"More Than Your Plan"
By Janet Wilt
With my firstborn, I was petrified of a natural birth. I told myself 6cm and then I'll get the epidural. For a first baby, she was a piece of cake. I got to 6cm, went through transition while getting my epidural, and actually pushed on a whim while I couldn't feel my legs. The episiotomy wasn't scary. I smiled the entire time, cracking jokes like it was no big deal. I had my daughter without feeling a thing. I thought it was ideal.
Two years down the road, I wanted the same for my son.
But in the back of my mind, I always wondered if I was missing out on a "real birth experience." Was I missing out on knowing the feeling of something women have been doing for centuries without pain relievers?
I was scared. I was terrified. I don't like being or feeling vulnerable or weak. So I decided I wanted the same path my daughter took with my son.
At the end of the day, it's not about your plan. It's about their plan.
I waited around my home for my contractions to be closer to hospital admission standards - just like I did with my daughter. I told my husband - don't let me get the epidural before 6cm - just like I did with my daughter.
This wasn't my daughter.
When we arrived at the hospital and went into triage, I was already 6cm dilated. Labor had progressed quicker than I anticipated. I had painful back labor. I became the woman that walks into the hospital in labor and demands "give me the drugs."
That was the plan.
When we moved into a laboring suite, the nurses did their best to draw blood, send it over to be analyzed so I could get my precious epidural. All the while, someone else was leading the charge. This little boy was moving on. 9.5cm dilated. I had transitioned and there wasn't time to have an epidural - I was having a baby.
This wasn't the plan.
Fear. Pure terror and fear. I felt weak and helpless. "This wasn't the plan," I moaned as if that would have convinced my body otherwise.
But maybe it was meant to happen this way. I now know the strength and power of my body. I was able to feel every stretch, every pull, and every victorious push until I was able to deliver my son directly onto my chest.
Immediately after his birth, I felt... alive. I mean, I was ecstatic with my daughter but I was so concerned about moving around and I felt fragile. What a difference! After his birth, I wanted to hop up and be as involved as I could. The amount of sheer adrenaline I had coursing through my veins was incomparable. I truly felt all the rush of being a superhero mother.
I am enormously thankful my son was headstrong and wanted to come out according to his own plan. I now have two wonderful experiences to be able to share with my children. With my daughter, I learned to make a plan and take my time. With my son, I learned to roll with the punches when the plan changes and trust my own strength. Who knew two little babies could teach their own mama such valuable life lessons?