I grieved. I didn’t grieve the fact that my daughter was healthy. That was separate and I was so grateful for her. I grieved the loss of a normal birth. I wondered if I was less of a woman. I wondered if I ever could have delivered her… I understand the “right answer” is gratitude for a safe and healthy delivery. But it isn’t as easy as that.
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