Do You Really Need a Birth Plan?

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At the risk of alienating some of my readers I will say it…..why bother with a birth plan?

This is a three part series. I’ll talk about birth plans, epidurals and the stories of my children’s entrance into this world.

Part 1: “Do You Really Need a Birth Plan”

Part 2: “Emergency C-Section is Only the Beginning”

Part 3: “Epidural? Yes, Please”

In July I have a lot of opportunities to reflect with my birthday, my wedding anniversary and both my daughters’ birthdays.

Every year on Cassidy’s birthday I get a little emotional as I reflect on how exactly she entered this world and how I was very scared.

Luckily, with Amelia, I wasn’t scared, and I reflect on her birthday as a joyful and relaxed experience. Funny now if I had to describe my children as they are at this moment Cassidy would be the calm, relaxed one and Amelia would be the hyper, strong-willed one. Their births could not have been more different, and today their personalities could not be more different.

Why I’m glad I didn’t have a birth plan.

My doctor never suggested we have one.

Pinterest didn’t exist (coming on the scene months after she was born) which meant I didn’t yet realize that a child could not be born without one.

Quite honestly I was living in denial about how exactly that wonderful kicking little being was going to depart my body and enter the world.

I didn’t have nightmares about the birth; I didn’t think about how I would breathe or how much pain it would be. However, I did pack a bag and boy was that bag full of everything that every baby website said I needed—I didn’t use most of it by the way. I even had hard candy that I thought maybe I would suck on when they wouldn’t let me eat during labor because that’s what a website suggested. The hard candy never left its package and was thrown away months later at home.

I’m a planner, so the fact that I didn’t have a birth plan is quite shocking.

Seriously, I’m shocked about it too, but it just never crossed my mind to create one (a case of pregnancy brain, I’m sure). The only thing Brian and I even discussed about the birth was the waiting rooms. When we were on the hospital tour, they showed us the triage rooms, the labor and delivery rooms and waiting rooms for family. We agreed that our families were not allowed in the labor and delivery room and if I was screaming, they weren’t even allowed in the one waiting room that was close to some of the labor and delivery rooms.

I completely respect those people who invite their whole families and friends in for the miracle of childbirth, I’m not that person. I don’t want everyone seeing me in that state, and there are some things that the people I am going to be sharing Christmas dinner with until the end of time don’t need to see.

It wouldn’t have mattered if we had a one-page birth plan or an elaborate 10 page detailed every scenario covered birth plan – it still wouldn’t have prepared us for what happened.

It was the day of our 40-week appointment with Cassidy, her due date. Brian and I figured at the appointment we’d schedule the induction date for the next week. On our way to the routine 40 week- appointment we talked about where we would go for dinner afterward.

Looking back I still wonder why either of us thought to put our hospital bag in the car that day, but we did. We had no reason to think we’d need it. It seemed that day was as good as any to start driving around with it in the car.

My appointment was the last of the day on a dreary Friday in July. My blood pressure was taken and then my doctor came in. She didn’t like how high it was, which was weird-I always had low blood pressure. We were sent to the hospital for bloodwork. She was headed there too because she was on call that night so she would see us there. She didn’t give us much more information, and we didn’t think to ask.

We thought it might be a while before we got to eat, so we stopped and got Brian a snack at KFC. I decided to hold out for our dinner that we were planning to go to after all the nonsense was done.

Again in hindsight, it was good that I didn’t eat, but I couldn’t have known that then.

We got put in a room. I got to put on a gown. Then we just relaxed while they took my blood. After we arrived, my doctor indicated her concern was with pre-eclampsia. She said depending on my blood work I might be induced that night. Soon after they did my blood work again.

They said they were just checking some things and the nurse told us, “you’re not going home tonight. The doctor will be in soon to talk to you.”

We sat and watched TV. I quickly realized our dinner plans were out. We tried to wrap our heads around the fact that I was probably being induced. We would be parents by the end of the weekend!

If you were one of the “lucky ones” who had their water break or Braxton Hicks or labor pains before the birth of your child, then you at least had some warning that it was time. I can honestly say that with Cassidy I never once had a single labor pain that I felt. It’s kind of weird to have had a kid and not be able to talk about what labor feels like.

It almost feels like I cheated—I assure you I did not cheat!

We barely had a chance to wrap our heads around the thought of our new baby girl coming that weekend before the doctor came back with the news. She sat down next to me and said,

“You have pre-eclampsia. You are very sick, and the only way to make you better is to deliver the baby. We are doing an emergency C-section. I will have the baby out in less than an hour. The baby is fine, but you’re not as long as she is still inside.”

She reassured us that Cassidy was fine and that I would be too as long as Cassidy was delivered soon. To say we were freaking out was an understatement. I was in shock.

Seriously only hours ago I was thinking about dinner, I didn’t feel sick. There was no indication that I was as sick as she said I was. Except for that SEVERE swelling, which was attributed to normal 9-month pregnancy in the middle of a Midwest summer.

To find out what happened next read “Emergency C-Section is Only the Beginning.”

1 thought on “Do You Really Need a Birth Plan?”

  1. This was written so well; it feels like it only happened last week.
    I AGREE…no birth plan!?
    Happy birthday to you and the girls!

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