Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Birthening: the prologue

Over the last several years, I have read many, many birth stories, and I know that there is often an unexpected thing that happens during labor and delivery. Birth plans are just plans, and they need to be flexible. My whole approach to labor took that in to account: we took a childbirth class focused on unmedicated childbirth, but I was clear with DH that if things took a long time and I needed to conserve my energy, I was open to the idea of some pain relief that would help me rest.

We didn't even write out a birth plan, actually: we talked the whole enterprise over with the midwives, and everything that really mattered to me was just standard operating procedure. The most crucial aspects of any plan we would have written were the moments just after birth: I wanted immediate skin-to-skin contact with my baby, I wanted the team to wait until his cord had finished pulsing before it was cut, I wanted to try breastfeeding before they gave him any shots or weighed and measured him. The midwife said this is all standard - we would need to write out a special request NOT to have these things happen.

Well, none of those things happened. My son was born in a freezing operating room, via caesarian section, after a failed induction that took over two days. I didn't get to touch him for almost 4 hours except for a quick kiss on the cheek before they whisked him away to the nursery while I was sutured up and rolled back to a recovery room, without him. DH spent some time in the middle of the night pacing the hall between his post-operative wife, his baby in the special care nursery, and all his in-laws in the waiting room, waiting for news. The final process looked nothing like our general plans.

I am 100% OK with all of this.

I used to think that the people who had experiences like mine who said things like "at the end of the day, I have a healthy baby and that's all that matters" were just making themselves feel better about a situation over which they lost control. Maybe they were, but I seriously feel good about the way my son's birth panned out. He's huge and healthy and beautiful, and I never felt like I had lost what small amount of control I ever had over the process. It's just that the plan had to be even more flexible than we realized.

In part because I feel like I owe it to all the bloggers who shared their birth stories, and in part because now, only a week later, certain details are already starting to elude me, I'm planning to write out my son's birth story. It will likely take a little time between feedings (oh man, does this kid like to eat) and naps (his and mine), but I'd like to write it down. Because what happened was basically my nightmare scenario, but it wasn't terrifying at all. Through the whole process, which lasted over three days, I felt supported and listened to, and I felt like all the options were being laid out fairly to me and DH.

And, yes, at the end we have a healthy baby. I think I had to grow up a little and realize that seriously? That is the point of this whole thing.

Before I get in to the long story, however, here are the details: the kiddo (sorry interwebs, you don't get his real name) was born at 1:48am on Thursday, October 20. He was 21.25 inches long and weighed 8 pounds, 15 ounces. The midwife on call noted that this was after he pooped several times immediately after delivery, so she insisted that he was at least a nine-pound baby. And yes, his size was part of the reason we ended up in the operating room.

Oh, and we love him to bits and pieces. I'll have to write a separate post about how my feelings toward newborns have changed, because this particular newborn is just the tops.

1 comment:

  1. CONGRATULATIONS! I completely agree regarding "baby's healthy, that's all that matters." It absolutely is not a coping statement, but honest truth. All the ideals in the world do not matter in the face of having a healthy little one! So happy for you!


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