How to Write a Birth Scene – WRITE THAT SCENE

How to Write a Birth Scene

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Part One

    new-born-615751_640

  1. What happens before labor? Steadily lead up to the intense scene.
  2. »A.Start by clarifying your goal. What reaction, precisely, do you want from your intended audience, and what precisely needs to be portrayed, minute-by-minute?

I.      It could start right after an interesting dialogue that was stopped midsentence because the pregnant woman suddenly felt the baby was coming .

 
II.    If the characters are in the hospital, when she is just 10cm and ready to start pushing its usually just mom, dad, and a nurse. When the baby starts to come down they call the doctor and possibly another nurse.
 
Example 1:  

 “I love you, why can’t you see that?” Maya said to her ex-boyfriend. They were on the edge of breaking up. Even with the baby on the way, these two once love birds could not put aside their difference. It could have been because they were young. Or maybe they weren’t compatible. Whatever the case may be, I had advised them to get their act together, or else.

“Loving me isn’t good enough!” Mark yelled. “It just isn’t good enough anymore. I’m sorry….”

Maya held onto her stomach.  “I think she’s coming,” she sounded hysterical.

“No way.” Mark couldn’t believe it; the baby wasn’t due for another two months.

“Let’s go, ahhhhh!” Maya barely could stand the pain.

**

    »B.Decide whether it’s necessary to your story for the birthing scene to be graphic and drawn out? Is your primary objective to portray the childbirth SCENE or what led up to it or what resulted from it?

I.   If the birthing scene itself isn’t necessary, start with the beginning of the scene (place it at the end of the chapter) — perhaps the first twinges of labor or a phone call placed to have someone take her to the hospital, and then start your next chapter with something along the lines of . . .

“They said you don’t remember the pain of giving birth. They lied. I remember plenty. But they also said that it would all be worth it. And as I look in the eyes of my brand new baby, I can tell you that they were right. On that count, at least.”
 
Example 2:  (No Example Added- but you can add one for your scene)

**

Part Two

  1. Let’s focus on the past real quick, shall we?
  2. »A.This part is for the writers who are writing about the past; before the 21st century. If you are writing about birth in the present or future then skip to part three.

I.     During the 1900’s, general anesthesia was common in hospitals. All most women remember is going to the hospital, then waking up and being told whether the baby was a boy or girl. Separation of mothers and babies was considered necessary for sterility, so babies were kept in a nursery until they were sent home. Of course, parents could view them through the glass.

II.     Babies were not held much because it was considered “spoiling”. Almost all babies were bottle fed and mothers were given pills to dry up their milk. Fortunately, those pills have since been taken off the market for causing breast cancer, among other problems.

III.    About the general anesthesia during childbirth – the death rate for both mothers and babies was much higher because of this. Today’s anesthetics are much safer, yet even now generals are only used during pregnancy/childbirth in dire emergencies.

IV.      Because women were often unconscious during birth, forceps were commonly used. They were inserted all the way as soon as the woman had dilated 10 cm and the baby was pulled out since the mother couldn’t push. In addition, C-sections were almost universal.
 
Example 3:  (No Example Added- but you can add one for your scene)

**

Part Three

  1. Pain and Giving birth.
  2. »A.Don’t wuss out and step away from the real human stuff, because that’s where your best moments come from in fiction.

I.    (For writers who’ve already had the baby born) Have a realistic perception on this moment. For example, if there’s goo and red stuff all over a baby, the baby’s mom won’t go “gross!” That’s not realistic; instead she will be kissing the baby’s head saying that she loves him/her.

II.     The contractions feel like a sharp shooting pain through the stomach. There’s plenty of screaming and panting involved. Gas & air or epidurals help calm the contractions down. The water can break before or after contractions start. It feels like a big gush of water.

III.       Have the doctors tell the mother it’s time to push. Pushing can go on for a while. Fifty-five minutes to an hour is the common time. The pain is like pushing a watermelon through a hole the size of a lemon; it’s like being ripped in half.
 
