The birth I planned vs the birth I got!

I was pretty clear, following our adult education course at our local hospital of the birth I hoped for. It was all going to be very simple. I had no interest in opiates. My plan was to go into labour spontaneously, pain relief would be by gas and air, I wanted to labour in a pool, I wanted delayed cord cutting, a good amount of skin to skin immediately after birth and we’d be home in a few hours……!

I’m glad I attended the course, glad I had a plan and also very glad that a friend told me to write the plan and never think about it again, it’s all about expectation management.

My birth ended up being very different from what I imagined and once I was over the initial shock of having to go with a different plan, it all went quite well. I hope that sharing my story might better prepare some other first time mums.

I only read one book about birth (mainly because it was given to me by a friend!):

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

I felt it prepared me well for the natural birth I would be having (!!) and it gave me the confidence to know that my body was designed to do this… I didn’t need to read anything else.

The rough overview of how my labour played out:

T+7 Sweep
T+10 Sweep
T+12 Induction begun (Tuesday)
3 x gels (12:00, 18.00, 7:30 weds)
Assisted membrane rupture 13:30
Put onto synotcin 17:00
Labour progressing very slowly and contractions affecting baby’s heartbeat
Internal fetal heartbeat monitoring (clip on babies head)
Epidural 19:45
Finally things get going, dose of syntocin increased gradually
Fully dilated and ready to go at 00:03
Baby arrived at 00:22 (forceps)

So, process began Tuesday and baby finally arrived just into Thursday. Nothing like I planned/hoped and I had to come to terms with the change very early on. I was told after being given the first gel, that due to the monitoring I would need, I would not be able to labour in a pool. I also remembered the “cascade of intervention” that had been discussed and making the decision to have an epidural which I knew could very well lead to an emergency C section was difficult. Looking back it was definitely the right decision.

I’m glad I didn’t go down the pethidine/diamorphine route, and glad that I had learned about all of the options on our course.

I felt very well looked after all the way through my labour, through shift changes, quite a lot of intervention and 2 rather sleepless nights! When we go for baby number two, I would still have exactly the same plan, but would at least be slightly more prepared to change it when I needed to.

One thing I have recently learned about is the “Birth Afterthoughts” service offered by lots of hospitals. This is a chance for women who would like to reflect upon their birth experience (particularly helpful if it was traumatic). You can review your notes, which hopefully will give closure  on any of the issues you had.

Hope reading this might help you feel more relaxed, and ready, knowing that if changes to your plan are necessary the most important thing is yours and your babies health.

Good luck x




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