Everyone has his or her own experience within every moment. Pregnancy and birth is different for all women. Over the term of my pregnancy, I had the good fortune of meeting mommies and moms-to-be who were willing to share their unique stories. Each one of those accounts helped me come to terms with my labor and delivery. I tried my best to take it one day at a time. I made it to almost two weeks past my due date. It seemed like an eternity, but in the present moment it all happened so quickly. It would be only a matter of hours before we'd now get to meet our son.
It was a Tuesday afternoon and we had our regular visit at the OB's office. I really enjoyed having my husband along at each appointment. I felt secure in the reassurance that I was not alone in this experience. He was my foundation. We'd share a few laughs as we waited for our doctor to poke his head in and give us a routine report.
This time, our routine visit went a little differently. I was quite sure that before the time had come for me to head to the hospital, I would be laboring at home with my doula. She would guide my husband and I through breath, movement, and all the comfort measures that we had practiced. That's not what happened. Our doctor suggested we go to the hospital right after we left his office.
I wasn't sure I heard him correctly nor was I ready for what he said. I already had an idea of what I intended to happen that evening. I had a manicure and pedicure scheduled for 4 pm, dinner was at 6 pm and yoga at 7:30 pm. Nowhere in my perfect birth plan did it mention that I would be thrown for a loop. I was completely dumbfounded.
My heart began to palpitate; I was overcome with anxiety and self-judgment. I thought of anything and everything I might have done wrong throughout my pregnancy and beyond to cause this moment to occur. I exploded into tears. I had failed. The reality I was facing was not in sync with the vision I had for my baby and me.
We drove home to get our things. Though our bags were already packed, I raced around our place looking for something, anything that was missing. My husband put his arms around me and gave me a very warm embrace. That was my cue for slowing down physically and mentally. He reminded me that this was not an emergency and we could take our time getting to the hospital. He was right. I could use some time to take care of myself. This circumstance could not be fixed on the outside. I had to connect to my center. I started with a hot shower. It helped to rinse away my woes and the heaviness that had piled upon my shoulders. I laid in bed and silently cuddled with my husband. I gave myself permission to feel all right for a bit.
This was not the time for punishment but rather an opportunity to allow tenderness and guidance in. Maybe this was not what I expected but I intuitively knew that the universe was taking care of us.
At the hospital, the staff greeted us warmly and brought us to a comfortable room. I was lucky to get a bathtub and a beautiful view of the Hollywood Hills. It was a slow evening for babies and moms-to-be, so I had my very own nurse who gave me loads of attention.
Every staff member who walked into my room carefully reviewed my birth plan. Each time someone read my plan a bigger tear rolled down my face. I knew in my heart that things were going to work out much differently than what I had written on paper.
It was a very long night. The staff tried their best to induce labor naturally. I respected their efforts, but there is nothing natural about being poked and prodded in the most intimate places by one stranger after the next. Through prayer, meditation, and connection with my husband, we decided to move forward with Pitocin.
This was absolutely my worst fear come true. I could design a flawless, drug-free outcome when I was sitting down in a safe space with my doula and husband but when actually faced with deliberating the safety of my baby, I knew the smartest option was Pitocin. It was a choice. No one forced me. Nothing was ever done without my consent. I felt safe expressing my needs. These were not the choices I initially wanted. They were new alternatives that I had to be open-minded and open-hearted to for the welfare of my baby.
After 24 hours of intense labor, nothing changed. Our doctor approached us with something I did not want to hear. He and the staff tried their best to honor as much of what I wanted as possible but in the final hour we were faced with an epidural and a c-section.
The best-laid plans often do go astray. We never know what is going to happen until we are literally faced with the moment. We can project, plan, and worry as much as we want, but ultimately the results are the results. Sure, I was disappointed. I kicked, screamed, wept and mourned the idea of a perfect birth story and at the same time I made peace with what was to be.
I received a few lessons through my son's birth. I felt loved and supported through it all. Every person involved with my birth allowed me to be seen and heard. I was worthy of that. It was necessary for me to be vulnerable, to ask for help, and receive help. All of it was important for my growth and healing. The biggest lesson was acceptance. In any situation, I have to welcome what is. It always turns out exactly the way it should. I acknowledge that I wasn't the one who had a say. There was a little being coming forward who already knew how things would work out best.
Ultimately what mattered most was being able to hold my healthy baby boy and welcome him into our world. He will be our biggest teacher from this day forward.
Thank you Baby Reef for showing us how to get through and to you. My initial self-loathing and self-judgment has been transformed into an infinite love that could not have occurred any other way. I do have the perfect birth story.