Do you need a birth plan?

My husband I had decided to take the Lamaze childbirth prep classes at our hospital. In all honesty, we mostly signed up for the experience of it – you know, bringing us together and sharing in all “baby related” experiences. At 33 weeks, we were in the second class of a two part series.

Here’s my confession – we really didn’t take the class very seriously. We laughed and joked with each other most of the time and yes, we were the couple that spent the rest of the afternoon comparing ourselves with the other couples. We took the class as a “fun” experience so note taking and homework really didn’t compute for us. Needless to say, when we arrived for our last class, we were the only couple that didn’t bring a prepared “birthing plan” (which was our homework assignment).

We spent the class listening to other couples’ concerns and questions and practicing our “relaxation exercises”. It’s not that we didn’t care about the class – we just approached it a little differently than most. As the class was coming to a close we only had to pick up our completion certificate and take our hospital tour. I vividly remember my husband picking up our certificate and joking that we’re officially ready for our baby.

That’s when it happened.

My water broke!  Hard to believe that our son chose that moment to begin his grand entrance (7 weeks early).  Needless to say, it took a second for my husband to believe that I wasn’t joking and that we indeed were in labor.  The class instructor thankfully kept her cool and informed us that we would be walking right past the maternity ward on our hospital tour and they (the entire class) could drop us off there.

So yes – I literally walked with my entire Lamaze class over to the maternity ward – trying to hide my panic and the fact that my water had broke (you can use your imagination here).

Once we arrived at Labor and Delivery, medical professionals moved fast.  I vividly remember my Lamaze class walking by on their “tour” as I am being told that my baby is coming 7 weeks early and my pregnancy is essentially over.  What???  Needless to say I effectively freaked out all my former classmates.  And I’ll always wonder if our instructor was really dying to say, “See…… you should have done your homework!!”

To make a very long story short – or at least shorter – after two days of labor, I had an emergency C-section.  The umbilical cord was wrapped around my son’s neck and along with a placental abruption, the atmosphere was obviously serious.  We weren’t making anymore jokes at this point.

I am happy to say that I gave birth to a beautiful and very healthy premature boy who was 4 lbs 10 ounces and full of life.  He ended up staying in the NICU for only 7 days and was ready to come home and face the world.  He’s quite a trooper.  Yesterday was his original due date and he’s now close to 8 lbs and healthy as a horse (or a very small pony at least).

Within this story are several other stories but my message here is that we can plan out our baby’s birth and come up with documentation proving that we thought of every detail down to the type of music you would like playing in the delivery room.  But I would guess more times than not – your baby already has their own birth plan and you are just along for the ride.  I know if I had actually done my homework for that class, my birth plan would not have included an emergency C- section 7 weeks early.  But that was my birthing experience.

And it taught me that no matter if it’s a vaginal birth or C-section, early or late, in the middle of Lamaze class or on the subway, each birth story is unique and special.  And in my opinion, as long as your baby is healthy, there are no disappointing births.

So my humble advice is – plan all you want and when your baby makes his grand entrance, embrace his “birth plan” because it’s your first lesson as a mommy – HE’S THE BOSS!



Filed under Preparing for Birth

3 responses to “Do you need a birth plan?

  1. Cara

    That was GREAT and oh so true – they are the little bosses of our lives, more than we ever could have imagined!! Can’t wait to meet that little pumpkin 🙂

  2. Samantha

    How honest and refreshing! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  3. Love it – “he’s the boss!” Thank you for acknowledging that. So many parents focus on control, control, control from the pregnancy onward! Good for you for recognizing the value of letting things happen. 🙂

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