When Your Birth Plan Goes Up In Flames

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Birth. It’s such a massive event. As moms we usually spend a HUGE amount of our pregnancy days contemplating and planning out that single hours long event. We share our plan and add the “obviously things could change” quote at the end, knowing birth is unpredictable but hoping in our hearts the major bullet points WON’T get disrupted.

There are so many choices we’re faced with too. Honestly, the list grows longer by the day it seems.

Major Decisions like “Hospital or Home?” and then ALL the minor ones too like “What KIND of pain medication?” and “Breast or bottle?”

So many decisions and details we think through. Every plan, every decision made begins to paint the picture in our head of that day. We try our best to hold the plan loosely but our heart gets attached. This is a day many of us have dreamed of and an emotional attachment is totally expected!

But what happens when these plans all come crashing down? It’s a special type of heartbreak. You can try to sweep the feelings under the rug but the truth is, there is a day perfectly painted in your mind that will never come to be. There are moments you’ll never have. That’s a loss worth grieving.

For me, it was just a few weeks ago. Baby number five was to make her arrival soon. My last baby. Back in the summer, I had chosen to go COMPLETELY opposite of my previous births. I chose a home birth, I felt like with the world so upside down, the best place for me was in the comfort of my home. Children close. Friends in the room. Music playing. I created the most perfect plan in my mind and heart and I fully embraced this intervention free, unmediated, completely new experience. Every day my thoughts were filled with ideas and dreams of what that day would be like.

I felt it was confirmed when I contacted one of the most highly recommend midwives in the upstate, Carrie LaChapelle from Hatched at Home and she had availability for me! It was further confirmed when my husband and even my family were supportive of this decision.

For months, I planned.

For months, I immersed myself in this natural, home birth world. I read books, joined Facebook groups, bought the birth supplies, and prepped my kids. Home birth was happening and even with all the nerves, I was ready to finish off my child bearing years with a bang!

Enter that Sunday morning. 37 weeks pregnant. I began to get very sick. Within 4 days I had lost 6lbs. I couldn’t keep food down or sleep. Nor did I have the energy to brush my daughter’s hair. I knew something was off and I already had my final risk assessment appointment planned for Wednesday so I powered through until I could talk with the doctor. When Dr. Stafford walked in the room that day, I just cried to him. In my heart I knew that things weren’t ok and I knew my plan was about to be changed.

24 hours later I received a call from my midwife. Due to a rare condition called Cholestasis of Pregnancy, which I had had in 2 previous pregnancies, the doctors at Greenville Memorial were waiting for me. It was time to get this baby out, for her safety and mine.

One last photo before heading to the hospital

Every plan. Every detail. Every dream. Gone.

I sat on my bedroom floor that day, trying to pack a hospital bag I never thought I’d need and riding the waves of emotion. Sadness. Disappointment. Panic. Anxiety. Relief. Gratefulness. I had to let go of all my plans and embrace the reality that this birth was going to be so different YET still could be one of the greatest days of my life. We were about to meet our daughter.

No matter where you find yourself in this journey- Planning your perfect birth, grieving changes, big or small, receiving news that you never expected, or living in the afterglow of a dream birth fulfilled. I hope you know you’re not alone and all the feelings you have are real, valid, and deserve the space to be truly felt.

Birth is a wild experience. We do our best to plan but the truth is it’s one of the few remaining events that we can’t REALLY control, no matter how hard we try.

Whatever your birth plan here are my biggest tips as you prepare:

  • find your tribe, those you can be truly open & honest with throughout the journey
  • decide on your non-negotiables
  • give yourself the space to truly FEEL the amazing moments & the hard disappointments
  • choose a provider that supports & empowers you, no matter how your birth ends up
  • celebrate yourself & your body, EVERY birth is hard work & deserves to be honored

No matter your plan and no matter how it all pans out. Your birth is guaranteed to be a truly amazing, transformative experience. Embrace it. You’ll never get that precious day back.

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