January is pretty much over. Given that April 1st is my zero-hour deadline to have things done and in place, that means I've got 60 days left in this pregnancy. 60 days until we shut it down and wait. And breathe, and get our games faces on. The last thing I want is to be running around last minute feeling frantic that loose ends aren't tied up, that we have no more time and there isn't anything that can be done about it. That's where it's good to have a plan.
Yet, Agent S is running this show and she'll show up whenever she sees fit. I'll be 38 weeks on April 1st but 36 weeks is considered term and they don't stop you if you go into labor anytime after 36 weeks. So while I've got April 1st in my mind, she very well could say "How do you feel about March?" And we'll have to just fall in line and I can throw my plan out the window.
I've stopped teaching yoga and I'm heartbroken about it but between the no sleep and peeing 50 times a night, getting up at 4:50 in the morning was too much. But one of the last mornings I was teaching, I was browsing Yoga Journal to get ideas for class and came across this article. It's an interesting read, but what stood out to me the most was the following quote:
That really resonated with me - the idea of letting go, of being empty, of taking this first step of a new life completely open and with no baggage. Well, as little baggage as possible."A woman brings everything from her whole life to this moment," Crawford explains. "You can not go into a birth planning what you are going to do. You have to go in empty, so that life guides you.""With my very first contraction, it became clear to me that nothing anyone had ever said about labor had prepared me for this," says Camille Mulchi, who studied prenatal yoga with Crawford. "But my prenatal practice reminded me to simply be fully present in each moment and to allow my baby's birth to follow its path."
And again, I'm applying this to pregnancy but this idea can be applied to any new situation. Particularly, new relationships or new marriages. If you release your notions of how things should go or how you've always seen it in your head and instead allow life to follow an organic path, where would you end up? How many times have you just let go and ended up saying 'it was better than anything I could have dreamed?'
With that in mind, how beneficial would it be for me to have a birth plan? A part of me demands that a plan be in place since there are other players in this, namely the hospital staff and since we will be meeting for the first time on the day of the birth, we should have an understanding in place. Yet, I've read so many birth stories of women that felt like failures because their birth didn't go according to their plan, whether it was circumstance, the doctor/midwife didn't honor their wishes or it was just the general unpredictable-ness of birth.
I don't want to feel like a failure. I don't want to be so rigid that any deviation from my 50-point birth plan is cause for a meltdown. Yet, I don't feel completely comfortable 'going with the flow' because I *am* going to deliver in a hospital and through no fault of their own, they will have an agenda that may not necessarily mesh with mine. And if I don't speak up about my preferences, chances are they won't be honored.
I've studied pregnancy and birth for over two years now. I've read the books, seen the movies, talked to the people, read the birth stories and I'm very confident about the process. Not too much about this is going to surprise me. I'm not even going to be surprised if the pain ends up surprising me; I'm ready for that too. Knowledge is power, knowledge conquers the fear of the unknown.
But you can't know everything - I can't have a practice birth. This is a one-shot deal, there are no do-overs. There will be no dress rehearsal, not for me, not for Drew, not for anyone involved. So it just doesn't seem responsible not to have a plan.
Furthermore, I'm not immune to normal feelings. I had my first experience with doubt a couple of nights ago. I had a moment of reality and I found myself questioning if I was really going to be able to do this - am I really going to stretch enough to accommodate a tiny human? What if I'm not a good pusher and they have to cut me open anyway? I can't practice this stuff! Same with breastfeeding - what if I don't even produce milk? Then all the videos I've watched about a good latch vs. a bad one, proper positioning and my meetings with La Leche League (oh yeah, I've been and it's a trip!) will be for naught!
I love the idea of being open, of simply letting my baby lead me on this journey, of allowing her to enter this world how she sees fit without me imposing my ideas on the process. But I'm kind of an integral part to all of this, you know? And as much as I would love to stay at home and have a birth like this one (so worth watching - I've seen it dozens of times) that's not in the cards for me. So I feel like I have to plan, I have to put something on paper - but what?
I don't need to write down that I want the lights dim in the room. When I get in there I will turn them down myself and if someone turns them up, I will tell them to turn them back down. I don't need to tell anyone that I'm going to play music to soothe me - I will just play it. I don't need to tell anyone that I will vocalize to deal with my pain - I'm just going to do it.
But I feel like I should let someone know that I plan to use mother-directed pushing - no cheerleaders for me, yelling in my ear to hold my breath and pushpushpushpushpush!!! That will most definitely win someone a punch in the throat and I just feel like they should be warned about that, you know?
I don't plan to ask for permission to use different positions to labor in - I will follow my body's cues and that's that. I have the power to say no at any time and I plan to exercise that power and I don't need to tell anyone that.
Oh yeah, and the eating and drinking during labor? Got it covered - we're going to bring "snacks for Drew" and I DARE someone to take a banana or some apple juice out of my hands. I'm not asking permission to eat. Period. If I end up throwing it up, oh well.
In short, I feel like I should have a birth plan but aside from 'inside voices only please, no talk about anyone dying and I will come to you if I decide I want drugs, so don't ask' I'm not sure what else I should have on there. I will not allow anyone to do anything without first thoroughly explaining it to me, but does that really need to be written down? Again, I will just say no if I'm not feeling it.
I'm not giving birth tomorrow, but 60 days is going to come and go awfully quickly and I don't want to get caught with my pants down. I mean, at some point I'll have to take off my pants, but you know what I mean.
Where is the balance between being open and having a plan? What needs to be said and what is simply understood? My doctor and I have an understanding but she's not going to be there the majority of the time. I know it will be very important to establish a positive rapport with the nurses so I definitely don't want to come across as paranoid and militant, yet I'm no pushover. I may freak out over approaching a stranger about paint, but it's a whole new story when you're heading my way with a scalpel or needle in your hand.
So how 'bout it? I've studied lots of birth plans and none seem quite right for me. What would you suggest I write out on my birth plan? Should I even bother?
I've got 60 days.