September 19, 2013

The Best Laid Birth Plans

You know that quote about the best laid plans?* Yeah, me too. It's been sounding off in my head for several weeks now, driving me crazy. I try my best to ignore it—as I write my birth plan, speak to my doula, read my Hypnobirth book, practice breathing techniques, tour the hospital, try birth squats and attend prenatal yoga classes. 

I know. I get it. I can't actually plan a birth. (It's a big waste of time, will make me feel like a failure, blah, blah, blah.) But this is my third and final birth experience—and I'm deeply excited about it. Even when all my good sense is in tact (admittedly, a rare occurrence), I cannot stop myself from planning, preparing or talking about natural birth. Am I deluded? Yes, according to my friends, family and acquaintances. (Isn't it odd that people are so opinionated about someone else's birth choices? Not just mine, but in general. I don't get it. It's a mother's choice: their baby, their body, their family. Each birth is amazing to me, from c-section to home birth... and pregnancy and birth are so personal. But I digress.)

Reading through my (ridiculously detailed) bullet points for a serene, intervention-free, dimly-lit, natural arrival for our little girl, I am fully aware of the reality (ie, it will hurt like hell and I will want the drugs). BUT, what kind of pregnant woman would I be if I didn't try to control everything—even things that are clearly out of my control? And more importantly, what kind of mama bear would I be if I didn't at least try to plan my version of the best, safest, most amazing birth for my baby? 

Something tells me this time will be different, so I'll be sticking with my birth plan. Mostly because I've never been so prepared for anything in my life. We're talking serious "A" for effort here. We finished our Hypnobirth course two weeks ago. After fifteen hours of class and countless hours of reading and practice, Andrew and I have acquired an arsenal of skills that should take me through labor and delivery without a hitch. I know how to breathe through surges (Hypnobirth term for "contractions"), focus on positive affirmations, and allow the pleasant feeling of light touch massage to take over any negative sensations my body feels. 

I'm not going to lie. I still need a LOT of practice. 

There's obviously no way to predict how I will perform in the moment, but I feel optimistic. I've been through it twice before, and know firsthand that it truly doesn't matter how these little ones arrive to us. We just want them healthy. In fact, here's one last bullet point to the birth plan: If all plans fail, it's OK.  

*In case you have pregnancy brain like me, the real quote is: The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.

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