The Birth Plan
Women have more control in the delivery room.
I love that women have so many choices when it comes to childbirth these days. We've come a long way even since the time that my mother gave birth to me in the 1970's. Today, women have some say over the direction that they want their child's birth to take.
If a mother wishes to have a water birth at home with a midwife by her side, she has that option. Those who would rather be in a hospital and settle into a lovely epidural during labor have that option as well.
With the trend of parents writing a birth plan, a woman can feel secure that her wishes will be acknowledged as her labor progresses. More and more husbands are playing the role of supportive coach to their wives, and it's very common to see men wandering the halls of a maternity ward.
My mom didn't have the luxury of writing out a birth plan when she had me. Her plan was to do whatever her obstetrician instructed her to do. Women had very little say on how things unfolded in the delivery room. Husbands were not allowed to be present when their child was born.
More often than not, the mother was all alone. Some of the time, she was even knocked out so that she wouldn't get "hysterical" when it came time to push. Once the baby arrived, the newborn was swept off to the nursery and the mom had access to her little one when the nurse carried the bundle of joy to her for a visit.
See what I mean? We've come a long way since those days. I haven't even begun to scratch the surface on what giving birth was like for women in the many generations before that.
Perhaps it is those horror stories that have made my generation of women more adamant that they have control over how the birth of their child unfolds. When I was admitted to the hospital, I handed the nurse on duty my birth plan like it was the Bible.
My wishes were for a medication free birth that would be given plenty of time to move along naturally. As labor progressed, I was shocked to find that I had to constantly defend and protect those wishes. The threat of administering Pitocin (a synthetic oxytocin that is given to induce birth) was constantly looming as my labor stalled.
I grappled with the fact that I might not have been able to pull off a natural birth after all. It seemed like a huge task to accomplish. I finally surrendered to the fact that I was actually in very little control of how my baby came into the world and that the important thing was that he arrived safely. My birth plan was practically tossed out the window. In the end, it was 31 hours of labor, Pitocin, and an epidural (that I begged for) that delivered my baby to my arms.
I learned so much about the art of surrender that day. When it came time to give birth to my second son, I made better choices to achieve the birth that I wanted. I had a midwife instead of an OB, I had a doula present to champion for me, and an open mind to be willing to not fight how my labor unfolded. I achieved a natural birth in 4 hours, a far cry from my first experience.
Honestly though, once I held my baby in my arms, it didn't matter how he got there. We are all mothers, whether we have a C-section, an epidural, use Pitocin, or catch our baby with our own two hands.
Did any parents out there have a birth plan? Did your child's arrival happen the way that you envisioned? Did you feel as if you had a say in what happened in the delivery room? Please share your thoughts an experiences in the comments.