The best plan is often no plan

So, the internet keeps telling me that I need a birth plan or the doctor will remove my baby from my body using all kinds of horrible, unnecessary interventions.  The horror.

Have you heard about this new concept of “birth rape“?  I find the terminology heinously offensive, but it’s an interesting concept.  The example cited in the linked article is horrible, but really, rape (and that’s the most extreme case I could find)?  It feels demeaning to a rape victim to compare a doctor finishing a cervical check when a woman freaks out part way through.  Which isn’t to say that a traumatic birth experience should be ignored, but I’m really struggling with how offensive I find the terminology.

As for me, I trust my doctor with my life and my baby’s life.  If I didn’t then I would find a new doctor (which you may recall I did earlier in pregnancy).  If she (or her partner, I intentionally chose a clinic with only two doctors so I would know who was delivering my child) says it’s time for a c-section, I’m going to do it.  I realize she will suggest one earlier because of my bicornuate uterus, but I trust her to know better than me to make that call.  No, I don’t want major abdominal surgery, but a healthy baby is more important than having some magical ideal birth experience.  And I’m lucky to be having a baby at all.

Currently my plan on drugs (and well, everything) during labor is to wait and see.  I have some serious apprehension about the whole needle in my spine thing (there are some major nerves back there!), but if it hurts enough I’m sure I’ll get over that fear pretty damn quick.  If I’m lucky, I’ll be like my mother and grandmother and shoot this kid out too fast to really bother with an epidural (not that they had the option, but they did have their babies fast).  I’m not going to assume I know anything about how much this will hurt because, well, I don’t.  And I assume Kara and Mandy both know what they are talking about when they say I won’t be worried about a needle in the back at a certain point.

I would rather avoid pitocin, forceps, and the vacuum extractor because they can cause issues for the baby, but again, I’m not the obstetrician with years of experience and I won’t really have a great view to tell what is going on down there.  Actually, I haven’t been able to see most of my lower body in quite a long time.

I think one of the really frustrating things about the internet/motherhood is the superiority some women have about their decisions when it comes to birth and child rearing.  This whole process is terrifying enough without feeling constantly judged by other women.  Sure, in my perfect world I have a drug-free, intervention-free labor and delivery, breastfeed for a year, and love being a stay at home mom, but life isn’t always what you hope for.  Did you know there are support groups for women who need c-sections?  I know I’ve felt like there’s something wrong with me that I might need a c-section, and that’s pretty effed up.  I never had any guilt or felt like less of a person for needing my tonsils out (truthfully, I was ecstatic when they took those suckers out because I had permanently hypertrophied tonsils and they sucked).

And on the topic of breastfeeding, why are women so damn mean to each other about it?  Sure, breastfeeding is general healthier, but frankly, formula feeding is not a public health concern, so I don’t see how that is any of my business.  And no mother should ever feel like a failure or a bad person because breastfeeding doesn’t work out.  It happens.  A lot.

So yes, we are skipping the child birth class (at the advice of multiple people and my OB). I’ve expressed my preferences for certain situations, but that’s all they are.  If things don’t go that way, then my world won’t end and I’ll still have my baby at the end.  Of course, I am signing a medical power-of-attorney for my husband just in case he needs to use it.  You never know when you might end up unable to make a medical decision for yourself.

Letting go of “the plan” is just about the hardest thing in the universe for my Type A self. Birth, like life, is messy and unpredictable.



About Sarah S @RunningOnWords

Married 20-something in flux and trying to cope by running and occasionally crafting.
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13 Responses to The best plan is often no plan

  1. I think I’ve already said enough how terrified of the birthing process I am but I have to admit – I’d probably be like you in the same situation. I pretty much do everything by the seat of my pants.

  2. I think that is the best attitude to go into labor with. It is always good to be flexible. Oh, and I was scared of the epidural too but it ended up being no big deal and I was soooo glad I got it :).

