There’s been an interesting discussion going on at Esperanza’s blog about birth plans.
Here’s where I admit I have noticed there seems to be an increased emphasis in my circle (blogging and real-life) on putting together detailed birth plans and becoming upset if the experience doesn’t match expectations. And I have been shaking my head over this, feeling like I am missing something.
And I think I am. Truly. It’s not you, it’s me.
Even when I was a young woman, I never really imagined giving birth. I saw it as a means to an end, sure. To becoming a parent and that was the good stuff. But college friends and I shivered with fear when we imagined the pain, the scariness, the whole experience really. Why is this?
Well, my mother’s own labor with me was anything but textbook. It’s a family saying that I made headlines the day I was born, because I actually did. My mom was sent home from the hospital in the middle of labor (she had back labor, they didn’t notice) and she started going into the late stages of labor at our home. This was back before the days of 911. Luckily, my parents lived one block away from the local fire station. My dad panicked, ran down the street, brought the firemen back to their home and they helped give birth to me in the nick of time. I’m one of a very small number of people born in Sausalito, which is a source of pride for me, because I love that town and it is so beautiful and idyllic. But the birth took a heavy toll on my mother. She flatlined in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. We’re lucky she’s still here.
Meanwhile, the firemen were interviewed for the papers and a good story was “born.”
When I was diagnosed with infertility, then Diminished Ovarian Reserve, I honestly never thought I’d have children at all. When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I did nothing but focus on the day at hand. I made no plans of any sort.
My pregnancy was very complicated. Among the many complications: a low-lying placenta, one baby that was breech and one baby that was transverse. I don’t think there is a midwife or OBGyn in the land that would not have recommended a C-section. So I knew that I would have one. No question, no decision: it was what it was.
I wasn’t disappointed, either. Honestly? My expectations were nil. I wasn’t convinced the babies were out of danger until I actually heard them cry. I cared absolutely not at all for my experience giving birth. (Nor did it even occur to me to care.) I just wanted to be comfortable so I could greet them. Which I was. My OBGyn did an excellent job stitching me up (my scar is minimal). I did have a horrible day the second day (Oh, the pain! And the scary allergic reaction to a pain medication) but I was so focused on being a mother that I barely even gave my birth a second thought. I do remember that Darcy told me he loved me right before the babies were born, which he never says unless we’re about to die in a plane crash or we’re getting married. He believes his actions say he loves me every day. Still, it’s nice to hear 🙂
I don’t want this to devolve into a natural birth vs. medicated birth discussion at all. I respect both points of view and that’s not what this is about.
But I have noticed women expressing pain and remorse and sometimes blaming themselves if their birth plans don’t work out and that makes me sad for them.
I commented on Esperanza’s post:
“But I see the birth experience similarly to how I see a wedding. Maybe you’ll be lucky to have the wedding you always dreamed of: your parents have a lot of $ or you have the DIY skills to put on the most awesome wedding ever. But the wedding is one day. Just one day.
Your marriage is for life.
And so, your birth is one day. Maybe it rains on your wedding day, maybe you can’t afford a big wedding so you elope. Maybe you go to City Hall.
This doesn’t mean you won’t have an excellent marriage! My parents eloped and they’ve been married 45 years.
Similarly, your birth experience is one day. It’s such a small part of the overall experience of parenting.”
I don’t want to negate any feelings women have about disappointing experiences, but more find out why increasingly birth experiences matter? And I mean when a healthy baby was delivered, not with a scary or bad outcome. 😦
Was your birth experience all you wanted it to be? Did you care about what kind of birth experience you had or will have? Am I totally bizarre for being so blase about this?