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Shannon went into the labor naturally, the day she was scheduled to be induced.  It was snowy outside and her husband timed contractions starting at 3 minutes, two minutes, then 90 seconds apart as they enjoyed walks, brunch, lunch, and labored at their favorite restaurant over dinner.

They texted family and friends with updates and were  giddy and nervous thinking thier baby boy may come within a few hours…they didn’t plan on a few days.

Shannon took a peaceful nap in her room and packed last minute items in her hospital bags. She still remembers laying in her quiet bedroom and feeling close and cozy. She went to the hospital and ended up having to stay the night because it had been several hours since her water broke.

Shannon labored through the night and as the sun rose the next morning. She and her husband walked around the hospital, outside, and even home because they lived ten minutes from the hospital. Shannon’s Sister, close friend Gina, and Mom came in the afternoon. They took turns rubbing her back, walking with her, using essential oils, and breathing along with her. They said she was doing an amazing job, they added more Beyonce to her playlists,  laughed and cried with her.  Shannon labored on.

Shannon used Nitros gas, the robozo, a birthing ball. She dialated, but not enough. She used Citotec to get contractions started, then pitosin, then the jacuzzi tub and finally, after 36 hours, an epidural.

Marcos, was as close to an extension of Shannon as a partner could be. He held her hand as she squeezed  through painful contractions. He counted with her, he made her a hospital mix with “Cheery Music.” He got into the tub and held Shannon  as she moaned in pain.  He whispered over and over that he loved her and was so proud of her  from the first hour and as they approached the end of the second day of labor. His words kept Shannon breathing and hopeful.

At hour 43, Shannon’s midwife held her hand, while Marcos held the other. She explained that while Shannon’s contractions were strong the baby was showing signs of distress in the birth canal. Shannon was not dilating and the risk of infection and further complications was increasing. The thing Shannon wanted to avoid was a c-section and the next step, for a safe delivery, was a c-section.

The surgeon sat by Shannon’s bed and with a bright and peppy voice listed off the risks that could occur during surgery, including the removal of my uterus or death and if yes, Shannon was giving permission to go ahead…umm…Sure!?

dad in OR cesarean

Shannon remembers having to take off her gold earrings and give them to her Sister and also  that she was SO thirsty. As they wheeled Shannon into the operating room she was shaking from the medication and Marcos held her shoulders still. She kept licking her lips and just wanting for it to be over so I could drink a gatorade. They pinched Shannon and asked ” Do you feel this Shannon?” She did. They said “Really?” Then they pinched further down… “Does this feel the same as this?” The two pinches felt the same. She felt the blade of the knife and it hurt. Eventually it numbed but it was more than a little pressure. Shannon just kept staring up at Marcos.  Then, quiet.

The baby was having trouble breathing. They were about to take him to the NICU and then… he took a big breath of air and was breathing on his own. No NICU. Shannon heard laughter and saw relief in Marcos’s eyes as he brought Shannon their baby.

Fitz had so much hair and they laid his body haphazardly on my chest while they finished stitching Shannon up. Shannon was shaking and when they laid him on her chest he calmed.  His feet and lips looked exactly like Marcos. Shannon remembers the Dr. saying “Shannon, we are just putting your uterus back.” She didn’t love this real time update but was relieved it was over and the baby was actually here. Shannon had started to doubt he would ever come out.

The sweetest moment was when they were wheeling Shannon and the baby into recovery. Shannon explains that her baby was nestled beside her and he confidently grabbed her fingers, like “we got this.”In that moment Shannon felt like they did it together, and they were fine. Shannon felt proud for bringing him here, and strong, and a huge cloud of relief surrounded her new little family. 

In the recovery room Marcos held the baby while Shannon rested. They had both been up over 46 hours at that point. Shannon heard grunting and movement like Marcos was trying to wrestle a bull or something. The baby wanted to nurse and was trying to latch onto Marcos. Marcos brought the baby over and his little body melted onto Shannon. He was instantly quiet. Marcos kept saying “Wow, that is what you were looking for. ”  He was looking for his Mama… and he found her.

cesarean skin to skin

Shannon McQueen Bio

Shannon works at a Startup in San Francisco and lives in Berkeley California with her husband Marcos and three year old son. Connect with her on Instagram @babywokemama and

Motif Medical

Part II of this episode was sponsored by Motif Medical. Motif designs insurance-eligible products for busy moms. With a focus on innovation and empowerment, Motif’s line of breast pumps and maternity compression garments are sophisticated, yet discreet, and made to support mothers as they navigate new motherhood. Discover why moms are reporting more milk in less time with the Luna breast pump, and see how you can get it covered through insurance at

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