When a Birth Plan doesnâ€™t go to plan â€“ but itâ€™s still all right in the end. Rebecca shares her birth story with us this month…
I had a baby! A healthy, beautiful, big (9lb1oz) baby boy, with a head full of dark hair. That was the most important thing after he arrived â€“ because he didnâ€™t arrive quite the way we had planned.
Our first babyâ€¦I joined the whirling maelstrom of information and opinion out there, signing up forÂ baby forums, information sites, and daily digests, where I learned that youâ€™d be a fool not to have a pre-written Birth Plan. Pre-written, ideally with your birth partner, so that they would know whatâ€™s meant to be happening when all of that pre-written stuff goes out of your head.
So I wrote one, and it had loads of great stuff in it. Pain relief, mobility, preferred birthing position â€“ I researched it all, and put it all down on paper. It ran to two pages, and I printed out two copies for the hospital bag â€“ one for us, and one for the Labour ward staff.
Labour started pretty much as I expected â€“ we got a contraction app going at 8pm, and stayed up all night tracking them, ready to flee to the car as soon as the hospital gave us the go-ahead. It was when we got there at 8am next morning that everything changed. My waters broke, and very obviously contained meconium â€“ also known as unborn baby poo â€“ so my bump and I were immediately put on a heart rate monitor, and checked regularly. This meant being confined to a bed (mobility plan out of the window).
By midday, Iâ€™d had 16 hours of Stage 1 labour, and I was exhausted. The contraction pain was deep, dark and every two minutes. I was only 4cm dilated, and hadnâ€™t slept the night before, or eaten anything since dinner. I couldnâ€™t face any more, and when gas and air and pethadine didnâ€™t even take the edge off, I agreed to the epidural (pain relief plan out of the window). Iâ€™m a bit cloudy about this bit, but I do remember that the relief was instant and enormous. I dozed on and off for a few hours, waking up only to learn that all was fine, but dilation was very slow.
At 9:30pm â€“ 25.5 hours into labour â€“ I had been stuck at 8cm dilation for three hours. We were both fine, but we wouldnâ€™t be for long if they didnâ€™t intervene; so it was time for an emergency c-section. Preferred birthing position plan out of the window.
And you know what? It was fine. Everything was explained to us so clearly: every stage, and what we needed to do. Another epidural, a scrubs outfit for my husband, and 10 minutes later, heâ€™d arrived. He let out a huge cry just seconds after he was born, and it was the most beautiful sound Iâ€™d ever heard.
I didnâ€™t get the birth Iâ€™d planned. I didnâ€™t think for a moment that I would actually need a c-section, but my recovery was quick (I was up and walking the next evening), my scar is discreet and minimal, and heâ€™s here. And now heâ€™s nearly 7 years old, it doesnâ€™t actually matter how he arrived.