Example 4: 

The couple arrived to the hospital in time. They were lucky; only one room was available. Room 44. No one has used the room in over a year. It was sterile, clean and it was for Maya.

Laying in the bed, the pain was clear on her face. She screamed every five seconds, hoping the baby would shoot out easily. Though, that wasn’t the case. Maya tried breathing excuses like the midwife suggested, yet, still, the contractions continued to wear her down.

Then, it came. A gush of water came out of her body, causing Maya, and her boyfriend Mark, to shriek.

“It’s time,” the doctor said. “Maya, I’m going to need you to push.”

And she listened… She pushed and pushed long and hard. An hour past before they made progress. The head finally showed. To Maya, the pain resembled a watermelon being pushed through a hole the size of a lemon. Good thing she wasn’t having twins.

    »B.IF you want the scene to have complications…

I.     Have complications to add drama. Maybe have the doctors come in and informed the woman that she has to have her baby delivered via vacuum because he/she is stuck. (It is a suction cap inserted inside the woman and it gets pumped up and grabs hold of the babies’ head and then they pull baby out).

II.     For further complications, and dramatization you can have the doctors say it’s a 50/50 chance of the baby surviving. Better yet, it’s a 50/50 chance of the baby or mother surviving, meaning one of them MIGHT to die.
 
Example 5:  

“This isn’t good,” Doctor Johnor exclaimed. He widened his eyes. “It looks like something isn’t right with her. It’s the umbilical cord… it’s wrapped around her neck.”

“Shit!” Mark grabbed his chest and started heaving.

“What does that mean?!” Maya yelled through her pushing and pain.

“If we don’t get the baby out now, she is going to die.”

“Do a C-section,” the midwife said.

“It’s too late. By the time I get ready to that the baby will be dead. I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to rely on faith alone for this.”

A doctor, someone who studied science and only believed in the facts, had to now rely on what he could not predict, on something that science alone could not solve. This, my friend, was also part of the prophecy.

**

Part Four

  1. All about the Mother.
  2. »A.Let the reader get to know the mother, on an intimate level while the birth takes place.

I.      Describe how heavy she is or how heavy she feels. Does she feel sick, like throwing up?

II.      You wouldn’t want to just write:  ‘she then pushed the baby out of her v-v.’ Instead, say how the sweat was dripping down her face and use some really strong similes and metaphors to get you (and the readers,) through the scene.

III.     Write about how the imagination of the woman is running wild, while she struggles to push. Mention (from her viewpoint) how the others are hovering around her, some are indifferent, some are looking sick themselves.
 
IV.     Understand that the woman character is pretty out of it; she might even faint because she seen lots of blood.
 
Example 6:  

“I got to throw up,” Maya said. Her body was hot, heavy and in pain. She felt like this nightmare would never end.

It was as if she had gone to hell and back, though the fire continued to burn. Yes, this moment was supposed to be sweet and memorable, except it wasn’t. Maya wanted all the agonizing to end. Right here. Right now.

Everyone hovered around her like wild animals. She needed space. She needed air. “Get this thing out of me!” she shouted, squeezing her boyfriend’s hand tightly. If the baby didn’t leave her body soon, she might faint.

**

Part Five

  1. Don’t forget the people in the room around the mother.
  2. »A. There is loads of fuss around whether the woman is in a hospital or somewhere else.

I.    People will be panicking or going insane if they don’t know what to do. On the other hand, if they do know what to do there will be endless questions to ask the mother. For instance, “do u want water?” “do want to change your position to a comfy one?” “is there too many people in the room?”

 
II.      You are the writer, so you decide who’s more important to be there. It would be easier for three of the most important characters be there. For family, there only may be two-three people in the room. This might include the mom and husband. The midwife might have each of them hold up one of the woman’s legs while the woman lies on her back.

III.      Then when the woman has dilated enough (10cm) they ask the women to push. It’s quite a tiring process; don’t forget to make the character feel drowsy. All they will hear is the midwife chanting “You can do it! Push!!” Both midwife and nurse would encourage the lady and sometimes say “pause to take a breath”.
 
