If Only I’d Known . . .
If only I’d known that in preparation for birth, the act of writing a birth plan does not guarantee you that birth. That by putting your wishes into writing, you are in fact only providing requests, and not – as I seemed to think – cementing fate. Here’s what was on my beautifully crafted, painstakingly put together plan:
• Water birth please (hence the name of the blog.)
• Low lighting.
• Only those absolutely necessary present.
• I shall provide my own music (??!!)
• Immediate Skin to skin.
• No episiotomy.
• No drugs.
“Thank goodness I have had the forethought to inform the medical staff on how to deliver my baby”, thinks I, as I tuck the crisply folded plan neatly into my hospital bag.
What I actually ended up with was:
• Loads of drugs
• An episiotomy
• A brightly lit theatre with legs akimbo and what felt like the entire cast of Holby faffing about down there.
• No music.
It all started to go a bit pear-shaped when I was told I’d have to be induced, and the nurse couldn’t get a needle into 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 contractions do sting a bit after all.) 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.
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.
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.
Post baby? If only I’d known to use anti-stretch mark cream on my bust as well as my belly!
This post is Waterbirthplease’s entry into the Aptaclub “If Only I’d Known . . . ” competition