When I was pregnant the first time around I remember being asked quite early on to write out my birth plan. I recall looking at the midwife and telling her that whatever happens, happens. She replied with that I needed to at least write something down as a guide so I simply put ‘do what is needed‘. Thing is, I’m a realist. I know things in life don’t always go as expected, I know that setting up a huge plan can end in disappoint if something changes and I wanted to keep an open mind about the labour and birth.
As it turned out I was right in not setting my expectations high because his birth couldn’t have gone more wrong. I mean we all probably long for that beautiful natural birth, don’t we? But there are times when things are just completely taken out of our hands.
I would have loved a natural, drug-free birth with that elation at the end but instead, I had the complete opposite.
After a long and extremely painful labour, he just wasn’t budging. I’d been given an epidural because they felt I wasn’t coping but even though this had the desired effect on my pain it had an undesired one for my baby. My body slowed. I tired and couldn’t eat or drink to gain any strength back. I couldn’t move around to get things going faster and then his heart rate began to drop. I was very suddenly whisked into theatre where I was told my only option was an emergency c-section, which you can read all about here.
If I had fully planned his birth I know I would have been left with a mixture of feelings. Disappointed that my plan didn’t work out, upset that I had failed, depressed because my perfect birth went horribly wrong. I know I am the type of person to end up feeling like this which is why I am glad I didn’t put time and effort into organising something that can never be a guarantee.
Fast forward almost four years and I was back in the same place except this time my birth plan had one important request on it… a VBAC. I didn’t want anything fancy like a homebirth, a water birth, candles or music I just wanted my baby to arrive safely and to be placed into my arms immediately and for my recovery to be much easier and faster.
Well, er, that almost completely happened. I certainly had my natural birth, just a shame that it happened at 32 weeks! Yep, after having a straightforward pregnancy the first time around, this one was far from it. Bleeds, breathlessness, heavy discharge, the loss of my mucus plug much too early and then my waters breaking at 30 weeks. You see, nothing can be predicted, even if you’ve done it all before.
So, yes, he arrived naturally and he was momentarily placed on me but he was then whisked away to NICU and I couldn’t see him for over 4 hours. My natural birth was over so fast and even though I got it, it definitely wasn’t in the way I had hoped for.
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So, you see what I am trying to say is, yes, it’s ok to have an idea of how you’d prefer your birth to go but as for sitting down for an hour or more and planning the birth blow by blow, I would say save your time and pop out to Mothercare instead!! What will be will be and I have come to learn that it doesn’t really matter how they come into this world, all that matters is that they make it here safely. I spent far too long beating myself up over Jake’s birth and what for? What does it matter now? It doesn’t, and if we choose to have more babies? Yes, I would much prefer the natural route because it was such a different and better experience for me but I will just take it as it comes. I can’t control everything but I can keep an open mind and go with the flow and throw that birth plan section out the window!!
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