The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Birth Plan

Birth Plan

When I gave birth to my first son six years ago there was a push to create a birthing environment that the mother had control over.

I had no experience giving birth so I read voraciously on the topic to stay educated. In each book I read, the author suggested I have a “birth plan” that detailed what I wanted to take place during the birthing process.

So, being the overly-analytical and organized person that I was prior to having kids --- I literally wrote the plan:

1) Play relaxing music,
2) Arrange pillows brought from home around back, belly, etc.,
3) Walk around the hospital in early labor to minimize the pressure and pain; possibly get in the bath,
4) Assume “natural” birthing position,
5) Get epidural when pain becomes too much, breathe, relax, have my husband hold my hand and rub my feet.

I brought the paper to the hospital to share with the nurses and doctors the night before giving birth when I was checked in to be induced due to high blood pressure. I re-read it just before I packed it into my hospital bag and thought it looked great.

However, early the following morning, after the induction process began, I quickly started to mentally cross things off the plan:
1) Forgot to bring relaxing music that I wouldn’t be able to hear anyway because of all the people running around and machines making noise in the room,
2) Pillows from home were now useless even at home because of weird smelly hospital substance that made me feel like vomiting when they were near,
3) Walking would be tough with this IV attached to me for testing positive for Strep.

So far I was zero for three. The odds were not in favor of the plan. I had two more key plan expectancies and these were the ones that really mattered.

Then the pain started.

By early afternoon I finally rated the pain a “three” on a scale of one to ten which enabled me to get the epidural. Bring on plan item four. I absorbed the pain by moving into the natural birthing position. With the nurse’s help, I scooted down the bed for awhile which was slightly helpful for the pain (or it could have been the epidural finally kicking in). No telling how long I was in that position, but it was suddenly having the opposite effect of relief. Oh shit, now plan item four was looking to be a bust, too. I needed to be “topped off” with epidural as the staff termed it. I was thinking, 'Screw the fact that you left any room of drug liquid gold to top off in the first place.'

Go to plan item five, go to plan item five! It wasn’t working. Nobody was helping me relax. I must have been immune to this stupid drug and my husband was chewing somebody out because I was screaming in a LOT of pain.

Where was the foot rub?

The nurse kept telling me that there was no way the epidural wasn’t working and kept testing my feeling with a piece of ice on my leg. Raised to be polite, I humored her. “Can you feel this?” as she touched my leg gingerly with the ice. “Yes.” Touched my belly, “Can you feel this?” Less patiently, I responded, “Yes.” By now I wanted to rip the ice out of her hand and shove it in her eye.

Where was that stupid plan?

I should have written more rules like if the staff doesn’t believe you, let every measure be taken to make them believe. Again, “Can you feel this?” Okay, now it was just annoying. I had to make her stop in some way that didn’t get me sent to jail immediately after my baby was born. I lifted one supposedly numbed leg and then the other. Finally, she stopped with the ice.

Did she not read the plan? I put it on the bedside for everyone to refer to. Holy shit this was hurting.

Finally, the anesthesiologist showed up and tipped me forward noticing that the “natural” birthing position carefully listed as plan item four ripped the epidural out of my back.

Just in time to push.

I hate the plan which I now hope is stuck to gum on the bottom of someone’s shoe or maybe my husband found it and burned it in the smoking room when he went to yell at the staff and begged the anesthesiologist to put me out of my misery caveman style by hitting me over the head with his medical encyclopedia.

As he and the doc discussed my condition in front of me while I was trying to get this huge baby out, the possibilities of a C-section due to 1. depleting oxygen to my baby, 2. size of said baby, 3. size of mother who had been in labor so very long 4. and who knew what else? -- I wrote my own number six.

I looked the doctor in the eye and said, “Get it the fuck out!”

A big needle was administered, not over my head, but right where you never want to think of a big needle going into or a bowling ball coming out.

For my second birth I wrote the following plan:

1) Please get it the fuck out -- however you can.

By Jennifer O’Shaughnessy


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omg - this is spot on. i CRINGE when i think of my birth plan -- i actually sent mine to a couple friends i thought i'd want there, with ideas on how they could participate. i CRINGE, i tell you!

i definitely didn't know what i was going to experience. but maybe that's the first lesson of motherhood, huh?

i think my second birth plan had fewer details. other than 'expect lots of pain' it was 'chill and have baby wherever it happens.'

thanks for opening old wounds ;)
Loved this Jennifer! My first babe arrived 7 weeks early and I was just grateful to have a healthy babe. Same day by coincidence a colleague had a scheduled caesarean and she was truly pissed that the "birth plan" didn't go exactly as she expected. Oh to try to control Mother Nature!
Oh yes... to have a birth plan or to not have a birth plan?? That is the question!!!

Thanks to you, my sis and others my birth plan was simple for my one and only child.... "give me the f---in' drugs"!!!!! And that almost didn't happen as he was coming out like a freight train...thank god for the double epidural.
This CRACKED me up! As with all good humor, it is funny when it's true!
Crazy. How nice of them to use ice to test if you could feel anything. For some reason the nurse/anesthesiologist used a plastic card and scratched the f___ out of my hip to see if I could feel anything. They then rolled me over to find out that the needle was pulled out. Good times. Loved your story. christine
Oh my gosh, Jen! You crack me up! I love the way you ended this. I think this should go in any baby/pregnancy book - labeled "Real Life" !

Love it!!!

I wrote out my birth plan too, which of course was useful only to annoy the nurses who read it.

Loved it!

Hilarious! I loved it.

I try to leave a comment everytime and fail miserably.

Hopefully it works this time.

Can you say Web Developer?


Love June
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