Family Parenting

Pregnancy Update: Planning for Birth

Giving birth as unpredictable as a baby's schedule.
Giving birth as unpredictable as a baby's schedule.

When we were touring the hospital before our second child was born, there was one woman very involved in the process. She took notes, she asked many, many, many questions. Then, toward the end, she said “Should I mail in my birth plan with my hospital registration papers?”

Clearly this was her first.

With my first baby, nothing went as planned. I was on bedrest at 32 weeks, my husband was in a serious accident at 33 weeks, I came off bedrest at 35 weeks and delivered at 39. I had no idea I was in real labor. We were on our way to visit my parents where I was going to spend the night while my husband was working the afternoon shift and overtime. We were all packed up and our dog was in the car. Almost all the way to my parents, a half hour in the opposite direction of the hospital, I realized I might be in for real labor.

All I could do was cry.

We went to the hospital and I had no idea what was going on. Maybe I was in labor, yes probably. My husband hadn’t had lunch, a storm was rolling in, my mom was there to drop off food and apparently stayed.

I started off all calm. My doctor decided to break my water and see how quickly things went. We started walking the halls. Um, why did no one tell me how bad contractions would be? We’d stop every few feet so I could nearly die. We were looking out a window while I was trying to breath and not beat a hole in the wall with my fist to distract myself from pain and I realized I needed the room. I laid down, which was a huge mistake that I didn’t recognize.

The doctor was encouraging me to use the shower, the birthing ball, etc. but I hadn’t really decided what I wanted or needed. I kept waiting for someone to tell me what to do. Things were progressing differently than I had in my mind. Things felt different than I thought they would. I went with an epidural for goodness sake!

Nothing in that was in my plan of listening to music in a dimly lit room while eating ice chips and not getting an epidural.

But labor is like life with kids. There is no prediction. There is no way to determine if you will be in labor for 4 hours and deliver a peanut or if after two days of labor you have to have a c-section because baby’s head is huge. But trying to stick to the plan seems stressful.

If it doesn’t go that way, are you going to freak out?

Having a birth plan doesn’tĀ guaranteeĀ that’s exactly what will happen.

In planning for my third, I know he or she could come on time or a month early. I know it might be a four hour labor (my last one was) or a day and a half. The only thing I can do is be ready at work, home and mentally.