When I was pregnant with my first baby, I spent an inordinate amount of time 'planning' the birth. That’s right, ‘planning.’ And for those of you who’ve been through the birthing process yourselves, you know that planning a birth is a lot like planning a sneeze.
Now, I know some of you out there labored and delivered as intended. And to you ladies I say: Congratulations, I’m somewhat happy for you. However, if you were like me and midway through your natural labor flipped your birth-plan over, scrawled D-R-U-G-S across the backside and laid that piece of paper on top of your face, I say, I here ya sista.
I had 'planned' on a 'natural' childbirth, but I changed my plan midway through labor. Unfortunately, by then, it was too late. Are you pregnant with your first baby and planning a natural birth? Then I’m going to give you a little tip here: There is a 'last call,' during labor. So if you are at all open to medically administered pain relief, you’d better let your nurse know that you’re considering drugs. Don’t tell your doctor. You’re doctor won’t be there. Cross your fingers your doctor shows up in time to catch the baby. That’s why for my second and third birth-plans I simply wrote: EPIDURAL OR BUST!
Anyway, nothing about my time in the hospital went as planned and that got me thinking that someone should start a birth-planner business, similar to a wedding planner, except, instead of asking where you’d like the church flowers to go after the ceremony, they’d ask you if want to bring your placenta home.
If I’d had a birth-planner, for my first baby, I would have had her arrange for the following:
- Please be sure my hospital bed is fitted with 800 count, 100% cotton, Egyptian sheets hand washed in lavender soap. [How it went down: 100 count polyester sheets. Stained.]
- I will be wearing my own gown, which is part of a mommy-newborn matching hospital lounge wear set. [How it went down: Worn, teal colored hospital gown and mesh, hospital undies. They’re like Depends, but with easier access for the entire maternity ward staff to inspect your defeated privates after delivery.]
- The lights should be dimmed. Also, I’d like a small reading lamp so I can catch-up on my US Magazines while I’m in labor. [How it went down: Overhead, fluorescent lighting. Forget the reading lamp. Blinding pain doesn’t need much light.]
- During the birth, I would prefer only essential medical personnel and my husband be present. [How it went down: Bring in the bleachers and every medical student you can round up! Whatever it takes to get this human out of my body ASAP. The entire janitorial staff wants to watch? You say they want to bring popcorn? Sure.]
- I would like a professional photographer to take tasteful, black and white photos of the birth. [How it went down: WHAT DO YOU MEAN THE CAMERA BATTERY ISN’T CHARGED?]
Then I go and find out you can actually hire a birth photographer! I KNOW! For real! But, oh my schnizzle, can you even imagine? Not really. I would be too fixated on the lighting, camera angles...a scenario like this is likely: Hunched over, the epidural needle sliding into my spine, wondering out loud, "Did you get the shot? Are you sure? Maybe we should do that again? Do you think the anesthesiologist would mind doing it one more time?"
For me, a professional photographer would just mean more planning. My birth-plan, which I’d reduced to GIVE ME DRUGS OR I WILL EAT A GRANOLA BAR. You’ve been warned! would require more thought and consideration. Like what moments I’d want captured, and then those moments I wouldn't want photographed. Those moments whose imagery should only be viewable in medical books under the chapter titled: Ewww!
No, I’d just hate, halfway through pushing, to change my mind, flip over the birth-plan, scrawl No Cameras Allowed! and thrust the paper between my knees.
Meredith blogs over at BuenoBaby; a candid, raw look at a life, a marriage and a mommy-hood. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and three daughters. She thinks she might have a cat.