Remember that one time, when you had a massive important event to plan- and decided to plan nothing, and have zero expectations of yourself and other participants, just in case you ended up disappointed that your plan didn't work out?
I didn't think so......
Apparently, this is a popular approach. This is how it's expected you'll approach your first birth. It's all so casual. "I'll just go with the flow! You never know what might happen. I don't want to be disappointed if it doesn't go to plan. The doctors know what's best. I'll just do what they tell me to do and hope for the best."
Unfortunately, I learned first hand that having no expectations does not equate to a lack of disappointment. The reason I felt so traumatized was not because my birth plan didn't come to fruition- but because I was treated so, so badly- and then told I was defective. The actual cause for my complicated and traumatic birth was a failed unnecessary induction. That led to an unplanned C-section. That led to an exploratory cystoscopic procedure under general anaesthetic which in turn, led to an induced coma and a stay in intensive care. A catastrophic cascade of intervention.
I know you don't want to hear it. But please. You need to.
It's a difficult topic to discuss, because many are quick to accuse anybody who does, of inciting fear. Ah, the horror stories. We've all heard them. I heard so many before my first child was born. I would get extremely upset any time anybody attempted to inject a little reality into my birth bubble.
How ironic that I found myself with a story more horrible than anything I'd been warned of.
Some of the stories were delivered in the classic 'scare the crap out of the first timer' fashion. That is, and always will be a really nasty thing to do. That's not what this is.
You see, in reflection, some of the things I was being told were important, but I dismissed them in my defensiveness, and fear.
All I knew was to fear birth, and hope I got through it okay.
I strolled right into the hospital, and handed over my autonomy and my dignity on a platter. Because that's was expected of me and all I knew. I figured at worst, it'd be very painful, maybe embarrassing, but something I'd get over once I see my beautiful baby.
He turns four in a couple of months. And to this day, I still bear deep scars from the events of his birth. I literally danced with death. I now know what it's like to have a machine breathe for me. I've heard the sounds of people crying in agony in ICU.
"But you got a healthy baby." They say. It's just one day.(or one week) One day, that will echo through your memory for eternity. Whether the images are positive or negative are up to you. Nobody else. Most people will tell you that birth is too unpredictable to plan, and that it's NOT up to you.
Please ignore them and listen to your instincts.
What about in case of an emergency? Well, sometimes things happen that can't be prevented. Occasionally, things need to happen fast in order to save lives.
I've had both type of birth. The real emergency was easier to process and less traumatic than the one which was created by intervention overkill. Realistically, both vaginal and surgical births have the potential to leave you feeling shell shocked and traumatized.
What will live within you for the rest of your life isn't just the memory of which hole your baby came out of, though. It's the memory of the way you were treated at your most vulnerable. The way you were disrespected on every level and utterly violated as a human being. Or not. But I know, if you walk in there without some idea of what you do and do not want to happen to YOUR body, you're playing Russian roulette.
You'll be the one to live with the scars and the consequences of whatever painful procedures they deem necessary. Not them.
Far too many of us walk in to our births eager, and come out the other side in despair. The truth is not that we as a species are so defective that most of us require drugs and instruments and surgeons to birth safely. We would have died out before obstetrics was invented, if that was the case.
Our current maternity care system leaves a lot to be desired. I'll probably endure some mega-judgement for this. But it needed to be said. I know my own story is particularly bad, and at the extreme end of the spectrum. I'm not saying that this WILL happen to you if you don't have a plan.
But it sure as hell is more likely to happen if you casually stroll into this momentous occasion without some preparation beforehand. Don't wait until it's too late. Have a plan.
My ydd had that attitude when she was pregnant. It worried me, I thought she was not putting enough effort into research & planning her birth. To her pregnancy & birth was a normal process, best left alone, to unfold as it would. She didn't go to a doctor, only had occasional "check-ups" with me, a CPM. When I began suspecting twins, I recommended an US, she ignored me, for a while, but eventually did get an US, which proved me right about twins, one vertex & one transverse behind the 1st. Her plan was only to have a waterbirth attended by me & the same midwives who attended me when she was born (she was my 7th baby, but 1st waterbirth). When she went into labor at 35 weeks, we labored at home until 8 cm, then went to the hosp just in time for the natural birth of her twins! All 3 were given a clean bill of health went home the next day. They never even went to the nursery let alone NICU! Her go with the flow attitude surely worked out for her. Her self-assured attitude reminds me of a quote said of me once; "[S]he smiles at the drawn dagger, & defiles it's point."