Example 7:  

“Do you need water,” Mark chanted.

“Is the position comfy enough for you?” the midwife asked for the eightieth time.

“Keep pushing, you’re almost there,” the doctor reminded her.

No one was really happened. All Maya really wanted was for them to…. “Shut up!!” she screamed, still heaving and pushing steadily. Then, entering the room was Maya’s mother. She went by the bed and held up on of her daughter’s legs to help.

“Mom,” Maya said, relieved. If anyone could brighten her day it would be her mom.

“It’s fine, all you need to do is keep breathing.”

“They said he has a—”

Maya’s mother shushed her. “I already know,” she said. “Just keep pushing. Don’t quit now or all of this was for nothing.”

They went on like this for a while. Breathing, chanting, and pushing. It was a repeated cycle. Maya, feeling drowsy, was beginning to pass out. Who knew how long she had left to continue on like this.

**

Part Six

  1. 99% of the time you can write a great birth scene focusing on the emotions more than the pain and blood.
  2. »A.Having a baby isn’t just a straight emotion. Giving birth will have its ups and downs.

I.        It could be very exciting that she is giving birth to life. Her potential daughter or son that she held in her belly for nine months. You can give her an inner monologue right here.

II.    It could be fearful that the baby wouldn’t be healthy. Maybe she knows the she’s been drinking for the first two months of pregnancy and is scared that the baby might be deformed or unhealthy.

III.     It could be anticipation and impatient, while waiting for baby to come out. Maybe the baby is going to change the future and is the chosen one of a prophecy or future king of a country.

IV.     The character could be angry when doctors tell her to push and she doesn’t want to because it hurts. If this is the case you can have the character complain about how she is never having a baby again or her husband did this to her… and, of course, all that angry can change when she sees her baby for the first time.

V.        Overall, however, there will be a rush the excitement and happiness. Not only for the woman, but show it through the other characters, as well. What do they say to the woman, what are their expressions?
 
Example 8:  

Please come out baby girl, Maya thought to herself, I held you warm in me long enough. It’s time to come out and see the world.

Why did I have to smoke in the first two months of my pregnancy? This is all my fault. Not only is she premature but she has a cord choking her. If she doesn’t make it, I vow to end my own life. I don’t deserve to live without her.

**

Part Seven

  1. Child Removed.
  2. »A. The ways to remove a child from its mother’s womb are only two: vaginal birth and C-sections.

I.       The former cannot really be tinkered with much as a process. The baby kind of takes two step forward and one step back, if that makes sense, so you can see the top of the head, then it disappears, then it comes back, etc. The midwife eases the head and shoulders out at the end, then in a big push the whole rest of the baby comes.

 
II.      C-section has to be a cut in the mother’s abdomen large enough to extract a baby from. Meaning there will be stitches on your character as a reminder.
 
III.     When the baby is out, they put the baby on the mother’s chest right away and clamp of the cord at both ends. (The dad usually has the option to cut it if he’s there).

 
IV.    After a minute or two the nurse looks over the baby, carries it to the table and performs the Apgar test. Then they clean the baby up. After the baby is cleaned they stitch up the woman while dad often holds the baby.
 
V.    Next they attempt the first breastfeed. Afterwards, the nurse comes and takes baby’s footprints and a picture for the hospital to have on record. Finally, the character/woman is moved to the recovery room with the baby.
 
Example 9:  

The baby didn’t seem like she wanted to come out, anyway. Her head popped back into her mother’s body so quickly. Because of the blood being slippery, the doctor couldn’t get a good grip on the head. It wasn’t until the next long push that got the job done. Half the baby exited Maya’s body and the doctor was able to pull out the rest of the body.

Immediately after the doctor cut the cord from around her neck, the crying baby girl was put on Maya’s chest. Mark stood close, smiling.

“I love you,” Maya said, looking deep into the baby’s eyes. And with that, the baby went silent. No more crying, just silent.

