My husband will tell you that I enjoy planning everything. I am the person that will send out an invitation 6-8 weeks before a party, have lists of prep items and timelines. I enjoy being organized, it brings me a sense of maniacal calm. I say maniacal calm, as although I may appear calm, I have this weird crazy energy that keeps me moving step-by-step through all the lists. Therefore, when it came to preparing for my birth, I decided to make a plan. I detailed plan, because of course, my birth would follow my carefully thought-out plans, especially after the last 6 weeks of pregnancy in which I suffered from PUPPPS. No, my birth had other plans and laughed at my plan, from the very start.
Your birth may not got as planned, but it will be uniquely and completely yours.
I spent weeks thinking through and detailing my plan. Some decisions were easy, such as who would be with me in the delivery room and other decisions were harder to make, such as which interventions I would really not want in my delivery. Now, I know that many couples say "our" delivery and although and yes, both parents should have a say in the delivery plan, especially those parts that involve the little bundle of joy. My husband and I spent hours discussing whether or not we would delay cord clamping or give the Hep B vaccine right after birth, but my husband left it up to me for items such as delivery positions and interventions. We made a detailed and intricate plan in which we felt confident. I had copies printed out, each labeled for "admitting nurse", "delivery nurse", "doctor" and "lactation consultant". We had spares for anyone who came into our room. My mother had one (or two or three), as did my husband, just in case I went into labor somewhere other than home. A big part of my plan was "please give me drugs" and "I want an epidural". Although, I believe those women who have unmedicated births are amazing, strong women, I decided that I was all for the drugs.
About 4 weeks prior to my due date, I prepared my hospital bag. In it where carefully thought-out coming-home clothes, pjs, snacks, books and movies to watch. On my iPhone, there was a carefully chosen delivery mix. My birth plans were carefully packed in my hospital bag, which was carefully placed by the front door, along with the note to remember to bring my exercise (labor) ball and to put towels on the seat of my car. Well, I was lucky that I had everything ready early as not 1 week later I went into labor.
I woke up energized on July 7, 2014. I was starting to feel the crunch to prepare for my maternity leave. I needed to write lesson plans, create quizzes, homework assignments and put them all into the online folder for my long-term sub. About 2 hours into my lesson planning, 11AM in pregnancy time, I began to feel unwell. Nothing I could put my finger on, just a feeling of being unwell. Tired and a little nauseous, with a backache. This went on all-day and then around 4PM my amazing in-laws invited my husband and I out to dinner. We went, because we felt it might be the last time we would be able to go out just the four of us. How right we were with that thought. We met at 5PM and about 30 minutes later, my husband asked if I was in labor. I was like, "No, of course not!" and he's was like, "you stop eating and wince every 10 minutes, it has to be labor pains." I explained that the pain wasn't in my stomach, but in my back, in which my mother-in-law explained about back labor. So, at 5:30PM, 3 weeks before my due date, I was officially in labor. I finished dinner and went home. I labored quietly for awhile but couldn't sit and couldn't get comfortable. I spent more time in the bathroom that I will admit. Around 11PM my husband tried to get me to sleep, but I could really only lay down for about 2-3 hours and then back up on the labor ball. At 5AM, on July 8, 2015, I woke up my husband with contractions at 5 minutes apart for over 2 hours. We both took a shower and off we were to the hospital.
4 hours later (an hour to the hospital, two hours at the hospital and an hour home) I was laboring at home again, on the birthing ball. My contractions were consistently at 6 minutes apart, but I wasn't progressing enough. The nurse, as we left the hospital, told my husband to bring me back when I was screaming in agony, could no longer physically move through contractions and they were 3 minutes apart for 2 hours. He took her literally. From 9AM - 9PM on July 8, 2015, I labored at home. By 9PM on July 8, 2015, I had been in labor for 28 hours. Every single contraction was in my back. At 6:30PM, my husband suggested we put on a movie and we decided on "Gone Girl". A movie about a woman pretending to kill herself through a staged murder to get even with her husband. A perfect movie to show a woman who was in labor. I hadn't slept since 1AM and knew my hips were going to break with every single contraction. This movie was giving me unflattering ideas.
At 9PM, it was decided that it was time to trek back to the hospital. Another hour long drive. As we left, our neighbors came out and talked and my darling husband chatted like I wasn't in severe and active labor. Then he decided he needed coffee. Finally, about 10 long minutes later, we were on the road and obeying all speed limits. Finally, we arrived at the hospital and were in triage, where they confirmed I was in labor and was being admitted. While we were waiting to be taken to our room, at 11:30PM, on July 8, 2015, we called my mom to come to the hospital and labor with us. We thought we were in for a long night, but we were so very wrong.
We were finally in the delivery sweet at 12AM, and it was announced, right as my mom walked in, that I had hit 10cm. She asked "isn't that when we have the baby?" and the nurses laughed and said "yes". At this time, as there was some to stay with me, my husband felt safe to run to the car and get the pillows I for which I had been asking. I mean, how much could happen in 10 minutes? Well, it turns out, a lot.
While he was gone, our son's heartbeat severely declined to under 40 beats per minute. They frantically rolled me from side-to-side and threw oxygen on me. In this time, all of a sudden a swarm of people were in the room. My mom was shuffled to the side while the c-section prep team came into the room, the NICU team came into the room and the doctor came into the room. He came back in to pandemonium, but was calm in the storm and stood by my side as I was so worried about what was happening. After about 20 minutes of rolling me, rubbing the belly, the heart beat of the baby finally stabilized and they allowed me to finally, get an epidural, at about 12:45AM.
They allowed the epidural to start working and about 20 minutes later told me it was time to start pushing. Approximately, 6 pushes later, at 1:44AM, our son was born completely wrapped in his umbilical cord, with it pulled around his neck. The person delivering him, flipped him around and then he took that first beautiful squalling cry.
My birth didn't go as planned. We didn't watch movies, eat snacks or listen to the carefully thought out playlist. I didn't get my medicated birth, but instead about a 33 hour unmedicated labor with only the last hour medicated. In the end though, through all that worry and fatigue, we had our son.
At the end, that is what I realized was the plan, having a child. Everything else, all those other plans I thought we had to make? They were just to give us the idea of having control over a completely uncontrollable, completely natural, wild and crazy experience. Good luck mamas! Your birth may not got as planned, but it will be uniquely and completely yours.