When Things Don’t Go According to (Birth) Plan

when-things-dont-go-according-to-the-plan
Image via Rachel Engel

I wrote my birth plan months in advance of my due date. It was important that my doctors and nurses understood what I wanted. After all, it's such an important experience—one that we will remember for the rest of our lives. It only makes sense to plan for it to be as close to our ideal as possible.

My plan wasn't complicated. I'm a fairly easy-going girl!

My major highlights were:

  • No inducement.
  • Epidural ASAP.
  • No c-section.
  • Skin-to-skin immediately.

Yet, at the end of the day, having a baby is a major medical procedure, and sometimes, emergencies arise that change everything we expected labor and delivery to be.

My birth plan was a pipe dream for me, apparently, since almost nothing went according to what I wanted. Yet, the outcome was still the same no matter what the journey looked like to get there.

Originally, I planned on denying inducement at all costs. I had heard stories about the pain being more intense (and I avoid pain at all costs!). This was thrown out when my doctor told me he was uncomfortable letting me go past my due date because of my son's kidney disorder.

Strike one on my birth plan.

Still, being induced didn't mean a c-section. I could still have my birth experience, just with a slight alteration. I went into the hospital on my induction date, they started my Pitocin, and immediately, I began having painful contractions. After my epidural was placed, my contractions continued to climb in intensity, yet I was barely dilating, and my son's heart rate was falling dramatically during each of them. 

{ MORE: 3 Tips That Made Giving Birth Easier }

After seven hours of seeing this, my doctor finally said it was too much to keep putting my son through, and he needed to be delivered immediately.

Whoa. Strike number two to the birth plan.

The c-section was slightly traumatizing, only because I hadn't prepared myself for the possibility of needing one. Once they popped my baby's sweet face over the curtain, he was the only thing I could focus on. I was ready to have him placed on my chest right away.

Yet, I waited and waited and waited, and he never came.

I heard him crying. I knew he was OK, I just didn't understand why he hadn't appeared on my chest as we had planned—though, had anything gone as planned?

It turns out a severe abdominal hernia had kept him from me. The doctors were checking to make sure it wasn't anything more serious, so they cleaned him and sent him off with the pediatrician, after making a quick stop so I could kiss his forehead. 

{ MORE: Birth Consultants: What Are They and Why Do You Need One }

My birth plan was a pipe dream for me, apparently, since almost nothing went according to what I wanted. Yet, the outcome was still the same no matter what the journey looked like to get there.

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At the end of the day, I was snuggling my sweet little boy, birth plan or no birth plan. 

Did you you make a birth plan? Did everything go as you hoped it would?

What do you think?

When Things Don’t Go According to (Birth) Plan

Rachel is a stay-at-home-mom to her 4-year-old daughter, Sydney, and her 18-month-old son, Jackson. Her writing can be found all over the web, mostly detailing her own parenting struggles and triumphs, as well as her life as the military spouse of an active-duty airman. She also writes about her life as as a special needs parent on her blog, Tales From the Plastic Crib, and spends an unnecessary amount of time on Twitter. ... More

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3 comments

  1. Cody says:

    I wish more women would realize having a csection isn’t some horrible thing. Yes it is more recovery time but if it can save a life (like mine and my sons) then why are we so hard on ourselves? As long as you have a healthy baby at the end of it that is what matters. I know because my “birthing class” and not looking up information I was not prepared for a surgery and my son and I were separated for 12 hrs due to complications. He’s a beautiful happy 16m old 🙂

  2. Jennifer says:

    I’m curious what you didn’t like about how your doctor handled the situation? From what I can tell he acted in your son’s best interest, which is ultimately what I would want and expect my doctor to do regardless of what my birth plan says.

  3. Erin says:

    after 7years of trying to get pregnant with no medically known reason for us not to conceive, it finally happened. I wanted to have a natural birth, the only exception for pain relief would be gas. I’d had a perfect pregnancy, only 1 week of morning sickness, and that was the worst of it till i was 31+5 weeks i had a slight stitch pain in my lower abdomen, i didnt think much of it at the time just thought i needed to rest. two days later i woke in the morning and went strait to the bathroom, feeling a dribble run down my leg, i undressed and realised the dribble was blood, i gasped and in that moment a huge gush of blood flooded onto the floor, i was stunned, i stood and looked at the blood for minute in complete shock, then came round realising that i had to get to the hospital, i rang the maternity ward to tell the what was happening and to expect me in the ambulance soon, they told me the closest ambulance was 15mins away and if i could arrange something quicker to do so. My neighbor drove me as we were only 2mins from the hospital. As soon as i walked in strong contractions started and within 10 mins they were only 60 seconds apart, the doctors gave me a steroid shot for bubs lungs and an ultrasound to determine what was wrong, they told me i had had a complete placental abruption and that bub was doing ok for now though needed to be delivered as soon as possible, though they need to weight for atleast an hour with constant monitoring for the steroids to get into bubs system. 1 hour later i was preped for a c-section, i wanted to stay awake for her birth so they gave me a spinal tap, they also hooked me up to an iv and warned me that if i lost much more blood id need a transfusion, I was numb from the waist down in minutes and 5 mins after bub was born, and immediately rushed out of the room. I started to loose consciousness and i remember my partner telling me she was ok. I woke 12 hours later desperately needing to see my baby they took me into the special care nursery in my bed, and explained to me she was small but strong. born at 32wks 1.7kg and 29cm & she spent 6 weeks in hospital. The bottom line though i will never expect any pregnancy or birth to go the way its planned, as anything can happen. Ps i now have a perfect healthy 9mnth old.

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