WHY NO BIRTH PLAN IS THE BEST BIRTH PLAN…
ONE MUM’S VIEW ON GIVING BIRTH.
Birth is a funny old thing. Truly miraculous. Potentially scary. Infinitely unpredictable.
Disclosure: This post contains my opinion only. It is not meant as a hard and fast rule on how to give birth. I am in no way a Doctor and this is purely based on my own personal experience as well as experiences friends have shared with me.
2009 was a magical year for my husband and I. After a few slip-ups (you can read more on my miscarriage journey here!), we finally made it passed the magical 12 week window and declared the news…we were pregnant!
My mind was racing. Overloading with happiness. Wondering what was in store. Wondering how our lives were going to change. And like quite a lot of soon-to-be mothers, I was reading my way through just about any pregnancy magazine I could get my hands on.
Most of these magazines had one thing in common…they were all banging on about a ‘Birth Plan’.
What on earth was a Birth Plan, I remember thinking to myself?
If you’re still wondering…a Birth Plan is just what it says on the tin…it’s your plan for how you want to give birth!
Hmmmm…what would I plan?
Water birth? Home birth? Drug-free birth? C-section? With so many choices, what’s a girl to do?
Let me just take a minute to give you some background on where we were at the time…
We were actually living in Dubai and just like many expats we had opted to take private medical cover with an international company. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 20 weeks and had frequent and regular scans to check on the size of my baby girl as she was growing.
During all my magazine reading, I had come to the conclusion that I would ideally like a drug free birth. I didn’t want to have any pain medication or go in to hospital demanding an epidural straight away, lol. But…if it came to it and I really needed it, I wasn’t going to beat myself up about having what was necessary.
I decided not to write out any birth plan and opted for the ‘I’ll just wing it’ approach.
I really wish this had been one of the options in all the magazines because in hindsight, I believe this is the best route to take.
Birth is messy. Birth is unpredictable.
I was booked in for an induction at 38 weeks because my doctor thought my little girl was getting ‘too big’.
Turns out my body did not want to be induced! I was admitted to hospital at 8am and given my first induction pill shortly after. Nothing happened! I was hooked up to a machine that measured contractions. It was showing regular contractions but I wasn’t feeling anything and my waters were still intact!
That evening I was given another pill. Nothing! Nada! Absolute diddly squat action! Bubba was not ready to come out. She was happy cookin’ a bit more!
Fast forward through one incredibly restless night and when the Doctor checked me during her rounds at 7.30am (almost 24 hours from when I was first admitted), she broke my waters.
This is when things really kicked off. The pain increased, the contractions picked up pace and I was finally starting to dialate. I was moved through to the delivery room and hooked up to more monitoring equipment.
It was at this point that I opted for some ‘gas and air’. I felt it was the least intrusive of the pain medications and man oh man, I needed something. It did the trick. It took the edge off the pain…for a bit!
All I really wanted to do was avoid the epidural. That was the one thing I was petrified about. I DID NOT want the needle anywhere near my spine!
My ‘I don’t want any drugs plan’ was dented again when I moved on to Pethidine. Cue the weird, non-sensical conversations with Hubbie! Ha ha!
I made it to 8 cms, but then things went wonky. My little girl did not want to come out. We were messing with nature. My cervix started to close and this is when the Doctors decided to take me for an emergency c-section.
I had no choice…I had to be given an epidural whether I liked it or not. (FYI, I DID NOT!)
Everything happened so fast from that point!
Our little girl was born via c-section just over 36 hours from when we first arrived at the hospital. Suffice to say I was ecstatically in love with my bundle, but totally exhausted!
When my Doctor visited me the next morning, she told me that I couldn’t have given birth naturally anyway. The name of the condition escapes me but it’s a legit thing! Who knew!?!
And here’s my point…
If I had made a birth plan. If I had written down my ideal birth and how I wanted to bring my daughter in to the world, I would have been thoroughly devastated! It could have taken away the joy of bringing a life into this world, of feeding her, of soothing her.
The Doctors had to do what was right for my baby. Their priority was getting our little girl out safely, and that’s what they did.
My fear of the needle was what it was, but it didn’t change the fact that I had to have the epidural in order to have the C-section.
This, my friend, is why I believe no birth plan is the best birth plan. Birth is not a ‘paint by numbers’ situation. Things happen that we can not plan for.
Yes, there are people who have dream labours. No drugs, no induction, no interference and super quick births. But then there are those of us that need a little extra hand. There are those whose labours will not go to plan. All women are different and all births are different.
Wherever you are right now, do what feels right for you and your baby. If you feel the need to make a plan then go for it. But be good to yourself and allow yourself to go with the flow if changes need to be made. Do not let an unfollowed birth plan ruin the most magical moment of your life!
If you’d like to share your birth story, please feel free to leave a comment below.
Yours in motherhood,