RVA Parenting: One mom's take on birth plans

Published: Apr. 20, 2017 at 3:35 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 21, 2017 at 2:23 PM EDT
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Tara Gray is a stay at home mom in Hanover county. She says she was a mom in her heart before she became one. Tara enjoys any opportunity to get outside as a family. Carytown, Colonial beach, Belle Isle or a picnic in Maymont.

When you're expecting, whether it is your first child or third. Usually you have a birth plan, or some vision of how you want your delivery to go. Towards the last couple of months, you begin thinking about it and preparing mentally for the big day. Touring the delivery floor and rooms at the hospital where you and baby will stay. What type of birth plan will you have? There are so many choices. Your birthing plan hopefully can be just as you want it. Choosing to have music, will you walk as you labor, maybe you wait to go the hospital timing your contractions making sure it is actual labor. Do you allow visitors or do you want this private and low key? Who will be included? What about the use of a doula, midwife, a home birth, a water birth, knowing you want help with pain just as soon as you check in, or all natural. Another option, the whatever happens approach. The goal is to have the delivery go exactly as you planned and what you are most comfortable with.

As many of us know your entire birthing plan can take an unexpected turn, forcing you to go along with what is best for the baby. As a first time mom, I kept hearing about the "birthing plan". I had an idea of how I wanted to spend my hours laboring. None of it happened. I ran a fever during delivery my water had been broken for over twelve hours, probably the cause of my fever. Fast forward twelve plus hours in labor after my water broke. My doctor informed me he was going to intervene. I was not at all prepared for what he told me. Intervening not only meant he was taking over it meant using forceps. I really did not know what to think. This option never crossed my mind. I do not remember reading about that as an aide in delivery. Never considering the possibility that I would be put in a position agreeing to something I was so clueless on. Furthermore, I was being told that it was necessary.  When that option did not work. My doctor quickly moved on to the next and final choice. A C-section. I was exhausted, nervous and worried about the baby. Having to sign some forms and then prepping me for surgery. I was thrown for a loop. This was never my plan. Looking back, I am glad I was so uninformed about the whole C-section process. I am now a pro on C-sections, having had three. As far as a surgery birth, I am still undecided which is worse knowing exactly what to expect or not knowing and just going with it. Obviously, the surgery room does not have a couch or pictures on the wall. The environment is sterile, cold and everyone is dressed in scrubs, hair nets, and masks. It is hard to tell who is who. Your view is blocked by a curtain. During my surgeries, there was music playing in the background. It gave me a good distraction. It is a straight forward, down to business feel in the air. Your anesthesiologist stands at your head, talking to you during the delivery, ready in a second to adjust if need be.

The recovery from the surgery is painful and there is no need in trying to describe it. Unlike anything I have ever experienced since or ever. It was frustrating seeing all the other moms moving about freely past my recovery room door. At that point I was barely able to sit up without it taking my breath away. Your body is amazing at healing however I was feeling disappointed in how my delivery turned out. My next two children were scheduled C-sections. All the same emotions exist fear and delight. Instructions for your recovery are more complex. It was painful for me to hold my squirmy, kicking baby. A simple sneeze or laugh is met with embracing your stomach for dear life afraid it will cause more pain. Bending over a crib or changing table is done very carefully, sparingly and slowly at first. I had no idea how many muscles are used to simply sit up from a lying down position. At home the first couple weeks still feeling like a patient is tough too. I was not prepared to come home feeling helpless and needing assistance with normal daily tasks. For example, climbing stairs is out of the question. Driving is not allowed. Neither is picking up heavy objects. The recovery time is the same six to eight weeks as any other delivery but a lot harder. There are other variables involved but that is with any birth. I would suggest to educate yourself on all the what if scenarios. I admit I would not have enjoyed reading about forceps or exactly every detail involved in a C-section. However your birth plan should include plan b and c. Simply being informed on the unforeseen circumstances surrounding the birth of your baby. When you are so excited and feeling gaga over the arrival of your baby you do not want to think of an unplanned, unpleasant experience. Also, I don't think the surgery rooms are part of the hospital tour. The first time I saw that part of the hospital was during my first c-section. Honestly, at that point I did not care about anything except delivering my baby. Simply educate yourself. The possibility of your plan no longer being viable should be included as part of your birth plan.