12 Women Reveal What They Actually Remember From Giving Birth

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If there is one moment in life that a woman will never forget, it’s welcoming her child into this world. Not only is childbirth marked by just about every heightened emotion possible — not to mention quite a bit of pain! — it almost always comes with surprises. That’s what makes birth stories so incredibly special. Whether you’re hoping to ease your nerves ahead of labor, looking for tips on navigating the delivery room or could simply use a story that gives you all the feels, we asked moms to share the moments they actually remember from giving birth.

How natural it felt, even though it was something I’d never done before

“The moment that stands out for me the most was when I was giving birth to my first child, my daughter. I remember pushing during labor and being completely amazed at how natural it felt, even though it was something I had never done before. How the heck did I know how to push a baby out? The body is truly amazing. It left a lasting impression on me, as I have shifted my thinking to believing that there is nothing I can't do. It wasn't until after birth that I started to silent the critic in my mind telling me that I'm fat and not good enough and changing that voice to, ‘Who cares, I pushed out two babies. I can do anything. I am a warrior!’” — Cary R., from Glen Ridge, NJ

Finding out the gender

“With my first child, I was a week past my due date, so I endured three straight days of hell while the doctors tried to get me dilated. Though there was much agony, pain, tears, and screams, I will never forget when my child was finally born and the doctor prompted my husband, ‘So Dad...a little boy or girl?’ and he smiled with the most sincere face of both admiration and shock, ‘It's our baby girl.’ Tears streaming down both of our faces, we had the most precious gift we could ever image.” — Rachael K., from Milton, Mass

Having no idea what to do next

“After 16 hours of labor with no drugs, my daughter entered into this world by C-section because my blood pressure went up. I remembered falling in love with her immediately. I was like, ‘Wow, I have no clear blueprint of what to do next.’ But I knew that my love for her was going to guide me through this journey of being her mother. The fears and the uncertainties were replaced with knowing that I might make some missteps along the way, but that I was going to love her so much that we would be just fine.” —Yvette N. Harris, Miami, FL

Everything, including the pain

“It’s hard to forget everything about giving birth! I remember vomiting, I remember that very technique that I prepared to use as non-medicinal pain relief did not work (aka my husband rubbing my arm). In between one of my contractions, I was breaking the skin on his wrist by squeezing too hard. The thing that I want to remember most from it, and I think one day I’ll get to it, is him being placed on my chest. I also remember them holding him up and asking me to announce the gender, but the umbilical cord was in the way and I was like, ‘Seriously?! Let me see it!’” —Lindsay B., from Boston, Mass

remember from giving birth


How my heart opened up

“I remember giving birth to this screaming baby girl and having her placed on top of my chest. My first thought was, ‘Will somebody please wash this baby and then give her to me?’ However, after a moment, my heart opened up and all I felt was unconditional love for this beautiful baby girl I had just had ripped from my body (with no drugs). I was in love, and 25 years later, she still takes my breath away.” —Kimberly A. Morrow, Los Angeles

How quickly my maternal instincts kicked in

“After 34 hours of induced labor, they wheeled me into the operating room because my son’s heart rate kept dropping when I was finally able to push. I was terrified! Within a matter of seconds, I heard the doctor say, ‘Oh, he’s a redhead!’ They quickly brought him over to another table in the OR and my maternal instincts kicked in. All I wanted to do was run over to see if he was OK. As soon as I heard him cry, I cried tears of joy! My son was finally here! When they finally put him on my chest in recovery, screaming his lungs out, he immediately nuzzled in and stopped crying because I knew and he knew, mommy was there and everything was going to be alright! The feeling of having your child in your arms is a feeling I cannot describe and wouldn't trade for anything in the world.” —Siobhan D., Piscataway, NJ

Hearing my little boy cry for the first time

“My doctor jokes that I experienced every scenario and type of labor. I had to walk the hospital to help with dilation, I was laboring with and without the epidural, I developed a fever during labor because there was meconium in my water, labor stalled and I received Pitocin, I pushed for three hours, went in for a C-section and we needed an extra hand to assist because my son was stuck from pushing. As I was lying on the surgery table not being able to see anything, I then heard the sweetest noise I've ever heard: my son crying for the first time! He needed to be cleaned quickly, but then as my husband put him on my chest and I saw my sweet blue-eyed boy, I felt a love and connection unlike anything I've experienced before. It was as if the world stopped.” —Julie Z., Brooklyn, NY

Feeling like I wasn’t ready

My first came three and a half weeks early. We weren’t ready, our hospital bags weren’t even packed yet. My water broke at 5 a.m. Knowing it was time to go to the hospital, we had a lot of emotions, granted we thought we still had three weeks to prepare. When we got to the hospital, the nurse was so sweet and reassuring, and six hours later I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I couldn’t thank my nurse enough for everything.” —Allison, L., Cleveland, OH

remember from giving birth


Screaming “I want my epidural!”

“When I gave birth to my first child, we made two trips in 48 hours — the first time they sent me home because I wasn’t dilated enough, and the second time was the real deal and my contractions were so strong that I could barely walk. It was about 4:30 a.m. as I sat in the back of the taxi moaning and covered in sweat, squeezing my husband’s hand harder with each wave of pain. The next thing I remember, I was finally in a room, waiting for my epidural — waiting and waiting. The nurses would stop by periodically and tell me that I was next. But 15 minutes would pass and nothing. The pain, heightened by the fear and emotions of the situation, started to take over my brain. Soon I was screaming, ‘I want my epidural!’ over and over again. Finally, the anesthesiologist came into the room. He apologized profusely, but said it wasn’t entirely his fault. It was a full moon (the night before) so they were experiencing more births than usual at the same time.” —Amanda B., New York City

Holding my daughter for the first time

“There she was... an actual individual human being. That’s who had been kicking me all those months! Though she is a second child, you just can’t explain the instant love and life purpose that perfectly blooms when that warm little precious body is up against yours. Seriously, all the aches and pains of the past 40 weeks fade away in a moment, but that’s a good thing because the whirlwind life with a newborn takes its place.” —Megan C., from Seminole, FL

Waking up and feeling something heavy

“My first child was born a few days after 9/11 and we were living in New York City, so the hospitals were packed. My husband at the time and I had to wait in these temporary rooms built in the hospital hallway. They gave all the women waiting in these rooms, about 10 of us, something to relax us in our IVs. The lady next to me kept screaming the entire time. I fell asleep and I remember waking up and feeling something heavy in my lady parts. The best way to describe it is to imagine trying to hold a small basketball inside your lady parts. I told my husband, ‘I think the baby wants to come out.’ I was still a bit sedated and no one seemed to believe me because I wasn't screaming. My husband called the nurse over and said, ‘My wife says she can feel the baby's head coming out.’ The nurse looked at him in disbelief and said, ‘If this was true, she would be screaming.’ Then she looked, and she saw the baby's head and called all personnel to bring me to the delivery room immediately. A few minutes later, I was a mom for the first time.” —Karla C., New York City

Seeing my husband cuddling our newborn son

“I had an allergic reaction to the morphine they gave me, and I was nauseous and throwing up after having a C section. And then someone back in the room thought it was a good idea to order in pizza. The smell made me throw up like crazy, so I had to hold a pillow against my stomach and couldn’t hold my son until it stopped 12 hours later. But it gave my husband the opportunity to bond and hold him, change him, and sleep with him on his chest, which he probably wouldn’t have had if I was able to hold him right away. I remember looking over and seeing my 6’7” husband squished in the windowsill couch, asleep with my son on his chest and the sun rising behind them. I won't ever forget that!” —Juliette H., from Los Angeles, California