Throw your birthing plan out the window!

  • Have you finally made it to your last trimester and now thinking about your birthing plan?


    Well, just think about this for a minute… is your baby going to get to read your birthing plan?


    Hello, my name is Belinda and I am the Mum to a beautiful, yet very active, 2 year old boy.


    You may be asking yourself what qualification I have compared to your highly qualified midwive who is giving you the birthing plan homework to do. And you would be right, I don’t have a midwifery degree and I didn’t even go to uni, but I did have a baby that didn’t follow my birthing plan and I know of many women who have had the same experience. Sometimes in life, following the manual is the only way to go, but there are times when the manual ends up out the window!


    Why do I need a birthing plan?


    This is a fantastic question and one that should be taken very seriously. A birthing plan is how you see events taking place on the actual day of your baby’s arrival. You may have a detailed plan that outlines at what point you will chose to take the epidural or you may have a plan that involves a drug free birth no matter how bad it gets. All of these are great, because you need to know you are in control when the time comes. But, have you considered that maybe your baby has other ideas?

    Cast your mind back to the movie “Knocked Up”. (If you haven’t seen it, it is a must… and your partner will equally love it!). A birthing plan can be a great way to make a new Mum-to-Be feel comfortable in that she knows what to expect when the time comes, but I have also found it can be an added stresser when something all of a sudden goes aray and the show starts to go off track. Tensions rise and words that you didn’t even know you knew start to get thrown around and that’s when your birthing plan becomes public enemy number one. If you are too foccused on what “should” be happening instead of what “is” happening, you could cause yourself unnecessary anxt in what will be one of the most traumatic, yet euphoric, experiences of your life. So here’s my story.


    I had what you would call an easy pregnancy, no morning sickness, routine check ups and a baby that’s growth was always within days of his gestation age. (This may be why I have not gone back again!). My birthing plan as discussed with my midwives, was a drug free labour and birth and to give birth naturally. I had always planned to breasfeed and was very pro skin to skin time immediately after my baby was born to help with bonding.


    I went into labour a day after my due date and all was going along just swimmingly. Enter the pineapple! On the way to the hospital my contractions stopped, so upon arrival they gave me the drug to induce my labour to bring it back on. After my 3 minute long contraction that I later found out wasn’t suppose to happen and contractions every 2-3 minutes at 2cm dialiated (due to my over-sensitivity to the drug) I decided to start on the pain relieving drug regime. 19 hours later after my labour first started, it was time to push. 1.5 Hours of pushing only resulted in a very tired Mummy and a frustrated midwife who told me it was my fault my baby hadn’t come out yet! The foreceps were tried and after my baby’s heartrate dropped it was sign the c-section consent form. Queue the husbands “chat” with the doctor (aka “Knocked Up” style) and a few choice words in the corridor, I was taken to surgery for an emergency c-section.


    To add fuel to the fire, it turns out my over-sensitivity to drugs stopped at the epdidural as the maximum local anaesethic amount did not numb the area enough for the incision. Everyone out, we are putting her under a general anaesthtic to get this baby out. So, neither me nor my husband got to see the arrival of our baby boy and I woke up 1.5 hours later drugged up, exhausted after a 22 hour ordeal and in a world of pain!


    So, it was fair to say my birthing plan did not go to plan. My drug free labour turned into a drug fest, my dream of a natural delivery became an emergency c-section, my skin to skin time was taken away from me as I was unconscious and my dreams of breastfeeding my baby did not happen. There was not one part of me that even considered a c-section as an option or that it would even arise as a possibbilty given the routine pregnancy. As it turns out, my baby had flipped at some point between our last check up and the labour causing him to be back to back and as a result he had the umbilical cord wrapped around his middle, so no amount of pushing was going to get him out. He was never going to be born naturally.


    At the time, I started to feel like I had already failed. I didn’t want a drug fuelled labour, I didn’t want an emergency caesarian and I didn’t want to completely miss the birth of my son. But, if I had of followed my birth plan, my baby would have been in a world of hurt. The traumatic delivery had flow on effects with breast feeding (or the inability to) and baby attachment which has taken me a long time to get over and a story I will gladly share on another day. But in the end, I have a healthy little boy who doesn’t know what happened that day and all he knows is that Mummy and Daddy love him very much and he is our world. We are bonded and he even has a real attachment to his Daddy as he was the first person who held our son and bonded with him for the time I was in recovery.


    A birthing plan is still a great thing to have, but it is a good idea to have a plan B just in case so you are prepared. This might even help your mental and emotional recovery time after the birth as well.  In short, whatever your birthing plan is, try not to put an expectation on it that can’t be met. If you go in there with the plan to take home a beautiful little baby and you will succeed.


    Good luck with your birth and thank you for reading!


    Belinda xx


    Mum and Owner of Cute to Boot Baby Boutique


    Belinda is a stay at home Mum to a beautiful 2 year old son, and after recently giving up her full time career as a Property Manager, is now dedicated to raising after her son and her on-line baby shoe and accessory business - Cute to Boot. Married for 12 years, Belinda and her Husband live in Melbourne and are avid sports fans, following AFL, Soccer, Rugby and NFL. Belinda loves to help and is so pleased to be able to share her stories and experiences with you.

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