My 'preferences for labour and the birth of your baby' section of my maternity notes is blank. Completely, and utterly blank. I'm going into labour with no concrete birth plan - and no real idea of how this is going to happen. I'm not sure if it's the smartest idea I've ever had, or the biggest thing I've ever overlooked. So many people have asked me what type of birth I plan on having, and I can honestly give them no better answer than 'whatever one gets me a healthy happy baby'. At the end of the day, I'll be open to any intervention that allows my baby boy to get here safely, and preferably with the least destruction possible to my private parts...
I know I'll have my partner and my mum in the delivery suite with me - a decision I've already come to regret. My mum is traditional and believed all along she'd get to be there for her grandsons birth, and I didn't have the heart to say I'd have rathered do it on my own, just with my partner for support. It's such a personal thing - and the more people I share it with, the less of a personal experience I feel it will be. I wouldn't have the heart to take the opportunity to see the birth of her first grandson from her now though - so at this point, I'm accepting a slightly more crowded room, and another pair of hands to hold (/tear to pieces).
In terms of coping with pain, I'm praying I have a solid few hours at home with just my contractions - I'd love to be able to be out of the hospital for as long as possible, and I'm hoping to see out early labour rotating between my birthing ball and the bath, and using my TENS unit when needed. If I can get most of the time out of the way whilst still being able to be active and moving I'll be forever grateful - I don't like hospitals and I can imagine the pain being a lot more concentrated if I'm stuck in a hospital bed, I focus in on things, so having the opportunity to distract myself would be great. Staying at home for as long as possible does bring about my ultimate fear though - I want an epidural. In fact, I've gotten it into my head that I NEED an epidural, and I know that getting dilated past a certain point can mean your too late for any pain relief interventions. Somehow I don't think I'll quite be one of these superheroes that make it to 9cm with pain relief, but I've had nightmares of that happening and the thought of having to push without this is absolutely terrifying. For some reason, I have no fear of the contractions - I may be speaking to soon, and I'll probably live to regret this, but the contractions I think I'll cope with. The actual delivery is what is blatantly terrifying me and I do not think I'll make it through that mentally without pain relief. So I lied. I lied when I said I'd be heading in with a blank birth plan. My birth plan will be blank apart from the big capital underlined EPIDURAL centred in the middle of the page.. for peace of mind if not anything else.
I'm not fussed on any particular position to give birth in - my mind is open, whatever the midwife tells me is best for me at the time is whatever I'll be doing. I'm no expert in childbirth, and she will, fingers crossed, no more than I do about what will get this baby out quickly and with the least pain inflicted. I don't want to give birth in the pool - I know that much. For pain relief, sure, I'll paddle away/slump over the edge for hours on end, but something doesn't sit right with me about delivering in the pool. I truly could not put a finger on what it is, but I've never liked the idea of it, which is strange because it is becoming such a popular way to give birth now!
I'm open to any intervention required to get my baby out safely - as much as I'd love to say no to forceps, given I have a somewhat misconstrued Frankenstein image in my head of them, if it's what is needed at the time then it's what is needed. I've almost accepted that I'll need an episiotomy - I truly don't see myself giving birth without one, so I've just resigned myself to it now. I'd rather be prepared for the idea of the recovery from one, than wishfully ignoring it. Anything that has to happen will be worth it though, that's all I'm telling myself to get myself through.
I'm a strong believer that there are no super-heroes in childbirth - if I need pain relief, I'll have it, if I need a section, I'll have one. The mere act of giving birth, whatever way it happens, is a miracle, and I don't want to go in with high hopes for a specific type of birth that may end up unrealistic. Unfortunately, childbirth is going to be unpredictable, so I'll be going with the flow. At the end of the day, I'll have a baby, and that's enough for me.
This blog was written by Kirsty from Tracking Twenty.
'I'm Kirsty, a twenty-something year old soon to be first time mum and fiftieth-time blogger. I've dabbled in blogging on and off since my early teens - my most notable web venture to date being a riveting roller skating website I had when I was 12 - but I've never quite had a reason to stick with it. Impending motherhood has now given me plenty to write about, and my blog - Tracking Twenty - shares my trials and tribulations as a first time mumma, whilst I try to maintain any ounce of sanity I have left.'