This post was written as part of the Share Your Story event hosted by Kids in the House. Our contributors have shared their stories, struggles, and wisdom about the unforgettable yet unpredictable event that is childbirth.
Recently I held my friend’s newest baby in my arms. “How did the delivery go?,” I asked while staring at the newborn’s precious little face. And she went into a story of relative ease until baby girl’s shoulder got stuck and a nurse all out straddled her to help rid the dystocia and safely bring her into the world.
We laughed at the perfectly “normal” situations found in a birthing center replicated no place else.
Because I worked in a newborn nursery at the time that our first was due to be born, I knew there was no way to predict the unpredictable. Hence, my birth plan was: If the delivery goes really fast I will deliver without medication but if not I will get an epidural. That was it. Flexible was going to be my middle name.
I had no idea what I was in for.
The unpredictability began the second my water broke. I awoke in the night to back splitting pain. The contractions wrapped so tight I thought I might never breathe again. Despite this being a dream come true - we waited several years for thisbaby - I panicked. Would I really be a good mom? How was our life going to be different? I in the midst of life-changing pain, I winced, “I don’t know if I’m ready for this.”
When I arrived at the hospital they transferred me to a delivery room, meaning this birth was going to happen. On the downside, my water broke without having physically progressed much and it was going to be a while before that glorious epidural was even an option.
My husband and I walked. A lot. I sat in the whirlpool bath. A lot. I rocked in the chair. A lot. I swayed by the wall. A lot. I laid over the birth ball. A lot. The modest girl in me who still carries all her clothes into her own master bathroom so as to stay private was completely gone. I wanted to be checked. I yearned to make progress. I was exhausted.
Laboring takes work and being patient with the loved ones around you is an added labor of love. While on a walk my husband suggested that he had a dream where he experienced “the worst feeling ever.” I was clutching the wall in pain. His being alive is true evidence of grace. J
Meanwhile, the nurse called the anesthesiologist. I’d been laboring for ten hours and my contractions were coming faster than I could change positions. Relief flooded my body and instantly numbed my pain. Energy was restored through a much needed nap. My body made more progress than it did in all the preceding hours. And, lucky for my husband, my niceness came back too. J He now jokes the epidural saved our marriage. I sincerely say it is my favorite part of labor outside of seeing our beautiful baby’s face.
But soon my utopian situation crumped. My labor slowed to the point that I needed pitocin. Baby’s heart slowed and I spiked a temperature. I started to push while the brilliant nurses and doctor assisting me watched the monitors and cheered me on. Thankfully, in the process, baby turned face down. However, the need for baby to be born NOW escalated. The intensive care nursery staff was called into the room. People stood everywhere. My husband whispered the most loving, encouraging words. My doctor tried the vacuum and then peered over me to say, “One more push.”
I knew a c-section loomed in the horizon. I prayed. I pushed with everything in me.
And a tiny cry filled the room. My husband announced, “We have a girl!,” and a single tear fell down my cheek.
I watched my very tall husband take our very tiny baby into his arms and fell in love with him in a whole new way. We were now three.
In the following years we welcomed two more baby girls. Neither one of their deliveries was as “eventful” or long as our first, but each was equally as special and we excitedly shared when people asked, “how did the delivery go?”
What I’ve come to realize over the years is that we never cease to grow tired of birth stories because their unpredictability is what makes them fascinating. Just like our children, no two are exactly the same. And, the “perfect” delivery is not about the textbook process or the actualized dreamt up birth plan, but rather IS the unique, special story perfectly written for you, for this child.
Hear me when I say your greatest joy will not be found in creating a birth plan, whether or not you choose to use pain medicine, or how you ultimately deliver. Because, when you become a parent, your heart’s desire is for your child’s best. And that wish drives you to do whatever necessary in the delivery room to keep your baby safe until you kiss his or her little face.
So, if you are expecting, stay in the present and make decisions there. It’s not about our plan but The Plan and, when we embrace that, our birth story becomes a positive memory. No matter how calm or crazy it looks in the delivery room. JSubscribe to Fill My Cup by Email
Please be sure to read the submissions by the other Share Your Story contributors, and visit Kids in the House to find out how you can participate in our next Share Your Story Blogger Event!
- Two Peas in a Pod: A Double Miracle - Rachael at Three Boys and Mom shares how the blessing of an unexpected twin pregnancy saved a woman's life.
- Childbirth: the Ache of Love - Sasha at MomLife Now describes how one mom discovered a miraculous beauty she new not existed.
- Tax Day 2007 - Cheryl at The Pump Station & Nursery looks back on how an easy pregnancy turned out to be a taxing birth experience.
- Going with the Flow - Bridget at Bridget Bertrand shares how her OB helped to put her on the right course in regards to birth plans, the playlist, and even the recipe to make the day her daughter came into the world.
- My Not-So Natural Birth Story - Rachel at Mommy Greenest shares a lot of questions with questions with pregnant and new parents through her work, but this time describes what it was like for her, giving birth for the first time - but definitely not the last - time.
- The (Not So) Perfect Birth Story - Britt at My Life and Kids reflects on how a mom's life-threatening delivery helped mold her into the mother she was meant to be.
- Giving Birth: When the Unexpected Happens - Elle at This is Mommyhood shares advice for when your baby has an unexpected stay in the NICU.
- A New Look at the "Perfect" Birth Story - Melissa at Fill My Cup shares how a crazy delivery gave one mom a new perspective on the 'perfect birth.'
- Induction Induced Feelings of Loss - The Orange Rhino shares how a planned induction brought unplanned feelings of jealousy, sadness, disappointment and loss.
- Our Beautiful Birth Story - Lindsay at The Fully Caffeinated Mama reflects on how it wasn't the feeling of intense pain caused by the epidural wearing off that she remembers, but rather the beautiful baby on her chest for the first time.
- Jack's Arrival - Samantha at The Peanuts Gang thought she would have a scheduled c-section, but it turned out that having Jack was QUICK and sooner than expected!
- Remembering to Breathe - Suzy at Kids in the House explains how with little fanfare, the completely wrong music, and a very distracted doctor, her son Leo was born.