 A minute based by and the mid-wife took the baby to clean her up and do a few tests. Meanwhile, Maya and Mark rekindled their relationship as the mother took pictures.

By the time they tried breastfeeding the baby in the recovery room, Mark had proposed to Maya. He had no ring but he had his word, and this time he promised to stay true to it. This, my friend, was the next part of the prophecy.

**

Part Eight

  1. The Baby.
  2. »A.The next thing the woman knows, she has her little bundle of joy is in her arms.

I.   Before you show the baby you might want to take notice to the fact the baby is crying loudly… unless he/she is drinking milk or sleeping soundly.

II.      During this bonding time with the mother, the woman may give birth to the placenta, but I don’t think you have to add that in your story.
 
III.     Is the baby responding well to the mother, sucking her finger, snuggling close to her, sleep quietly? Or is the baby crying like no tomorrow?

IV.     Describe how the baby looks. You can go on google images and look for cute babies to give you inspiration. Is h/she chubby? How much did they weigh? Who do they resemble? The mother or father?
 
Example 10:  

 Maya and her daughter were like one. They had a perfect bond, something that is rare on this planet or Trion. The only planet that remained after the universe self-destructed. Earth, Mars, Venus, and even the moon were gone. Trion was said to be decomposing, but it was this prophecy, the prophecy of Maya’s baby that would change that and allow the Eronal race to continue living.

The baby resembled everything holy in the land of Trion. Lavender colored skin, large green eyes, golden hair with black streaks, and a silver tongue… literally. This baby was considered beautiful on the planet of Trion. You earthlings will know nothing about it. I guess it doesn’t matter really; your species doesn’t exist anymore.

    »B.Wrap up the scene with a calming tone.

I.    If this is the end of your story, then give the reader hope for the future of this new family. Maybe the mother promises to do everything she can to make the life of the baby perfect. Maybe the husband, who was never around decides to work on the marriage.
 
II.    And of course, what is the baby’s name? Give the name meaning because just like the life of this baby, a name is very important.
 
Example 11: 

“Maya,” the doctor said, coming in with a huge grin. “What have you decided to name the future queen of Trion?”

Maya sat up in her bed and nodded, saying, “Mark and I have decided on the name Tiyona which means both light and darkness, because those two things will restore our land. We need both for a balance.”

“Agreed, that is what caused the universe to self-destruct before.”

Maya’s mother spoke up. “Tell me, what makes my grandchild so special in Trion.”

“Mother, don’t be silly,” Maya began.

“No. Your mother has a very intriguing question that I’ll be happy to address.” The doctor cleared his throat. “You see, Tiyona is the only baby born alive. It has been fifteen years since a baby has been conceived and has been twenty since a baby has been born. Have you forgotten?”

Maya’s mother had tears coming out of her eyes. “I have. I forgot. Why… why have I forgot?”

“Oh, there’s another thing I must inform you about. Part of the prophecy is that, instead of food, the baby feeds off memory of the elderly in order to live. Yours is the first to go, sorry.”

“No!!!!” Maya’s mother yelled. She will forget this moment forever; she will forget who she is and that he grandchild is even hers. Maya covered Tiyona’s eyes; she seemed unphased. The prophecy has only begun. What more could this demon child… I mean chosen one possess of power. Moreover, how will she obtain it?

**



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2 Commentsto
How to Write a Birth Scene

  1. krystal says:

    I’m not sure if you intended it be like this but one minute I”m telling the reader it’s a girl and the next I’m telling them that there are complications in the story. This is making it hard and making me having to go back to put scenes in the right order.

    • Your Admin says:

      Hello krystal, you can skip over that part. It was added for writers who intentionally wanted problems in this scene in order to create drama. However, if you have any suggestions for the order of the scene we will be happy to take it into consideration. Keep in mind, a scene can written many ways. For example, the reader learns the baby is a girl but seconds later there is complications with the birth.

      In the meantime, we will look over the scene and adjust wherever possible.

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