“Water birth, please!”

So I suppose the time has come for an explanation of my username “Waterbirthplease” which kind of speaks for itself, but in an ironic way, believe me! Many experienced mothers whilst I was pregnant told me not to bother with a birth plan, but I was keen to do everything properly and knowing best, promptly ignored them. A birth plan I wanted, so a birth plan I produced. There’s something however in actually putting your wishes into writing that – in my head anyway – kind of cemented the notion that that was what WILL and MUST actually happen. I’m sure that a lot of Mums reading this will not be surprised to learn that it pretty much went out the window. Oh and I had such ideals! How impressed I thought the midwives and doctors would be when they see the care, effort and research I had put into it! So when my waters broke, off we toddle to the hospital, my husband and I (surprisingly
calmly it has to be said) an immaculately packed and repacked and repacked again suitcase in one hand, and the all important birth plan clutched in the other. Thank goodness I have had the forethought to inform the medical staff on how to deliver my baby, thinks I, as we wait to be examined. However . . . no contractions, no pain, no nothing. Blood pressure and temperature fine, baby it would seem, staying put. So off we go home again with instructions to ring up straight away if any change soccur, or in 24 hours if nothing happens.

Nothing happened.

I am told upon ringing the hospital back that I will need to come in at 8am the following morning to be induced. I hang up and stand staring a bit numb. Induced? That isn’t in my birth plan. I don’t know how that affects what is in my birth plan. Can I still have my water birth? I HAVE to have my water birth. I have a mental picture of my beautiful new daughter floating up towards me from the water, an angelic chorus playing softly in my head, an emotional husband gently mopping the brow of my freshly flushed glowing new-mother face as I scoop my delicate bundle from the aqueous pool of calm.

Here are some of the things I had on my lovely plan:

•    Water birth please (you’ve probably gathered this one by now!)
•    Low lighting
•    Only those absolutely necessary present.
•    I shall provide my own music (??!!)
•    Immediate Skin to skin
•    No episiotomy.
•    No drugs.

What I actually ended up with was:

•    Loads of drugs
•    An episiotomy
•    A brightly lit theatre with legs akimbo and the entire cast of scrubs faffing about down there
•    No music!

It all started to go a bit pear shaped from the word go really, when the nurse couldn’t get a needle in my hand. It would seem that I have veins smaller than the atom and it took two nurses, a doctor, and then finally an anaesthetist to get the flaming thing in. Then the gas and air. (Homer Simpson moment. . . “MMmmmm…gas and air!”) and then the epidural. (Turns out they are highly recommended when being induced as there is no natural build up with contractions, just full strength straight away. Ouch.) The epidural man, as I like to call him, asks me to drop my chin (in order to stretch the spine for the needle) Being a bit off my rocker on the gas by this point, for some reason I take that to mean “stick your chin forward” which I promptly do. Then I get the giggles as I think I look like Bruce Forsythe and begin doing impressions accordingly. “Good game good game, nice to see you…”etc. Husband and epidural man look baffled.

Several hours later, in the throws of things, being shouted at to push, and still off my head – I have a sudden panic about whether or not my cat at home is ok. (Her name is Chicken.) “How’s Chicken, how’s my Chicken? Is she ok?” I demand throwing myself upright. (More gas and air) The mid-wife, God love her, is watching the monitor closely and assumes Chicken is the pet name for my unborn child.
“She’s absolutely fine and her heart rate’s steady. Nothing to worry about” She coos soothingly. I lean back on my pillows, relieved and impressed that the hospital staff are so au-fait with my cat’s health.

Now I’m not one for the gory details, but Madam got stuck on her way out, her heart rate dropped, and that’s when all hell seemed to break loose! After the chaos of the labour and theatre, the next thing I remember clearly, after pushing for 19 hours, emotional and exhausted, is the staff all shouting at me to look up. I lift my head . . .

And there she is.

My daughter!

In the arms of the doctor, and crying her little heart out from her difficult journey. My heart explodes. My husband is tearfully whispering in my ear  “Thank you” and the chaos of the rest of the world melts away as I look at Grace. “Go with her” I tell Stu as they take her off for jabs and wrapping up. Finally holding my wrinkly little maggot in my arms, nothing else matters.

Nothing.

She’s got my nose.
Her little fingers wiggle about, feeling the top of the towel she’s wrapped in, exploring her new world. Her eyes scrunch up, and she smacks her little lips together. She’s perfect. She’s our Grace Isobel.

So have a birth plan – apparently, sometimes things do go how you want. (Although I’ve yet to speak to any actual real human being for whom this has been the case) Just don’t get your heart set on it. Grace my not have floated up towards me from an “aqueous pool of calm” but she was safe and healthy and that’s what matters. (I’m mentally and physically scarred for life of course, but whatever.)

All I can say is, when I found that plan in my hospital bag a few days after we’d got her home, it provided a good laugh if nothing else!  

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18 Comments

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18 responses to ““Water birth, please!”

