Okay, so at the advice of my brother, I am starting a blog. Assuming people will read this drivel, I will attempt to make it interesting…
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Hayley. I am a 32 year old mother of one very active and adorable toddler named Tyler, and wife to Shaun – a man who is so handsome and perfect in every way for me – that I moved from Boston, Massachusetts to Calgary, Alberta to be with him.
I’ve lived a few different lives in my 32 years on this planet… but my current incarnation is that of an ex-patriot, chronically exhausted, stay-at-home mom who refuses to sleep train her 1-year-old. I’m surviving on a delicious cocktail of Zoloft, coffee, refined sugars, avocado toast and baby D drops.
Let’s set this hot tub time machine to the Fall of 2015, shall we?
I had just watched The Business of Being Born and it’s sequel MORE Business of Being Born for the hundredth time and declared Gisele Bundchen my spirit animal on instagram. I was THAT first time pregnant lady, you know the one… nose in the air ignoring all the jaded mothers of yore, telling everyone I was going to have the perfect drug free vaginal birth. “I feel like I am mentally preparing for my marathon, or to be in the boxing ring… I mean, I know it’s going to HURT, but I’m just so excited for the challenge! Women have been doing it since the beginning of mankind” or my favorite “I’m pregnant, not sick, why should I treat pregnancy like a medical condition”
This was my actual birth plan:
Hayley & Shaun’s Birth Plan
Please Note: Hayley is Rh Negative (last rhogam shot was administered: __________)
- Vaginal Delivery if possible
- if a C section is deemed medically necessary:
- all other options must have been exhausted.
- Shaun is to stay with Hayley the entire time
- Hayley’s hands should be kept free to touch baby
- Shaun is to hold the baby ASAP
- Hayley is to breastfeed in recovery room
- if a C section is deemed medically necessary:
- Shaun present at all times.
- During Labor Hayley would like: music, low lighting, room as quiet as possible, as few interruptions as possible, as few vaginal exams as possible, hospital staff LIMITED to doctor and nurses (no students, residents or interns – please)
- Hayley would like to remain mobile for as long as possible, and have access to water (tub and/or shower)
- UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY: Hayley would like to refuse the following – an enema, shaving of pubic hair, urinary catheter, an IV unless dehydrated
- Fetal Monitoring is ONLY requested if baby is in distress.
- Hayley refuses all induction methods UNLESS ABSOLUTELY MEDICALLY NECESSARY and all natural induction methods have been exhausted.
- HAYLEY DOES NOT CONSENT TO AN EPISIOTOMY UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE – allow to tear naturally if need be. Apply warm compress, perineal massage and reposition as needed.
- Hayley would like to:
- push without time limits
- avoid forceps and vacuum
- PAIN METHODS IN PREFERED ORDER:
- Water (tub or shower)
- Breathing Techniques
- Cold Therapy
- Fentanyl (avoid unless absolutely necessary to maintain sanity)
- Epidural (avoid unless absolutely necessary for health and safety)
- Immediate skin to skin with Hayley
- DELAY CORD CLAMPING UNTIL IT HAS STOPPED PULSING
- Allow Shaun to cut the cord
- Allow baby to breastfeed as soon as possible
- Delay all of baby’s medical exams until after sufficient bonding time has been given.
- Please DO NOT give baby antibiotic eye treatment, sugar water, formula or a pacifier.
- Hayley will give baby his first bath.
- Hayley and Shaun want the baby with them in their room at all times and for baby to feed on demand, exclusively with breastmilk.
- IF BABY NEEDS TO BE IN THE NICU
- Hayley and/or Shaun needs to accompany
- baby is to be exclusively fed breastmilk – Hayley has a pump
- Hayley and Shaun need to be able to hold baby whenever possible
So after reading this all I can do is laugh. There is no other response I can muster. I’ve already felt a sense of loss, sadness, anger, guilt, etc. because literally NOTHING ON THIS LIST EVER HAPPENED! I went straight from triage for a fetal movement check to the operating room where my baby was delivered via C-Section and then sent to the NICU for 2 weeks. I mean… fuck. No wonder I am a basket case, right?
So today’s rant is dedicated to all the first time moms out there. The ladies who are terrified and excited. The women who believe they still have the tiniest shred of control over their destiny… my message to you is this, submit yourself. Relinquish yourself from expectations. Visualize a healthy baby. Visualize yourself being alive and well. Do not torture yourself with the details, because when the moment comes, things will happen the way they need to happen. I’m sorry if that isn’t what you want to hear. It sure as hell wasn’t something I wanted to hear in your position. I blocked that negativity right out of my life, and why shouldn’t I’ve done that? My actual pregnancy was amazing. I LOVED BEING PREGNANT. I felt so strong and beautiful. Aside from morning sickness, I had it pretty easy. My baby was healthy and active at every prenatal check up, and once my gestational hypertension started to pop up in the 3rd trimester, all my blood and urine tests were coming back weekly saying I was just fine. Nobody saw it coming when my perfectly healthy baby at the 36 week ultrasound ended up being IUGR and septic when he was born at 39 weeks at the onset of my pre-eclampsia. Ugh, it was such a shit show.
A c-section is not the worst case scenario, death is. I was still able to breastfeed my son (still going strong at 54 weeks!), we have a strong bond and he is just as smart as can be.
So I try to keep perspective… a year ago I was grieving not having that magical vaginal birth. Today I am playing kissy kissy with a healthy and happy 1 year old survivor. We both survived, and ultimately THAT is the ideal outcome, is it not?