Oh the lessons of motherhood! Ideals? Ha ha, they have no place in the world of mommy! I learnt this lesson, right at the very beginning of my journey becoming a mom. Have a plan? Perhaps baby has a few other ideas…
There was never a doubt in my mind that I would have a home birth. From before I even found out I was pregnant that was always the plan. In my mind it was the better way to give birth. Better for mom and better for baby. I wanted to give birth at home, around my animals with gentle music playing in the background. Have access to all the comforts of home: soft pillows, birthing bath, food from my own kitchen, candles, incense, the works! I was going to have a peaceful, relaxing birth experience and it would be beautiful (giggle giggle).
I had heard all about how having a home birth is better. It gives the mother more control over the birth experience, recovery from natural birth is faster, it is very important for the baby to go through the birth canal and have the ‘birth experience’, etc., etc., etc. I am not fond of hospitals nor am I big on medication so I just did not see the point in having my baby in a hospital. My sister had 2 home births and my mother had 4 natural births with no problems. “Easy peasy” I thought “these hips of mine are made for birthing!”.
I did some research and found my midwife and doula. My usual gynae did not support home birth so I had to find a new doctor by 20 weeks (not fun at all!). I was very sad to have to see a different doctor but I was determined. My pregnancy was going smoothly with no complications. All was well for me to do what was best for me and my little one. My new doctor was supportive but definitely cognisant that home births did not always work out. I was not interested in hearing about that and made it known! I of course, would have no problem so there was just no point in discussing alternatives (hindsight sigh…).
In preparation for Kai’s arrival, I signed up for 2 different antenatal classes. The first was a hypno-birthing class and the second a more in depth antenatal class. Both were very valuable and run by midwives. They supported my worldview that the best thing for my baby and birth experience would be to have a home birth. Every day I listened to my hypno-birthing relaxation meditations focusing on the ease and beauty of the birth I was going to have. I had my birthing bath booked, bendy straw, snacks and blackout for my windows (and my super duper birthing hips). I was confident, relaxed and ready.
None of that mattered. After almost 24 hours in labour, in and out of the what was supposed to be a magical birthing bath, Kai had not descended down the birth canal. My midwife made the call that it was time we headed to the hospital. Gone was my peaceful, warm home birth. Kai was not going to come into the world the way I had imagined. A few hours later, even though I dilated to 9 1/2 cm and my body was pushing as they took me into the operating room, little Kai just could not descend fully into the birth canal. His umbilical cord was wrapped around his little shoulder and he was in distress. He was born by cesarean at 09h00 on the 29th February 2016 (yes, our little extra special leap year baby). I was overcome with love! All that mattered was that I had my little baby, my little Kai. I could not think of anything else. He was just so, so beautiful and was finally here in the world with me.
After the birth a part of me felt like I had failed. Let that sink in… After 36 hours in labour, getting to 9 1/2cm with no pain meds, having a perfectly healthy baby boy, I felt like a failure. All because I could not live up an idealistic view of birthing little Kai.
Let go of ideals – my first lesson in motherhood! We cant always plan exactly what will happen with these little ones. They have their own lives to live and experience. (I certainly did not plan on having a c-section on the 29th Feb!!) For me, being a mom means I need to support my little boy’s growth and path what ever that may be. His plan might not always match up with my plan (or might even be completely opposite).
I find there is so much pressure on mothers. Some we put on ourselves and some is put on us from others. There is no perfect way to birth a child or bring a child into the world. The thought that somehow your child misses out on something because they are born by cesarean section seems totally crazy to me now. The best way for Kai to be born was to be born! It’s as simple as that.
Share your experiences of letting go with us. We can all benefit from each others lessons I am sure.
Born is best!