This Mom Went Through 100 Hours of Labor & Then Her 'Worst Fears' Came True

Pregnant woman

Although it's important for moms-to-be to prepare for labor by coming up with a birth plan, nobody knows more than the doctors, nurses, doulas, and midwives who deliver newborns that babies come how and when they want, no matter what you planned on. That doesn't make a change in delivery any easier for a mom who is determined to labor naturally or birth vaginally. After a year of processing the physical and emotional pain that came with her baby girl's traumatic entrance into the world, Cynthia Benson opened up about what moms go through when birth plans derail due to factors completely out of their control and all of their worst fears come true during childbirth. 


After throwing up almost every day throughout her entire pregnancy, Cynthia was looking forward to going into labor with her first baby after an emotional journey with IVF. As an experienced doula, Cynthia was determined to have a natural, vaginal delivery. However, after six days of laboring, that simply wasn't an option for baby Penny. "I still find myself struggling with how our little peanut had to be brought earthside," Cynthia wrote on Instagram. "Having to live each and every one of your worst fears really does something to your soul. As a birth doula I've seen firsthand just how unpredictable the birthing process can be but never in my wildest dreams did I envision my baby having to be cut out of my womb."

Pregnant mom

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Before the six days of grueling labor began, Cynthia believed without a doubt that her body and baby knew what to do when it was time. "However I ended up feeling cheated and ashamed and not really a part of her delivery. I feel like I lived all my worst fears bringing her into this world," she wrote. "I feel like I failed and that I was wrong to believe so deeply about something."

Cynthia's water broke on day three and she continued laboring from home for another two days while steadily enduring contractions every four to five minutes. Yet, despite all of her efforts, she still wasn't dilating. Still hoping for the vaginal birth she prayed for, Cynthia transferred to a center that would try to work within her plan for as long as safely possible. "Hopes were still high. Was examined again still with no change. So we added the dreaded Pitocin," she wrote. "Labored for 24 hours while wildly contracting, squatting and walking back and forth in the halls." 

Mom in labor

When that didn't help, she decided to have an epidural to see if it would help her body to relax and dilate the remaining centimeters needed to bring Penny earthside. "For whatever reason the epidural didn't work. So I labored in tears on my back in a bed with a failed epidural," she wrote. "After fours hours the midwife called the curtains and said I needed to have a C-section. I didn't even cry."

Cynthia was able to have a gentle C-section with immediate skin-to-skin contact, but that didn't ease the emotional pain she was feeling. "Once they rolled me into the operating room, tears streamed down my face," she wrote.

As she watched in amazement as they pulled Penny from her belly, it became clear why a vaginal birth just could never happen, no matter how desperately she wanted. "It was then we realized why our tiny human had such a hard time finding her way. Her umbilical cord was incredibly short and wouldn't allow her to drop against my cervix," she wrote. "Our sweet baby waited patiently while we figured it out and exhausted every option. She was so strong and endured everything with me."

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Pregnant woman

Now that Penny's first birthday is rapidly approaching, Cynthia is ready to admit that this happy date is also the anniversary of a completely traumatic and heartbreaking experience. "I can understand why people rarely hear about birth trauma," she wrote. "While labor and delivery stories are shared regularly, traumatic stories are often difficult to talk about, and difficult to hear." 

A year later, Cynthia's scar still hurts and her body hasn't gone back to feeling the same, but that isn't the most painful aspect of what she's been dealing with. "My heart aches that my memories of meeting my little girl are slim. I remember drifting in and out of consciousness and trying to force myself to keep my eyes open to see her," she wrote. "I don't remember her. I don't remember hearing her cry. Nothing about her arrival resembled anything close to how I was hoping to meet this person that had been living inside me." 

Newborn and mom

As people see beautiful baby Penny thriving, few understand where Cynthia is coming from, and she wants to put an end to being shamed for her feelings. "Yes she was perfectly healthy and as everyone says, 'that's all that should matter,' but that shouldn't be the case. As grateful as I am, my heart broke that day and I shouldn't be made to feel worse for feeling that way," she wrote. "Everyone's story is different. This is just a part of mine."

Cynthia has felt isolated in her emotions and is sharing her raw truth in order to help other women coping with traumatic births know that they aren't alone for feeling this way. "I wonder how so many women have their babies cut out of their belly and seem perfectly fine. Makes me feel as though something is wrong with me," she wrote. "I don't understand why I cared so deeply. Sadly having a traumatic birth is exhausting. Having to go into detail about how it happened is exhausting. Having to explain your triggers is exhausting. It's all exhausting, and I hope by posting this that you'll understand, be patient, and give me and other mamas the time and space needed to make it through these emotions." 

But despite the physical and emotional trauma, Penny is here and she is worth it. "After over 100 hours of labor ... never have I fought so hard for anything like I have to become a mother," she added.  

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