Dear Mama, your birth will most likely not go exactly as you hoped, whether you have a birth plan or not. And that’s ok! Some moms want to have an unmedicated birth, some want all the drugs (me please!), and some want to give birth at home, in a hospital, or at a birth center. The best thing you can do for yourself is create a birth plan and know that your little one will probably deviate from that plan. Now I’m sharing my full birth story.
Let me tell you the story about the birth of my first child. First of all, I am a planner by profession. I was an event and wedding planner for years and am currently an IT project manager for a non-profit healthcare system. Planning is in my nature! So when it came time to plan for birth, I scoured the internet. I looked for all the templates and questions I might need to consider on my birth plan. Then I created my template and completed the birth plan to share with my care team. You can download my template now! I felt empowered, and I was ready to go . . . or so I thought.
Birth Plan Preparation: Navigating Uncertainty
I am 37 years old and considered a “geriatric pregnancy”, a term that is being used less and less these days, but there are a few more risks to pregnancy and birth due to my age. For multiple reasons (including my need to plan and know when the baby is coming) my husband and I decided to plan an induction between 39 and 40 weeks gestation. I had discussed my birth plan with my OB and care team, and I felt ready.
A Change of Plans: Lessons from Induction
On Thursday afternoon, I went into the office for a foley bulb placement (if you don’t know what that is, it’s 2 small balloons that are inserted around your cervix to help start dilation up to 3 cm and kickoff active labor). This was sooooo painful (hello worst menstrual cramps you can imagine)! I did not sleep at all and was up at 4:00 am Friday morning to head to the hospital.
The Emotional Rollercoaster: From Delay to Determination
When I went into the hospital Friday morning, I learned that the foley had not worked and I was still only 1 cm dilated. I was told there were a few emergency c-sections happening, and that my induction would have to be delayed until later in the day.
I was sent home and told to call the hospital in a couple of hours. Since I live 35+ minutes from the hospital and my parents are less than 5 minutes, I went to my parent’s house.
After a couple of calls to the hospital, it was finally decided that I needed to reschedule my induction . . . for an entire week later! I was devastated, my plan was already going off track. Facing the disappointment of a postponed induction tested my mental resilience. Tears flowed as I grappled with another week of pregnancy. Then, a timely suggestion from my mom led me to a surprising source of comfort – a lobster roll food truck and a change of scenery. Since I hadn’t eaten in almost 24 hours, this is what I needed.
When Contractions Speak Louder Than Birth Plans
My family and I headed down the street to a local Colorado brewery, where hubby and dad enjoyed some beer, and we all enjoyed not just a lobster roll but also some amazing clam chowder. That’s when the contractions started. My body began signaling that labor was imminent. We returned to my parents’ and within a couple of hours, contractions intensified, marking the unstoppable progress of my little one.
After a few hours of laboring at home and progressing to closer contractions, we went to the hospital Friday evening, and I was admitted. I received an IV using an ultrasound machine and eventually opted for an epidural. Let me tell you that getting an epidural while having to stay as still as possible during a contraction is hard! No one tells you how to prepare for that if you decide you do want a medicated birth. They also don’t tell you that the epidural can cause you to shake uncontrollably. I learned when the anesthesiologist was about to administer and went through all the risks.
Birth, Laughter, and Unwavering Support
I’m now in full labor, I’m medicated, and I’m just waiting to progress. The shakes are happening and my amazing charge nurse tells me a funny trick. If you just stick your tongue out, it stops the shaking. She was right! I felt like an idiot laying in bed sticking my tongue out at everyone, but then both my sister and my husband would do the same and I laughed through the pain.
I was laboring overnight and progressing slowly. At about 2:00 am, I needed something to distract myself so I turned on the TV and remembered that King Charles III’s coronation was on. I watched for a while and then switched to HGTV in between changing positions and trying to get some sleep.
By 6:20 am Saturday, I was finally 10 cm and it was time to start pushing. I pushed for 2 hours, changing positions frequently. As we were monitoring the baby’s heart rate the OB was growing more and more concerned with every push.
My baby girl was in distress and not moving down the birth canal. It was at this point that she suggested a cesarean section. I was told I could keep pushing, but it may be an hour or it may be 13, and there was no way to know if pushing would work due to the baby’s distress. After being awake for over 48 hours, I was exhausted and decided what was best for her, was to have a cesarean birth and get her out safely. Let me tell you that the cesarean experience is incredible, and a topic for another blog. . .
Embracing the Unplanned: A Birth Story’s Epilogue
An hour later, at 9:15 am, my baby girl was born. It turns out her umbilical cord was wrapped around her waist and she would have never come out vaginally. In two days, I went from having an induction to going into labor on my own then from having a medicated vaginal delivery to an unplanned cesarean birth. As much planning as I put in, I could have never been mentally prepared for all of these situations.
So, I went back to my birth plan template and made some updates to help other mamas be even more prepared than I was. Download the free birth plan template below and leave me a comment about your birth story. I’d love to hear it!
My birth journey, marked by twists and turns, taught me that while plans may shift, the unwavering support of loved ones and the ability to find humor in unexpected moments are priceless companions on this transformative path.
Join me in celebrating the unpredictability of childbirth and the strength found in adaptability and preparation. Let’s navigate the journey together, one step at a time.