  3. Christina says:

    I didn’t have a birth plan, either. I figured I’d be enough of a pain in the ass without making all the nurses read my naive ideas of how things should proceed. Women love to overcomplicate things, and giving birth is no exception. You go to the hospital, you have a baby. There’s enough to stress about without trying to stick to a birth plan. Nice decision.

  4. aprilvak says:

    That is completely offensive. Now we’re equating rape with bad customer service? I guess AT&T better watch out. Obviously, and fortunately for them, no one using that terminology has actually been raped.

    I don’t know how you do it. I’m gonna have to put on huge Internet blinders when I’m pregnant.

  5. Army Amy says:

    You sound pretty zen about the “no plan” plan. I think that’s a great approach because so many things will be out of your control.

    It’s pretty jacked that there is so much pressure and judgement around childbirth. In my eyes, you are pretty baller no matter how you get the kid out!*

  6. Congrats, Sarah – I think you’ve made a great decision! I don’t know for sure what I’d do, but I bet it’s pretty similar. I really dislike all the hype and judgement of the internetz, too. And, as I’m finding out being a caregiver for my Dad, you can plan all you want to, but the Universe usually has it’s own ideas, anyway. The best preparation is to be ready to roll with whatever your handed, if you ask me!

  7. Terzah says:

    Once again I totally and absolutely agree with you. I knew very early that I was going to have a c-section (and was relieved NOT to have to take birthing classes or create a “birth plan”). I also never saw how I gave birth, or whether it was some kind of spiritual experience, as the point of all of this. What I wanted was to have children–all the rest of it was a means to that end.

  8. Kara says:

    Faith was a forceps delivery, but it was a last ditch effort to get her out after 3+ hours of pushing before an emergency section. As you can imagine, I was just like “Yeah, sure whatever…salad tong me”.

    Don’t worry too much about birth because once labor starts, you aren’t really in charge. Just go with the flow. 🙂

  9. michellemg says:

    I’ve never been pregnant so I’m only speaking from a point of view of what I think I will do when it happens but I’ve always been confused by people who are so upset by what happens during birth. Isn’t the end result keeping your baby safe and healthy? As long as you and your child make it through alive, isn’t that a success? I “know” someone who, a year later, is dealing with serious issues from having a c-section and it just seems strange to me. I’m sure this is the inexperience in me showing but I think your attitude is refreshing and I admire it.

  10. Laura says:

    You are absolutely right that birth is unpredictable … it’s great to have some idea of what to expect, and some plan for how to cope and get through contractions, but the bottom line is that anything can happen, and it’s really wise to be prepared for that. The c-section support group is interesting… I’ve had some friends with c-sections who were totally fine with it, but I also had one who was really sad and wished she had been able to feel the birth of her baby. I think everyone is different, but I can understand why some women would want the support — I think it’s extra hard for type-A moms who are determined to birth naturally, and then can’t or don’t. You’ve got a great perspective, which is key in the post-birth reflections… no room for “failure” when you’ve got an open mind.

  11. Alyssa says:

    Wow, I know I am super naive having never been pregnant, but I had no idea that there was the slightest need for c – section support groups. I thought it was just two different options, like, coffee or tea in the morning. Different, but in no way is one superior to the other. I am not even TTC or close yet, but I am already terrified of it because the nurseries that people post on Facebook are so elaborately decorated that I can’t imagine having one that will even compare. Wow, now all my insecurities are out. Ok, well in response to your post, I’m sure its hard but it sounds like you have a great attitude! Your doctor must love you!

  12. Mandy says:

    Great plan. That was my plan too…and I know how hard that is as a Type A personality. I think other plans set people up to be disappointed, because birth rarely goes as planned.

    The “birth rape” terminology makes me angry in so many ways. As does those that judge people who can or can’t do things that people think are “necessary” to be a good mom. If you kid is healthy and mostly happy – that’s the important part. PERIOD. Don’t worry, we’ll enjoy torturing our children together. 😀

  13. Your no plan “plan” sounds perfect! When I finally have a baby that is exactly what I want to do.

    That whole “birth rape” terminology is totally wrong! Pisses me off!

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