May 15, 2023
The best birth plan one could have is honestly none at all or simply structuring two versions, depending the way your birth goes. I’m currently two months postpartum from my first pregnancy and looking back at my experience I was able to enjoy my birthing outcome even though it was not one I planned. To be honest I went with the whole 50/50 mentality that it could either be a vaginal birth or cesarean. Throughout my pregnancy I was on the “High Risk” list until I was thirty-six weeks! I had low-lying placenta at eighteen weeks, spent a week in the hospital at twenty six weeks with pre-term labor and wasn’t allowed to work out and do very minimal activity early on. If you know me, weight training and staying active is my go-to. I was in tip-top shape before I got pregnant and just over all healthy. I had imagined being one of those ladies who was doing all the workouts on the daily, showing her bump while she did her squats and on and on. I had this idea of how great it was going to be pregnant but still doing my normal activity. Guess what? Pregnancy doesn’t give a SH*T about what you thought it was going to be. Early on with the low-lying placenta I was already told to limit a lot of high intensity activity, but was able to carry on with walks, barre and yoga type movement. Then as I approached my twenty sixth week, I got dehydrated, went into labor and was limited to only walking after I recovered from that eventful week.
I do want to point out that all the fitness prior was still a helpful advocate in being able to overcome my preterm labor. The doctors and nurses said my health played a big part in not having to deliver early, so please no matter what don’t disregard your health.
All these mishaps prepared me for my birth. Once I got into my last ten weeks I began to just think less and less of the fear of what my birth was going to be and just focused on my last days with my husband, family and friends. Afterall life was about to change, for the better, as we know it. I settled with the thought that my low-lying placenta was never going to move up and I would have to endure a cesarean after all. I occupied any potential worry by researching fitness personnel that specialized in c-section recovery and made calendars and lists of ways to “bounce back”. My version of bounce back is simply to feel energetic and mobile and that always motivates me to get back to it postpartum. It eliminated my worries the best it could and of course I always carry the quote “To worry is to suffer twice” with me and it helps me compartmentalize stressful or fearful thoughts. To my surprise at thirty-six weeks I was cleared of any danger of my placenta and was able to delivery vaginally! I was beyond happy to know there was no more risk involved in my pregnancy, but in the back of my head something kept telling me to not let go of the preparations I had made for a C-Section. Fast forward to forty weeks and I’m just reaching one centimeter dilated and no cervical changes, should this go on another week then induction would happen. I tried just about everything and anything that was cleared by my doctor to do to increase my body to go naturally. It didn’t, not it the slightest. It was a shock to them because given the preterm labor they thought I would go at thirty-four weeks! My baby was very cozy in my womb, I guess.
I had my bags packed for three weeks, but one thing I did do was pack “Two Types” of outfits to go home in. One was made for vaginal birth and the other a c-section. I still had in my mind that it could be any outcome, I tried to make a birth plan but really it was simple. I will want to stay hydrated with an IV, possibly consider an epidural should A) the pain be unbearable and B) if I were to have an emergency C-Section then the epidural would be prepped, and I wouldn’t run the risk of being completely put to sleep and missing my child enter this world. Did you know that was a possibility? One of my close friend’s sister, Jackie, is an anesthesiologist and she told me about this, because she asked me if I was considering an epidural. I told her I was open to it, even though I was petrified of needles. She then explained to me that one benefit of it after I told her how I wasn’t sure which way my birth was going to go.
I have a ton of doctors in my family, and while I know we all wish for the most natural of births, remember that they do this all the time and if you have communicated with your OB throughout your pregnancy and feel confident with them, hear what they have to say. My doctor always let me have a choice in what the process was going to be with Induction and if it didn’t work then all the steps for C-Section. Knowledge is power and in this I understood why things worked or didn’t work. I think we know where I’m hinting about my birth outcome. I will say that my water did break with the first initial medicine that helped soften the cervix, I did get up to 7cm after some hours after Pitocin, I had waited 13 hours or so before I got the epidural and when the time came to decide, I was still offered more hours to see if any changes would happen, before officially going through with a c-section. It was seven at night the next day and no cervical changes had happened. I had to get off Pitocin because it began to stress the baby out. My OB was still open and letting me wait to see if my body would dilate for the next several hours, but the thought of my baby already dealing with stress and not being in an emergency situation yet, I decided I would much rather proceed with the C-Section than risking being in a setting where the baby could go under more strain and rush the whole process. I of course cried and my OB, husband and everyone in the room was kind and comforting in this moment. I never once felt pressured or stressed in my choice to move forward. There was a sense of peace knowing that I would be able to meet my baby in a matter of what felt like minutes.
With the epidural in place the numbing process was done with ease, even know I funny enough pleaded to the anesthesiologist “ Please PLEASE don’t let me feel anything”, lol, I mean duh that’s the magic they provide, but I think knowing I was going to be awake was insane to me and thought the worst for a second as they were about to wheel me to the next room.
I’m now in the center of the room, they add more medication to calm me down and to also calm the shakes that one gets in labor. They provide warm blankets on me from my chest up, Red Hot Chilli Peppers is playing softly in the overhead speaker and my focus is on my husband as the rest of my body is blocked with a blue sheet. Before I knew it, they had already begun making their way. You don’t feel anything, but you do feel your body being moved around, if that makes sense. Next thing I knew, my OB was cheering at the sight of my son’s head saying “Oh my what a big baby”. She also explained how far in he was, maneuvering him to get him out. At this point all I wanted to hear was his cry since I couldn’t see anything, and then it happened. I heard the most beautiful cry. My baby boy was here, safe and warm and all I felt was peace. I believe in miracles, and this was one of those moments where you have full proof of one happening right before your eyes. All the stress and worries of the past nine months disappeared. All you are fixated on is the disbelief of this beautiful child in your arms, they are yours and you are theirs. Nothing else matters.
So in the end of the birth experience the most valuable advice I can give you in this process, in your birth plan, is to be flexible and open. Understand all the different ways a vaginal and c-section can be experienced. Have that open dialogue with your OB. Feel confident for any outcome and I promise you that you will be happy no matter what happens, the main focus is to make sure you and your baby are safe and healthy. That’s it.
This was my birth plan, this is my birth story.
Written by: Carolina Pozo Peruyera @caropozo
May 31, 2023