My…not part of the…Birth Plan

Hello, my name is Jill and I had a c-section.

Since the birth of my daughter 7 weeks ago, I have felt like I had to admit that I had a c-section. In fact, this is sort of my coming out of the c-section closet!

As mentioned in my last blog, I did everything to prepare myself both physically & mentally for the new adventure of motherhood. From pre-natal exercise, attending a number of infant preparation classes, researching and reading everything baby related, nesting like a madwoman, to preparing THE BIRTH PLAN, I felt like I had a handle on how things would go down.  What I didn’t do was prepare myself for all possibilities, hence My not part of the Birth Plan.

A Birth Plan is intended to communicate your preferences for the birth of your child.  It outlines how you want everything  to be through each stage of labor – the setting, drugs/no drugs, how baby is handled post delivery, etc.  You essentially prepare this plan in advance and provide it to the nurses/doctors prior to delivery.  I thought long and hard about what I wanted, discussed it with my doctors, then went online and created a plan.  Voila!  I was ready to role.

My birth PLAN in a nutshell:

I planned to go drugs, no medical interventions.  Women have been doing this for centuries without, why couldn’t I??  Upon being delivered, I wanted my beautiful baby girl to be laid upon my chest to bond skin-to-skin and nurse her…so she could come into this world as peacefully as possible.  I planned to use a birthing ball, massage, soothing music, essential oils…all of these accoutrements would aid in giving me my ideal, natural, beautiful birth.  Additionally, I was physically ready; I was fit, my abdominal and pelvic floor muscles toned, and I was well informed on how to cope with labor.  Everything was going to be perfect!  Though I was informed about c-sections, I actually said on several occasions, I WILL NEVER have a c-section.  My husband has told me many times, do not say never.  He’s so right!

My…not part of the…birth plan in a nutshell:  I like to call it my THREE labors – the unmedicated, the medicated & the c-section!  Here’s the quick play-by-play…

The unmedicated:

  • ~8 hours of back labor (baby was posterior – aka sunny side up, aka – wrong way!) OOOOOOUUUUUCCCCCHHHH
  • a soak in the tub, which I thought was going to decrease my pain by at least 50%, that’s what the books said…NOT
  • cervix never dilated past 3cm
  • no music got played, no essential oils, no calm…just the sounds of my very colorful language filled the birthing center

The medicated: Give me the E-P-I-D-U-R-A-L!!!!

  • a few hours later the anesthesiologist arrived (ARGH!), finally some relief
  • 4 hours, good strong contractions, limited pain, only 1cm gained…Why, why, why?
  • baby’s HR in distress, mommy exhausted, total accumulated dilation – 4cm
  • After ~15 hours of labor and very little progress, for the safety of both baby and me the decision was made…c-section

The c-section:

  • this was the fastest and, physically, the least painful part…because I couldn’t feel anything from my chest down!
  • Isabella was born within minutes and, per our request, in Daddy’s arms seconds later for bonding
  • I was in recovery within 45 minutes, nursing and cuddling with our baby girl

Why did I feel so disappointed?  My first baby was born!  I guess I was so caught up in how I thought “my birth experience” was going to be that I found myself disappointed when it didn’t go exactly as I had planned.  I felt like I failed.  I felt like I had a c-section because I wasn’t strong enough. Oh boy, have I been way too hard on myself!  Its time to look at it from my optimistic eyes:

  • Thank God for my Doctors and “medical intervention”, Isabella was born healthy – 10 fingers, 10 toes and a great set of lungs!  100 yrs ago, the outcome for the both of us might not have been very good.
  • I made it through healthy and was on my feet 1 day later…and according to my doctor I will still have a tight, you know… (LOL!)
  • I was strong!!  I made it through ~15 hours of labor and a c-section, good Lord…that takes a strong woman!
  • Isabella still got to bond…with her Dad.  That is a precious, beautiful memory that they will share forever:)

When I was planning and preparing for the delivery, a childhood friend of mine shared some thoughts with me about her natural childbirth, and she also shared some advice about making a plan…advice I should have taken.  I am now passing it on to other moms-to-be:

Don’t go into your birth with an idea of how your birth is supposed to be…People get disappointed. What happens is meant to happen. Most important is that you both are healthy.  You are going in with the best intentions, and you are going to have an amazing birth no matter which road you take. Just know that your family is being created and whatever brings your baby to you is the way she is supposed to arrive.

Now, instead of feeling disappointed about the way Isabella was born, I choose to celebrate the miracle of her birth and the joy she has brought to our family.  I know I didn’t fail; I just got caught up in the plan.


3 thoughts on “My…not part of the…Birth Plan

  1. First of all, congrats on the birth of your healthy, beautiful baby! All births are different, but you can never really plan for a perfect, to-the-minute-detailed birth (nothing’s perfect!!). Check out the stories of three women’s struggles and triumphs:

  2. Its a given that we as mothers want a healthy baby. yet we still hope for a boy or a girl. Having a natural vaginal birth is the rule(as you stated its how birth has been done for hundreds of thousands of years). Epidurals and c-sections are the exception to the rule. You will likely get tons of people giving you the ” you have a healthy baby and that’s all that matters” speech. What I’m going to give you is a head statt that takes most c-section moms another 7 months to realize: IT’S OK to be MAD/SAD/DISAPPOINTED that things happened The way they did. No one, especially no mother would doubt that you wanted the best and safest for your baby, but once she was out of your body and out of “danger” you have every right to reflect and feel the way you feel. All this to say, in the spirit of plans….. You should be open to feeling any range of emotions. The shear fact that surgical delivery leaves a lot of un recepted hormones in a mothers body makes you a prime candidate for Mt Everest of emotions. Do NOT let anyone tell you what your “not part of the birth plan” should mean/feel like to you!!…. Plus there’s always VBAC 😉

  3. Although I didn’t go through labour (scheduled c-sec due to breech), I can empathize with the initial feeling of disappointment… I felt that I failed in some way, and missed out of the experience of labour/delivery. But I did have an otherwise positive c-section… great docs, my midwife was also there — which put me at ease also, i was nursing my son within 40 mins of him being born, he was healthy, i healed as quickly as possible…

    I am very hopeful that I will be able to experience a successful VBAC the next time! Good luck to you too! 🙂

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