When I was pregnant with my first child, I read A LOT of books. What to Expect While Your Expecting, Your Pregnancy Week by Week, Guide to Breastfeeding etc. I also attended a Birth Prep Class, a Breastfeeding Class and A Happiest Baby on the Block Class. This might seem like a lot of preparation to some but I had no idea want to expect and wanted to feel as prepared as possible. Though I know you can never fully prepare for becoming a parent, reading and attending these classes made me feel a little less anxious. I am Type A and like to follow rules and try to do everything ‘right’ and wanted things to be as perfect as possible. As we all know, things do not usually end up like that.
One thing a few of the pregnancy books and my birth class talked about was having a ‘birth plan.’ This should be right up my alley right? Organization, plans…I usually love this kind of stuff. Some books even suggested writing it down and giving it to your doctor and labor and delivery nurses. I understand that everyone has a preference when it comes to birth plans and I realize that it is my body and I should be in control of what goes on but it felt weird to me to write down what I wanted to happen when I had no idea what was going to happen. I had a few preferences that where important to me but I also did not want to go in to the hospital with the doctor who I had trusted with my care over the last 10 months and be so set in my ways that I would be inflexible in what was best for baby. What I think it ultimately came down to? If I made a plan and was not able to follow it or things did not go just as I imagined, I would be more disappointed than if I never had a plan in the first place.
The few things that were very important to me were (and I will do these again with the birth of BB2):
- Letting the umbilical cord continue to pump blood and nutrients into my baby until it stopped. There is research on the benefits of not cutting the cord right away.
- Having my baby skin to skin immediately after the birth for at least an hour afterwards. Again, much research showing a lot of health benefits of this including temperature regulation and strengthening the bond between baby and mother.
- Not disposing of my placenta as I actually had mine encapsulated (you can find articles both supporting this and saying that there is no real benefit).
- Only having my husband and sister in the room with me.
I also ideally did not want a C-section due to the fact it is major surgery and the recovery is longer. Would I have had a C-section if necessary? Of course, all I really wanted was to deliver a healthy baby and I was honestly willing to do anything to make that happen. I had complete trust in my doctor which for me was very important. Even if all of the things listed above did not happen, how could you be disappointed when you are holding your baby for the first time?
People also asked me if I was going to have a ‘natural’ child birth and honestly I had no idea. I had never given birth before so I had no idea what to expect. Would I like the least amount of drugs? Maybe? I guess? I was going to try but if I ended up needing an epidural then I would get one. All I wanted to do was hold a healthy baby! I feel that there is a stigma with natural birth vs. having an epidural and other methods. I feel that many women are shamed for either not deciding to have 100% natural birth no matter what it takes or who end up getting an epidural once in the process. How does anyone know what is best for your body besides you and the professionals assisting with the birth? Whose place is it to judge how you should bring your baby into this world?
So after 2 ½ years of trying to get Caleb in my womb….he did not want to come out. 🙂 At 41 weeks, I was induced. I was initially crying and so sad that I was not going to go into labor on my own. Then 30 minutes before we were supposed to arrive at the hospital to be induced, we were called to say we would have to wait as 5 ladies who were in actual labor had just come in. I was devastated again and started crying because now I had accepted the induction and I just wanted that baby out.:) Talk about emotional roller coaster…my poor hubby had no idea what I wanted at this point.
After I was finally induced, I spent the next 6 hours in ‘natural’ labor with no results. After 6 hours, the nurse told me I was still only 2 cm dilated, which I had been for 2 weeks. We were not getting anywhere. She did not want to give me Pitocin as that would just cause me to contract harder (which I was contracting, just not dilating). She suggested, but NEVER pressured an epidural since she thought it would relax me. We decided to go for it as at this point it was 2 am and with no food and sleep, I knew we could still have a long road ahead of us. I also got in the hot tub to help relax. After the epidural, I went from 2 cm to 9 cm in 45 min. It was time to party. After 2 ½ hours of pushing (which my Dr. told me she thought it would only be about 45 min of pushing). FYI, never give a Type A person a time limit as that is what I counted on…I watched that clock like I was doing a workout. After 45 min…I thought..where is my baby? You told me 45 min! Caleb’s head kept hitting my pelvis bone and could not get out. Towards the end of the 2 ½ hours, his heart rate started to drop due to the stress. My Dr. looked right at me and said ‘get this baby out with the next push.’ I was starting to panic a bit, looked right at her and got that baby out! She was close to using the forceps but luckily I was able to get him out. The most surreal experience I have ever had and regardless of the pain and stress, I am ready to do it again in 5 weeks! Did it go as I planned? I have no idea, because I did not plan anything. 🙂 It was amazing, awesome and I was not disappointed. I had a beautiful healthy baby boy who I had waited a long time to meet.
My client and I were talking about expectations and birth plans as she has had 4 C-sections and feels that so many moms feel guilty after having a C-section if they have to. Her friend was so freaked out to have a C-section because her baby was breech. But as my client beautifully stated, “The birth is the first time your baby meets you. The first time to lead by example when things don’t go as expected. It’s the baby that should be the focus, not regretting how the baby got here.” Love this. What a beautiful way to sum up that every birth is beautiful no matter how it happens. I respect everyone’s birth plan as it is their plan, not mine.
So what’s my plan for BB2? To have a healthy baby. Again, I have those few preferences but at the end of the day, what matters to me is completing my family.