I had this great vision of how our son’s birth would go. My water would break when my husband was home, the roads would be clear (we live in Minnesota and it was February, which means snow), I would get a room with the big bathtub to labor in, labor on the ball and walking the halls, I would use my essential oils all throughout labor, and no epidural – I have a high tolerance for pain. After our sweet little healthy boy was here, he’d go on my stomach for that skin to skin golden hour, he’d breast crawl, delayed cord clamping, a beautiful bonding experience for our family. Our hospital and midwives supported all of it. It was supposed to be great, everything you see and read about.
Until it wasn’t. My birth plan didn’t go according to plan.
At the end of everything, my son and I got to leave the hospital on the same day, “healthy”. We had a 9lb 3oz NICU graduate. My c-section incision was healing well, and we could finally go home to our five dogs and be a happy little family…
Or so I thought.
I still had to sit with the fact that my birth plan went the exact opposite of how I planned. Our son’s birth was one of the few times I experienced “mom-guilt.” I think our birth plan not going according to plan is something we can be upset about and grieve. I know I sure did.
After a couple of weeks, my grieving turned to obsessive self-destructive thoughts. Why wouldn’t my body go into labor? What if we would’ve waited to be induced (I was induced at 41 weeks). What if… I should have…
Lots of what if and I should thoughts filled my mind, which wasn’t serving me or our baby.
So I started flipping the script to look at all of the amazing things I did, all of the things my body was capable of. I carried and nourished a healthy baby boy for over 41 weeks. My body is strong. My body is so strong that it had the privilege of experiencing both a vaginal and cesarean birth. My body is continuing to nourish our son. I persevered through every type of intervention, I can continue to persevere and work with lactation consultants to help him be comfortable nursing.
Looking back at it all, I wish I created “Guiding Principles” for our son’s birth. There were some things I preferred to have happened or avoid of course, but ultimately, that plan I created had to completely change to ensure our son’s safe delivery and my health as well.
My Guiding Principles for our next child will include: give yourself grace, breathe, trust your gut, speak up when something doesn’t feel right, ask for a second opinion, ask how long you have to make a decision, lean on my husband for support, with the ultimate goal of having a healthy baby and healthy mom.
That’s it. I do not plan on having more specific details in my Birth Guiding Principles, because at the end of the day, the specifics can and will change depending on your body’s needs, but your guiding principles should not change. No matter how labor is going, I can still stick to those principles. No matter how many times we heard, “we’ve never seen anything like this before,” during our son’s labor, I was still able to stick to those guiding principles, and that’s something I can feel good about when it’s all said and done.
If your birth plan didn’t go according to plan, I’m sorry. Know that it takes strength, courage, perseverance and love to bring new life into this world. You are a childbirth warrior.