I thought that I had made the perfect plan for the birth of my baby. BG was due on
4th November and as a school teacher, it worked that I could work until 38 weeks and then start my maternity leave at the October half term – making the most of maternity leave & maternity pay!
A few people thought I was mad for not wanting to go on maternity leave sooner but I was adamant that this was MY plan.
As far as my actual birth plan went, I knew I wanted to go to the Birthing Centre rather than the Labour Ward and I knew I did not want a water birth. I wanted gas & air and no epidural and under no circumstances other than an absolute medical emergency would I be having a C-Section.
If you’ve read my other posts, you will know that BG had other plans. Close family and friends will all tell you that I do not cope well when there are unexpected, sudden changes to plans! I find it very stressful. I do not like the complete unknown. Don’t get me wrong, I knew that there would be some elements of giving birth that would potentially be unexpected and this I had planned for and made peace with. I had not, however, planned to have a premature baby.
I had Friday 30th September booked off work for my first NCT group with my 36 week check booked with the midwife the following Wednesday, where we would be discussing/formalising my birth plan.
I attended my NCT class and after the information given (there will be a separate post on some of the messages the NCT actually give out – whether intentionally or not later), I had decided – absolutely, positively no epidural; absolutely, positively no inductions; no pethidine; I would use gas & air only and I wanted to do skin-to-skin contact. This plan would ensure BG was here safe and sound.
At 5pm that evening, I stated to my husband that I felt ‘weird’. I had some stomach cramps and felt an awful amount of pressure (which I now know was my waters pushing on my cervix and my baby’s head fully engaged). He suggested calling the maternity triage for advice and the triage invited me in to have a checkover to put my mind at ease. Thinking nothing more of it, off we trundled, maternity notes in hand and my hand bag. No hospital bag. No baby equipment.
It transpired that I was in the early stages of pre-term labour. I was having contractions, not Braxton Hicks and I would be going up to the birth centre to be monitored. This was not the plan. BG wasn’t due for another month…
Overnight monitoring of contractions showed that it was ‘most’ systems go, but things were going very slowly. I was allowed pethidine, I maxed out my doses of that quite quickly. BG was engaged, pushing down, causing an immense amount of pressure and with that pain. I was 2-3cm dilated by this point and stayed that way for a while. I was very stressed, very tired and in a lot of pain. More to the point, on the Saturday, my husband and I were missing the NCT class where we learned together! We had no idea what was going on, we were in fact to a certain extent, winging it.
On the Sunday, a consultant made the decision to start the induction process with a propess, I would then have my waters broken after 24 hours and hopefully BG would then be on her way. Steroid injections were given as she was still a little early (and those by the way, were quite possibly the most painful injections I’ve ever had!). This was not the plan.
36 hours later, I was going in to have my waters broken.
I was exhausted by this point and in a lot of pain. Some rather heavy persuasion techniques were employed by the tag team of my midwife and my husband to persuade me to have an epidural. After about half an hour of arguing, I gave in and said yes – but only the smallest of doses, I wanted to be able to walk around. In went the epidural, up went the hormone drip, waters were broken and 10 hours later on the Tuesday BG entered the world. Happy, healthy and beautiful… but most definitely not to plan!
In the grand scheme of things, I came out of the experience relatively unscathed with just a couple of stitches and some grazing. We went home on the Wednesday and all was then right with the world.
But out of the mums I have spoken to, not one person has had their birth go exactly to their plan. It is good to have a plan, there are some great advice pages available online – and of course from your midwife – some of them can be found here:
It is worth planning for your birth not to go to plan. This is not intended to freak anyone out or frighten them about their own plans, but if I were to offer you one piece of advice it would be to have several contingency plans for your big day. Do your reading before hand, talk to your midwife, talk to friends that have had babies recently and get as much information as you possibly can.
Of course, there is every chance that your birth does go to plan and everything is wonderful, but just in case…