By: Kristy Kemp
I feel like I have been robbed and it's nobody's fault , but my own. So don't think I'm trying to blame anyone here. I was very naive, over 5 years ago. I was definitely not considering myself semi crunchy back then, like I do now or "Scrunchy." What I feel robbed of is my birth experience. Mine was weird and far from natural. I didn't get to experience a natural birth.
I went in for a check up at my 37 week mark, was told my blood pressure was too high so they sent me to the hospital for a 4 hour stress test and sent me home with a container to urinate in for 24 hours. I was having cramps/braxton Hicks all night, so when I dropped the urine off at the hospital I decided to get checked out, since I was already there and maybe that was my mistake, but how could I have known that the nurse would come back into the room with a hospital gown and tell me that I'm going to be having a baby that night? I thought , How could this be ? My husband isn't even with me. in fact, he is at home sleeping, and I have our only vehicle. So it definitely wasn't one of those heart warming, water breaking stories, where you have to be rushed to the hospital because your water broke. I was induced and I had my son hours later. Yes, I also got an epidural. I was confined on my back, to a hospital bed the whole time. I couldn't even get up to walk around. I was very uncomfortable the whole time. well I mean, what girl is comfortable in labor anyway?
Had I been allowed to be a little mobile I think that would have helped, a little, with my discomfort. Like I said, I was naive and back then I didn't even know what a Doula was! All throughout my check-ups I did get asked about what my "Birth Plan" was , but I didn't know how to plan for a birth. So in my mind, the plan was, when I go into labor rush to the hospital, get an epidural for pain and push him out. Hearing & seeing all these beautiful stories where women actually pull their own baby out, encapsulating the placenta, water births, getting to use one of those yoga balls, showering during, getting to ACTUALLY SEE baby come out, or pictures & video (doctor would not let hubby take pictures or video of the actual delivery part), so heartbreaking not being able to relive the moment through video and pictures, They wouldn't even let me see the Placenta. I was curious, I wanted to see all that came out of my body, but they looked at me like I was crazy for even requesting that. Again, it sounds like I'm blaming the doctors or hospital, but I'm really not I'm just explaining how much I learned through my experience and what I missed out on. I didn't even know the importance of Skin to skin or the Breast crawl! The breast crawl is when a newborn is placed on the mother's Abdomen, soon after birth, as the ability to find it's mothers breast, all on it's own and to decide when to take the first breastfeed.
So when you're asked for a birth plan think more outside the box and really think what it is you want. Will you want to take pictures of the delivery ? Make sure you pick an OBYN that allows it because mine didn't, are you wanting to encapsulate your placenta or consume it someway? Let them know WAY beforehand in some states there is paperwork you have to sign and some need to know ahead of time. I had no idea that consuming the placenta was even a possibility! Are you planning on exclusively breastfeeding? Make sure they know that! Make sure you deliver at a baby/breastfeeding friendly hospital that have Lactation consultants, roaming the halls so you can get LC help if need be. Do you not want to get your baby vaccinated? It is important that you stress that to your doctor and hospital staff. I had a member from myBreastfeeding Mama Talk page share a picture with signs she hung on the top of her hospital bed that gave specific instructions on what she wanted or didn't want as a blatant reminder to the hospital staff. Some people even get little baby outfits that will say something like, "No Binkies or bottles please my mom plans to exclusively Breastfeeding me." There are a variety of different ways to make your wants known, to the hospital staff. Do you want to bank the cord blood? Do you want a Doula? Do you want a water birth? Do you want to give birth at a birth Center? These are some of the questions you should be asking your self.
Now why am I telling my story? It's not like I had a terrible birth, right? I mean, everything went as smooth as a delivery could go. Out came a happy healthy 6 pound baby with no complications. What hurts to this day is regret, Regret that I didn't have a birth plan, knowledge, or any expectations, and all I keep telling myself is that my birth happened the way it was supposed to, and be done with it, but no matter how many times I tell myself that I'm not content with it. I figure if I could share my story and maybe have it reach out to some other mamas who may not think they want a birth plan, to really think long and hard if it is really what they want. Once you're told you're going to have the baby the last thing you're thinking about is all those little critical details. So it's important to try and plan the best way you can, such as the things I mentioned above. I realize that giving birth won't always go as planned and it's out of your control, but a lot of times it is possible to have the birth you want and/or plan for. You may not end up getting the birth you wanted or planned for , but that doesn't mean you can't plan! I just tell myself, that if I ever get pregnant again, I will make up for it with my next baby.