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Take Your Birth Plan and Light it on Fire

I wrote this a year ago and never posted it. There was too much pain and guilt that surrounded it. I hadn’t fully processed it. Today I had a long conversation with a new friend, she had a very similar experience and it gave the chance to process it and the courage to post it.

Disclaimer: I’m not saying don’t have a birth plan. Totally write one out and stick to it if you can. I’m saying that when people tell you to keep an open mind, do it. I didn’t. So many people told me not to be so fixated on what I wanted, but I didn’t listen. You can only control so much of what will happen in a a delivery room.

Almost a month ago, I went into the hospital to be induced. This was the first thing going wrong in my birth plan. Two weeks prior I had gone in for a doctor appointment and my doctor nonchalantly handed me my induction date. We had discussed this earlier in the pregnancy due to chronic hypertension. However, it had never been mentioned again so I figured we were doing it all natural and waiting. Wrong.

The evening I went in I was a bundle of nerves. I had stressed myself out so much. I had read too much about being induced online. I had worked myself up. We checked-in at the hospital and they got us into our labor and delivery room and started prepping me. They checked vitals and everything else. My temperature was hovering around 99 degrees the whole time. Something was off. The lovely nurse who was with me that night then tried putting my IV in and blew up the first vein. Everything was off to a great start. She couldn’t find a vein in my arm so she ended up putting it in the back of my hand which was painful and made it impossible to do anything with my right hand. Carlos and I tried sleeping that night and I waited for the medicine to start my contractions.

They started the next morning after they started me on Pitocin. At first these were fine, a little painful but not bad. I got my new nurse in the morning, the nurse who I needed more than anything that day. She was a sweet older woman. My plan was to go all natural aside from the induced labor. Around 11am, I had my first painful contraction. I thought I was fine, but my heart rate set alarms of. It went up to over 200. My nurse came in and was shocked, she held my hand and asked what scared me. I said I wasn’t sure. That is when we all decided collectively that I was going to do an epidural. Though I wasn’t yet feeling physical pain from contractions, but my body wasn’t handling them well. I needed to do something that would keep myself and my yet to be born son safe.

They sent me my second angel, the first being the nurse. This one was David, the anesthesiologist. He calmed my nerves, explained everything to me. He then assuaged my guilt for getting an epidural. He reminded me that medical improvements have made give birth safer. That an epidural isn’t this evil thing people make it out to be. That if epidurals existed when the cavemen were around, they would have chosen it to. His calm, kind demeanor helped tremendously.

I labored all day. My nurse was determined for me to give birth during her shift, she wanted to be with me. Luca had other plans. Throughout my labor everyone kept saying “He’s sunny side up” and my husband and I kept asking what they meant. They told us he was facing up and we asked what that meant for him or for me and no one would answer. Looking back I’m sure they just didn’t want to stress me out. My doctor came to visit me twice, and during both those times she was absolutely horrible to this sweet nurse who really was taking on quite the motherly role with me. I was frustrated. At the end of that nurses shift she sat with me a long time and the nhanded me off to a sweet younger nurse who was training another nurse too.

Around 10pm I was finally dilated enough and those lovely nurses were doing everything they could to try to get Luca to flip over. At 11pm, the doctor on duty came in. That’s when she dropped the bombshell that we would probably be looking at a c-section. I started sobbing, no one had mentioned this to me before. I had never even had a major surgery. I lost it. The doctor looked at me and said “Why are you upset? Why are you crying?” Immediately I hated her. The nurses weren’t pleased with her either, I could tell. I told the doctor I wanted to keep trying and she said “Well, let me know when you get tired of trying” and left. I tried for a while longer, but felt broken. 30 minutes later this horrible doctor sent in some assistant who said, “She wants to know if she’s done trying yet.” I broke completely. I told those sweet nurses I couldn’t do it anymore. I sobbed until I couldn’t cry anymore.

David came back, to give me more stuff for the c-section. Local anesthesia among other things. He talked me through the c-section, calmed me down. Helped Carlos get ready to also go in with me to the surgery, talked us through everything, When we got to the operating room, David still was with us. On my right side, making sure I was ok. Telling me what was happening to my body, I was shaking uncontrollably, I thought I was cold but I guess it was adrenaline from some drug they had given me. At one point the curtain had slipped and I could the operation happening in the reflection of the light fixture above me. It was a lot to witness… luckily David once again saw what had happened and fixed the curtain. Within minutes my son was out, and Carlos was holding him. They brought him to me so I could see him and then they both disappeared while I was sewn up.

My husband said it felt like forever until I was wheeled into the recovery unit. I was finally able to hold my son. It was well after midnight and I was exhausted and starving. The sweet nurses sat with us in the recovery unit.

The next morning, my nurse from the day before, who was stationed in the labor and delivery unit came ot find me. She gave me a hug, she couldn’t help it and I was glad she did. It was mid pandemic, hugs weren’t a thing but she knew what I needed.

We ended up being in the hospital for 6 days because Luca was jaundiced. It was challenging. Every day they told us we couldn’t leave I would cry. I just wanted to go home. Had it not been for the amazing nurses, I don’t know what I would have done.

Giving birth is crazy beautiful, but there are major challenges that I feel are swept under the rug. Should you have a birth plan? Sure. Should you put all your hopes and dreams into that birth plan? Absolutely not.

Luca will be a year in a few days, so soon I will be sharing all the lessons I ave learned about myself in this first year of motherhood 🙂

Author:

I'm a teacher, wife, soon-to-be, first-time mom, and writer. I started writing when I was a kid, creating my own picture books and stories. As I've gotten older, I continue to story tell and write. I'm published on multiple websites and have one short story published in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. I'm passionate about DIY projects, baking, education, and social justice (not necessarily in that order).

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