Thursday, June 16, 2016

Why I Never Make a Birth Plan

When I was pregnant with J, I started reading and hearing about birth plans, something I'd never even thought of before. And the more I read the more confused I got about making a birth plan.  I decided it was best not to worry about writing or even making a birth plan and I was right about that.

If giving birth were to go exactly how I wanted it to, this is what it would look like:  I would get a good nights rest, wake up and some time in the middle of the day my water would break. I'd be able to breath through every contraction, get to the hospital just in time to deliver a 6lb baby with tons of hair and without any problems coming up. Then recovery would go really well because during delivery there would be no tearing or cutting and my weight would bounce back to normal by the time I was getting home from the hospital.

Heres is how giving birth really goes for me: I spend about a week in what they call false labor. It feels exactly like real labor but it stops on it's own after several hours and you don't make any progress.  When it's finally really time to go to the hospital, it's usually around 4 AM after not having any sleep all night long. I get to the hospital, they check to see if you're even dilated this time (because last time I came in on that false alarm I was only at a 2) and, thank heaven, they don't send me home because I have made some a 3, after 12 hours of real labor I've progressed one centimeter. I get the epidural and wait, and wait and wait and wait. After another 6 hours, it's finally time to push. I get the baby out but also get a huge 4 degree tear or a fever or the shakes or any other random thing to go with it. (Hormones are funny things and your body can sometimes react funny to them).  The get the baby cleaned up and by this point I'm not caring too much about how crappy the labor was or how many stitches I have to get because I'm finally meeting my new little one and that is way more exciting than all of that stuff.

This is exactly why I never even consider writing a birth plan. Giving birth is an amazing thing. It never goes the same way for you as it does for others. In fact, it doesn't always go the same way for you the second or third time as it has the first. None of my labors or birth stories are the same. And there are things that I've enjoyed better with one that with others. It's just the way it goes.

Sometimes making a birth plan might make you feel calm and ready going into labor, but when something comes up that wasn't on your birth plan, you can start to panic or stress and that's not healthy for the baby or you when you're already having a lot of physical stress on your body. It's best just to accept that things are going to go differently than you are hoping for (because no one hopes for an extremely hard labor or recovery)

You don't want to come out of your delivery feeling disappointed for it not going how you though it would. A lot of people have that happen and end up blaming it on the nurses or doctors at the hospital. In reality, it wasn't any of their fault. They have been taught and trained to get your baby here as safe and healthy as possible. And isn't that more important than following your birth plan to the letter? When my first was born, I didn't plan on having an episiotomy or me and J getting sick with a fever in the middle of it all. But I was really thankful that I had an experienced doctor who knew they needed to get her out as soon as possible in order to make sure she was ok and I was ok. They gave me the episiotomy and recovery wasn't great, but my baby was healthy.

So when ever I have a baby, and the nurse asks me what my birth plan is, I smile and tell them that my plan is to have a healthy baby. So what ever they are going to need to do to make sure me and baby are healthy, I'll accept it. Even if I didn't plan on getting a c section and ended up having to. Even if I wanted to give birth naturally (I don't) but my body wasn't relaxing enough with out an epidural. What ever they need to do to make sure my baby gets here healthy, that's my birth plan. And you know what? I've never left the hospital thinking of how much I hated my experience. Giving birth is a hard thing. The best thing to do is to relax, and trust the doctors instead of stress about planning things out step by step.

Did you have a birth plan and did it go as you expected?

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