  1. I totally love this story. I really hope you will write the next part- Grace’s first visitor. Feel so emotional now xXx

  2. Pingback: All the best laid plans « ghostwritermummy

  3. I am an actual real human being 🙂 I had my first baby abroad and didn’t make a written plan; however, for number two my NHS baby (!) I had a side and a half of A4 and had a lovely home waterbirth though I did have to take time between contractions to insist my midwife who I had never met before actually read the damn thing in which she had no interest. And it was fortunate I was compos mentis afterwards as I spotted them preparing the Vit K injection which my birth plan clearly stated I didn’t want! For number three I had a lovely independent midwife who knew me – no written instructions required.
    I guess my take on it is it is good to prepare one, if only to ensure you think through what is important to you – but be realistic that yes, emergencies happen, plans change, and sometimes people are just not interested 🙂

  4. What a great post. Thanks to @susurem for recommending this blog.

    I laughed, I cried. What more could I ask for in a blog post?

    And for the record, I forgot to take my birth plan with me to hospital.

  5. Fantastic post!
    My first i wanted it serene, no drugs, and and minimum people. i got pretty much the same as you.
    My second i wanted all the drugs and loads of help and got left with DP through most and only gas and air. which was pure agony and i screamed loudly all the way through.
    but like you said when they appear the pain, fustration and tiredness all disappear while you sit and marvel at the tiny, wrinkled blood covered thing that you created!
    its truly a strange and amazing experience!

  6. I didn’t write one…Tori was 9 days early, I’d only graduated from Uni 4 days earlier and it was sort of on my to-do-list.

    They did have the radio playing in my delivery room though – I liked having the distraction…(incidentally, Tori was born in the middle of Alphabeat’s Fascination. Cheese anyone?)

    Love this post 😀 xx

  7. Loving all this feedback – thanks girls! So interesting hearing what everyone went through. Lisa – sound like you had an interseting time of things!!! Mme L, what a lovely comment. And Carole – haven’t got that flippin song out my head sine I read your reply . . . aaahhh! 😀 x

  8. Oh my word, it sounds remarkably like mine, apart from the chicken thing (being veggie & hating cats!). I did have a fit of the giggles with the gas and air, but it wasn’t taking the edge off the pain. I don’t really remember much until I was being given my second epidural (possibly a spinal-block, I was being prepped for a c-section) due to the pethidine. Likewise I was a little astounded with a baby being shown to me! And I also ordered “Go with him” to my husband. The only difference is that I didn’t write a birth plan aside from no pethidine, which my midwife, in her infinite wisdom, ignored!

  9. Love the story! I too was going through the same experience on the same day! I didnt have a birth plan (being in Spain it was going to be difficult communicating with them as it was). My only ‘ask’ before I went in was give me all the drugs possible please – WHAT? you dont have gas and air in Spain! epidural or nothing was the option. I was induced and the little bugger wanted to come faster than the anaethetist would be able to come and administer the epidural so I had no drugs and 15 stitches! (not by choice!) ouch

  10. Gemma

    Love this post and can totally identify with it! With my first, the birth plan included no epidural, waterbirth, skin to skin, active labour etc. In reality I spent the whole labour on my back strapped to a monitor, resulting in epidural (which didn’t work) and emergency c-section under general anaesthetic. Actually the one and only thing on my birth plan that actually happened was that Lilly was given vitamin K by mouth (which turned out to be the only way the hospital give it, anyway).
    Ho hum!
    No birth plan for the second just “something better than a section under general anaesthetic”. Pleased to say I managed to achieve that one!

  11. Really enjoyed reading this – you had me in stitches re Bruce F and asking about your chicken! Very touching post. Has brought back lots of memories for me too. We actually lost my birth plan when I was in labour and found it after the big event, and everything that happened was the opposite of what I wanted. As you say though, all worth it for a healthy baby.

  12. Love this post, best laid plans and all that! For my second child I actually laughed at the midwife when she asked if I had a birth plan, I said to her we both know that’s not worth the paper it’s written on! She agreed.

    Thanks for joining in and sharing this with the Maternity Matters Meme xxx

  13. This is brilliant. I laughed out loud at Brucey and chicken! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful Mummy story x

  14. found you via the meme.
    a really interesting and well written post.
    and i do find it funny that often midwives read birth plans, whilst obstetricians simply don’t, and often laugh in the face of them! 😉
    i had my lovely home water birth second time round. (hospital induction etc the first)
    i think it is worth making a plan though, as they say, shoot for the moon and if you miss you’ll be among the stars.
    x

  15. I wrote a plan but went into labour over three weeks early so hadn’t printed it out. Other than that I wasn’t allowed to go to the midwife-led centre, I did actually pretty much get what I wanted: no intervention, no drugs, immediate skin to skin. Can’t complain really…

  16. i love this post so much! Thanks for linking up for Maternity Matters, really appreciate all your online and real life support!
    XxX

  17. Another one here who can totally relate to this story. I definitely think birth plans are a waste of time. No one knows what will happen when you go into labour. Some women insist on a home birth and are adamant about it, yet they forget that often complications can arise and a hospital birth is all they will get.

    And let’s face it, it isn’t going to make the baby be any different is it!

    CJ xx

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