Birth Story From Christine Koh

June 16, 2010

I enjoyed a blissfully smooth pregnancy. I was spared morning sickness and food aversions, gained a healthful but modest amount of weight, and swam laps up until two days before I delivered. Everything was going wonderfully to plan; I couldn’t help but assume that my delivery would follow suit.

Which of course meant that it didn’t.

Two weeks before my due date I was dilated 1 cm and 80% effaced and thought, “Awesome, I’m packing my bags tonight!” However, I remained at 1 cm at 39, then 40, then 41 weeks, and then my doctor scheduled me to be induced at 42 weeks, on a Tuesday. I was eager for our baby to arrive but also glad that my lateness meant we could attend a dear friend’s wedding, as well as a Labor Day BBQ with friends the Sunday before my induction. That Sunday, the weather was gorgeous and the food was delicious.

Regretfully, however, the macaroni salad I ate apparently was foul.

I felt fine throughout the BBQ, but as we headed home I started to feel unwell: cold, shivery, and sick to my stomach. We got home and I crawled into bed. But when I reclined, I didn’t feel the typical gymnastics that our baby was prone to when I was prone. I changed positions a couple of times and waited for movement. I spoke to my belly. I took a few deep breaths. No response. I started to panic.

We called the hospital and they suggested we come in. We sped off and by about midnight I was admitted, had thrown up (food poisoning), was administered aspirin in a decidedly un-elegant manner (mystery fever), and remained dilated at 1 cm.
Having purged the foul macaroni salad, I was feeling a bit better, but our baby was not. The doctors told me the baby was in distress and I needed to have an emergency C-section. I begged to be induced, still hoping to deliver naturally, but the doctors said there was no time. Had I been 6-7 cm along they might have considered it, but I still was at 1 measly cm.

The numbness I proceeded to feel was due to more than the anesthesia. I was shocked, sad, and devastated. I was so looking forward to laboring in a tub and feeling the natural course of delivery. Now I literally felt nothing — not a single contraction (though apparently I was having mild ones), and once the C-section was underway, I felt merely like a body being done to. I laid on the operating table and cried — not from pain, but from disappointment.

Then when it was over, Jon brought the baby to me. It was a girl; she was swaddled and completely calm, not making a peep. She had my little nose and my husband’s big eyes, through which she peered from side to side, taking everything in. And finally, I felt something: gratitude, amazement, love. Things may not have gone to plan, but ultimately the end result was the same and that was what truly mattered. Laurel had arrived — healthy, beautiful, and ready to rock our worlds. And she’s done just that; every day since has been a gift, with plenty of experiences felt.

From Christine of Boston Mamas and Posh Peacock.


Note from Design Mom: throughout my pregnancy, I posted advice, memories and stories about pregnancy, childbirth, adoption and growing a family on Wednesdays. My baby has now arrived — here’s her birth story and her newborn photos — but the series has been so popular that I’m continuing it indefinitely. You can find all the stories in this series by clicking here. Have a story you’d like to share? I’d love to read it. You can send it to me at

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Denise Laborde June 16, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Woohoo! The series lives!

Been following the series since day one and am due in a few weeks. Who knows? Maybe I’ll send you my birth story.


2 Fairly Odd Mother June 16, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Oh, seeing Christine kissing baby Laurel made my day! I too had an emergency c-section (though I did have labor–Christine, my labor sounds like your food poisoning!), and it was overwhelming to have a birth plan thrown so quickly out the window. My poor doula went from coaching me through pushing to watching the doctors lift my firstborn out of me! It’s a tough switch, though I agree that the moment that baby is handed over? Perfection.


3 Marissa June 16, 2010 at 2:51 pm

I, too, had two emergency csections. No matter what I tried (ran several miles daily,yoga, eating SUPER healthy, hypnobirthing classes and a midwife…now if that isn’t overachieving and setting yourself up for csections I don’t know what is! :P) my body just wasn’t made to have babies. And so….I too cried for what could have been. I’ve cried for the fact I’ll never know what it’s like to have a contraction (don’t laugh ladies…) or to feel immense pride at having literally brought something into the world. However, I also recognize that I would have been dead several times if it were not for modern medicine and quick thinking doctors. And thanks to them, I wake up every morning to two smiling faces. And that, I will be eternally grateful.


4 Boston Mamas June 16, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Gabby, thank you for sharing my story here. It’s truly an honor. xoxox


5 Lauren June 17, 2010 at 10:05 am

Such a lovely story of how things don’t always go as planned, but can still turn out beautifully. I really love the birth stories posts you do, can’t get enough of them and I always end up crying (happy tears) at my desk! Maybe I should wait until I get home to read your blog, haha.


6 Susan (5 Minutes for Mom) June 17, 2010 at 12:35 pm

How frustrating to get food poisoning when you’re supposed to deliver your baby. Ugh.

Christine, I’m so relieved that although your birth didn’t go as planned, that you were still given your happy ending.


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