The birth planning began immediately. As soon as the pregnancy test offered up its incredible news, I began researching what to expect during delivery and how to guarantee my wants would be met. However I’d soon discover personal needs are often shoved to the backseat when it comes to children.
I wanted a “natural” birth. No inducing. No epidural. In my head I had the sappy images of every Hollywood movie you’ve seen depicting babies entering the world. I read and read and READ to prep my body and mind for pulling off this miracle. The OB/GYN I chose was 100 percent supportive of my choices, as was my husband. My doctor even recommended a doula (who ironically was also the instructor for our birth classes). Halfway through I proudly presented a statement of my preferences, including what music to play during the birth.
My pregnancy moved blessedly along at a normal pace. Then came the news that would eventually shred the birth plan. My baby was a breech, a footling breech at that. This meant both her feet were pointed straight down, like a ballerina, instead of her bottom. The biggest threat was the umbilical cord coming out before baby, which could result in death.
Thus began my journey to encourage the baby to turn. Acupuncture. Seeing a chiropractor. I tried lots of things. If someone had suggested my husband grab my ankles, flip me upside down and give a good shake, I’d have seriously considered it. But it soon became apparent the baby was not turning.
We sat down with both the doula and OB/GYN to discuss options. In the end I chose a caesarean delivery. I called to schedule the birth, which felt oddly like trying pencil in any other appointment…except this one was going to change our lives FOREVER.
My emotions hit extreme highs and lows. Inside my head I heard, “Am I making the right choice? Quit complaining, you’re lucky to have access to healthcare and insurance! Could I have done anything else to get the baby to turn? Is my body failing us? Please, please, I just want this baby to be OK.”
The big day arrived and we drove to the hospital during a quiet early morning. My favorite memory during the actual caesarean is the anesthesiologist announcing her son had just made an awesome 80s mix she wanted to share. They cleared it with us and that’s how my daughter made her debut to Van Halen’s Jump. It fits her personality perfectly.
While they closed me up my husband brought our baby over and rested her on my chest. My doula was also in the room and in recovery immediately began assisting with breastfeeding. Although my daughter’s birth was not what I’d originally envisioned, I couldn’t have asked for a better end result.
I do still believe in making birth plans. But sometimes life demands you shred the original.